In Brief

Harry Dunn family lose bid to see ‘secret pact’ between US and UK

High Court says Foreign Office does not have to reveal details of immunity deal that let Anne Sacoolas flee

The parents of a UK teenager whose killer used diplomatic immunity to flee to the US have lost their battle to see a “secret agreement” between the two country’s governments.

Harry Dunn, 19, died last August after his motorbike collided with a car driven on the wrong side of the road by Anne Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US intelligence officer based at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

In December, Sacoolas was charged in absentia with causing death by dangerous driving, but a subsequent extradition request was refused by the US.

Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, are now bringing a legal action against Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley, claiming they acted unlawfully in allowing Sacoolas to leave the UK.

But at an inital High Court hearing yesterday, the family were denied access to “additional documents relating to the agreement” about personnel at the RAF base, The Times says.

The pact that “the Dunns wanted disclosed was made between the UK and the US” 25 years ago and relates to “immunity for administrative and technical staff” , the Daily Mail reports. 

Their barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC, had told the court that the Foreign Office had “through its actions obstructed a criminal investigation, under pressure from the United States”.

Robertson argued that the case “turns on the interpretation of a secret agreement made in 1995 and updated in 2001 between the US and UK as a result of a US request to add up to 200 technical officers as diplomatic agents at RAF Croughton”.

When the deal was updated, British officials were “deeply concerned” about possible media interest “if crimes (in particular, road traffic-related crimes) were committed by agents and/ or their dependants”, he added. 

Dunns’ parents claim that the Foreign Office “acted unlawfully by proceeding as if Anne Sacoolas conclusively had immunity and/or advising other state bodies that she did”.

Rejecting their request for the Foreign Office to disclose further evidence before a full hearing, Lord Justice Flaux said: “We do not consider that any of the documents sought is necessary for the fair and just determination of the issues in the case.” 

The family’s case will be heard in October or November.

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