British prosecutors announce 'extradition proceedings' after formally charging wife of American diplomat in death of UK teenager
In the U.K., the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has officially authorized the Northamptonshire Police to charge Anne Sacoolas, the wife of American diplomat Jonathan Sacoolas, with dangerous driving in connection with the death of a British youth.
Anne Sacoolas was living in the U.K. when, on August 27, she was driving a car that struck 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn. Reportedly, Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road; U.K. residents drive on the left, whereas residents of the U.S., Canada and Continental Europe drive on the right. But Anne and Jonathan Sacoolas returned to the U.S., citing diplomatic immunity, and Dunn’s parents— Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn — waged a campaign to get Sacoolas to return to the U.K. from Washington, D.C. and face justice.
Janine Smith, chief prosecutor for CPS East Midlands, said in an official statement on Friday, “Following the death of Harry Dunn in Northamptonshire, the Crown Prosecution Service has today authorized Northamptonshire Police to charge Anne Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving. The director of public prosecutions has met with Harry Dunn’s family to explain the basis of the decision we have made following a thorough review of the evidence available.”
JUST IN: Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat, has been formally charged with causing the death of Briti… https://t.co/YFo6anVW3A— ABC News (@ABC News)1576851519.0
Smith went on to say, “May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Anne Sacoolas are now active and that she has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
The CPS website states that “extradition proceedings” for Anne Sacoolas “are now underway.” But a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department told Fox News, “It is the position of the United States government that a request to extradite an individual under these circumstances would be an egregious abuse. The use of an extradition treaty to attempt to return the spouse of a former diplomat by force would establish an extraordinarily troubling precedent.”
The spokesperson, quoted anonymously, also said that the U.S. State Department is “disappointed” by the CPS’ announcement.
“The United States has been clear that, at the time the accident occurred — and for the duration of her stay in the U.K. — the driver in this case had status that conferred diplomatic immunities,” the spokesperson asserted.
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn are hoping that the 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas will voluntarily return to the U.K, but Sacoolas’ attorney, Amy Jeffress, stated that her client doesn’t plan to “return voluntarily to the United Kingdom to face a potential jail sentence for what was a terrible but unintentional accident.”
Jeffress stated, “This was an accident, and a criminal prosecution with a potential penalty of 14 years imprisonment is simply not a proportionate response. We have been in contact with the U.K. authorities about ways in which Anne could assist with preventing accidents like this from happening in the future, as well as her desire to honor Harry’s memory.”
According to Jeffress, “The site of the accident was the crest of a small hill. So, Anne could not see Harry approaching on his motorbike.”
In October, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn visited Washington, D.C. and met with President Donald Trump, who hoped they would agree to meet with Anne Sacoolas in person. But Harry Dunn’s parents didn’t want to see her.