LONDON (AP) – The parents of a British teenager who died in an accident lost a court battle with the UK government on Tuesday over whether an American woman involved in the collision has diplomatic immunity.
The family sought justice for 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who died after his engine crashed into a car on the wrong side of the road last August at U.S. Air Base in central England.
The driver of the car, Anne Sacoolas, set off for the United States a few weeks after the crash. Officials say she is entitled to diplomatic immunity because her husband worked at the air base.
The 43-year-old Sacoolast was accused in December of causing his death by driving dangerously, but the U.S. State Department rejected a request to extradite Britain to stand trial.
Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, filed a lawsuit, arguing that the British Foreign Office had wrongly ruled that Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity and had unlawfully obstructed a police investigation into his son’s death. According to their attorney, Sacoolas “has no duties” at the base.
However, two judges on Tuesday rejected a decision that the United States had diplomatic immunity “upon arrival in the United Kingdom” under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and that “Harry would be immune from criminal jurisdiction in the United Kingdom at the time of his death.”
The teenage mother said she was determined to continue to find justice for her son. A family spokesman said they are appealing the decision.
“I promised my son I would get him justice and we will do it. No one is standing in our way, ”he said after the decision.
It was backed by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who said he was with the family.
“We are clear that Anne Sacoolas will have to face justice in the UK and we will support the family with their legal claim in the US,” Raab said.