Harry Dunn: US government bid to keep Anne Sacoolas’s job secret for ‘national security’

·3 min read
Harry Dunn was killed in a motorcycle crash in 2019 (PA)
Harry Dunn was killed in a motorcycle crash in 2019 (PA)

The US government has urged civil courts in Virginia to keep secret the employment details of the woman accused of killing teenager Harry Dunn, in the interests of “national security”.

The teenager was killed in a fatal crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.

Ms Sacoolas, who was driving the vehicle that collided with Mr Dunn, left the UK after the US government asserted diplomatic immunity on her behalf.

The Crown Prosecution Service later charged Ms Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving, but the extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by the US State Department last January.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, Mr Dunn’s parents, gave legal testimony earlier this month in their damages claim against Ms Sacoolas and her husband.

Ahead of Ms Sacooolas’s deposition next month, lawyers acting on behalf of the US government filed a proposed “protective order” around the details of the couple’s employment, due to “national security” concerns.

The motion said: “Although defendants were employees of the United States government at the time [of the crash], information concerning the United States government has little to no relevance to an adjudication of any remaining issues in this case.

“In general terms, the United States seeks protection … because of the impact the disclosure of information regarding the government in this litigation could reasonably be expected to have on national security.

“The United States respectfully requests that this court enter a protective order following discovery or disclosure of information in this civil action implicating the United States government that is in any way, either directly or indirectly, related to the defendants’ or any other individuals’ employment with the United States government.”

A spokesperson for the Dunn family said that they would tell the US government that the motion would be “resisted strenuously”.

To date, the damages claim has uncovered a significant amount of previously unknown material, including the fact that Ms Sacoolas and her husband both held roles at the State Department at the time of the crash.

Virginia’s Alexandria District Court heard that the couple’s work in intelligence was a “factor” in their departure from the UK, and that the pair left the country for “security reasons”.

Radd Seiger, the family’s spokesperson, told the PA News agency: “We have just been made aware of this development in the US civil claim overnight.

“We are analysing it and the family will be seeking legal advice from their US lawyers.

“It now appears that Mr and Ms Sacoolas have brought in their employers, the US government, to help them minimise what happened to Harry on the night he died in an attempt to prevent both the family and public at large from knowing the truth.

“The US government have asked the parents to consent to their application in court, who in turn have told them it will be resisted strenuously.”

The civil damages claim is among a number of legal processes the Dunn family have entered into in hopes of securing justice for their son.

Before leaving the UK to pursue the damages claim in the US, Mr Dunn told the PA News agency: “It’s obviously daunting being involved in any court case but this is all about our suffering since we lost Harry and we will do whatever it takes to get justice.”

Earlier, foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said that a clear path exists for the UK to push for a form of “virtual trial or process” in the case.

With additional reporting from PA

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