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U.S. Citizen Pleads Guilty To Causing The Death Of British Man in Crash

Anne Sacoolas pleaded guilty at Britain's Old Bailey, via videolink, to causing the death of Harry Dunn,19, by careless driving. Dunn died after a crash outside a U.S. military base in Northamptonshire in August 2019, BBC News reports. Judge Cheema-Grubb said Sacoolas, 45, who was employed by a U.S. intelligence agency, would be sentenced at the end of November. Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) accepted her guilty plea to the lesser charge. Dunn's father, Tim Dunn said, "Hopefully we've given hope to other families that they can do the same as us and get justice and believe and fight because it will happen in the end, it will happen."

The former head of extradition at the CPS, Nick Vamos, said Sacoolas' appearing via videolink from the U.S. was "a way of circumventing extradition." Vamos said it undermined courts' powers and that he hoped it would not precedent for other cases. Coronavirus legislation permits even important court sessions to be held virtually. The guilty plea brings a legal resolution to the Dunn family after three years of waiting. The accident occurred on Aug. 27, 2019, when Sacoolas drove on the wrong side of the road for more than 20 seconds, and hit Dunn who was driving his motorbike on the correct side of the road. The U.S. claimed diplomatic immunity for Sacoolas, who left the U.K. 19 days later. The Dunn family traveled to the U.S. in October 2019 to lobby President Trump. The CPS charged Sacoolas in December 2019, but an extradition request was rejected by the U.S., causing a diplomatic row between the two countries. After a period of transatlantic negotiations and a change in the law, it was agreed Sacoolas could take part in the proceedings remotely from Washington, D.C.


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