The Government’s top law officer is examining plans to try Harry Dunn’s alleged killer virtually or in her absence, the Justice Secretary revealed today.
Harry’s family’s local MP Andrea Leadsom has pressed ministers to consider allowing the unprecedented move because of prime suspect Anne Sacoolas’ ongoing refusal to return to Britain to face justice.
This Thursday marks the first anniversary of his death.
US citizen Sacoolas, the wife of an American spy, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a crash in which 19-year-old Harry was killed.
She was said to have been driving on the wrong side of the road when the smash with Harry’s motorbike happened outside RAF Croughton, Northants.
Sacoolas, 42, claimed diplomatic immunity and fled across the Atlantic.
US authorities have refused an extradition request – fuelling dismay among Harry’s grieving family.
Mrs Leadsom wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel this month saying a virtual trial was a “way to achieve closure”.
In a letter to Mrs Leadsom, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland QC, who is also Lord Chancellor, said Attorney General Suella Braverman was looking at the request for a virtual trial.
He wrote: “I quite understand how important it must be to Harry’s family, as the anniversary of his death approaches, to achieve some sort of closure.
“The suggestions you put forward for resolving the impasse by holding a trial virtually or in absentia are as you know being considered by the Attorney General, and she will respond as decisions about criminal proceedings in individual cases are a matter for her and the Director of Public Prosecutions.”
Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles said today: “My family and I have not been able to grieve this year without justice and closure.
“It is doing us real harm and I can’t believe how cruel the US government are being.
“We all know what their position would be if this had happened to any of their children.
“They should be in no doubt – my family and I are going nowhere until we fulfil that promise to Harry.
“I can see the authorities in London are doing everything they can to ensure that that is just what is going to happen but we will leave them to decide how it happens.”
The family’s spokesman Radd Seiger said: “If the authorities decide that a British trial led by a British judge in a British Court should take place with Mrs Sacoolas attending virtually, then the parents will raise no objection.
“They have never been concerned with the outcome of any criminal case.
“Their measured, respectful call has simply been that Mrs Sacoolas must go through it.
“The outcome is not within the control of any victim of a crime but every victim is entitled to see that the life of their lost loved one did mean something, did matter, and that they had a fair crack of the whip at justice.”