Harry Dunn's 'killer's' diplomatic immunity claim disputed by ex-Foreign Office minister and ex-British ambassador
US Government's argument Anne Sacoolas is immune from prosecution described as a 'palpable absurdity'
Harry Dunn's alleged killer's claim to diplomatic immunity has been disputed by a former Foreign Office minister and an ex-British ambassador.
Sir Tony Baldry, who was the MP for Banbury for 22 years, signed the secret agreement for United States security services personnel at RAF Croughton in 1995.
The ex-Conservative minister said the deal was designed to avoid tragedies like what happened to the Northamptonshire teenager last year in papers used in Harry's family's High Court hearing last week.
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“I am sure that the US did not and would not not have raised any specific request for dependants to be exempted from the law," the submission reads, according to The Guardian.
"Had they done so I would have refused, or at the very least referred this matter to the secretary of state for him to decide. I cannot imagine any government agreeing to such an arrangement.”
Harry's death after his motorcycle was involved in a collision with Sacoolas' car, which she has admitted was on the wrong side of the road, near Croughton on August 27, 2019.
The American driver initially co-operated with police but then told officers she had diplomatic immunity before flying back to the United States on September 15.
Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in November but an extradition request by the Home Office was rejected by the US government in January.
On Thursday (June 17), the High Court heard the first hearing in Harry's parents attempt to start a judicial review into Sacoolas' diplomatic immunity claim and the Government's handling of the case.
Sir Tony's submission was brought up by Geoffrey Robertson QC, who represented Harry's parents at the case management conference, saying they 'prophesied' Harry's death.
In a so-called 'exchange of notes' made in 1995, the two countries agree that privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations applied to administrative and technical staff, such as Sacoolas’s husband Jonathan, at the airbase near Brackley.
But it was agreed that they would not be immune from prosecution for actions taken outside of their prescribed duties, such as dangerous driving.
Also among the evidence used by the campaigners to show Sacoolas does not have diplomatic immunity was a submission by Sir Ivor Roberts, the UK's former ambassador to Ireland, Italy and Serbia.
According to BBC News, the diplomacy expert said it is 'a palpable absurdity' that a US officer at RAF Croughton would not have diplomatic immunity but their spouse would, which the basis for the American government's argument for rejecting Sacoolas' extradition request.
"It was clearly not anticipated that this agreement might be dishonourably challenged by the US government through their embassy in London," Sir Ivor said.
The judges dismissed the Sir Ivor's submission and the request for more documents from the Foreign Office before agreeing to hold the full hearing sometime between October and November.
The Government argues that because Sacoolas was notified to them as a spouse and dependants were not mentioned in the exchange of notes, her immunity was not pre-waived.
Sir James Eadie, representing the Government, denied any wrongdoing from the secretary of state and said they had handed over all of the documents they needed.