US fatal crash suspect cannot ‘hide behind’ diplomatic immunity

Monday, October 7, 2019

The wife of a US diplomat who is a suspect in a fatal road crash should return to the UK to face questions, according to a Tory MP.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tom Tugendhat, told talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer that a failure to do so would “raise awful questions” about the special relationship between Britain and the US if suspects "simply use diplomatic identity to hide behind”.

Northamptonshire Police are leading investigations into a collision that killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who died after his motorbike collided with a car near to a US Air Force military base in August.

The woman allegedly involved in the accident, named in the media as 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas, reportedly left the UK, despite telling officers she did not plan to do so.

Harry Dunn died in the collision

The US embassy confirmed the incident had involved a vehicle driven by the spouse of a US diplomat assigned to UK who had departed the country.

Under Vienna Convention, families of diplomats are granted immunity from arrest or detention but their sending state can issue a waiver of that immunity.

But Mr Tugendhat said his “hopes are slim”.

He continued: “The US is very, very tough in protecting its diplomats and this one of those moments where, though legally they are correct, just because they can doesn’t mean they should.

“This is clearly an incident of policing this isn’t some attempt by some dodgy dictatorship to bully a diplomat, which is why these protections are put in place.”

Police chiefs have written to the US embassy in London to demand immunity is waived.

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