The Guardian reports on the trial, conviction, and sentencing, by video link, of Anne Sacoolas for the negligent, accidental killing of motorcyclist Harry Dunn in August 2019.
«The mother of the British teenager Harry Dunn has said her promise to win him justice has been fulfilled after his killer was sentenced, but said it was “despicable” that she had failed to appear in court.
Although Anne Sacoolas, a US citizen who was driving on the wrong side of the road when her car struck the young motorcyclist in 2019, avoided jail, she received an eight-month suspended sentence and was disqualified from driving for 12 months.
Dunn’s family had waged a three-and-a-half-year campaign eventually acknowledged her guilt in a British court after a UK request for her extradition was denied.
Speaking outside court, Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said it was “job done, promise complete” now that Sacoolas had a criminal record.
But she said Sacoolas, who appeared via a video link after her lawyers said her US government employer had advised her not to return to the UK, should have been in court. “I think it’s despicable that she didn’t come over on the judge’s orders … Huge coward,” she said.
“We weren’t cowards. We didn’t back away from the US government or the UK government. We didn’t back down, because we have values. Maybe she doesn’t.”»
What to say?
- So Sacoolas received a suspended sentence; her 12-month driving ban is a joke, because her U.S. employer will no doubt tell her that the ban doean’t apply in the U.S. and she should go right on driving.
- Undoubtedly it was cowardly of Mrs Sacoolas to refuse to obey the court’s summons.
- The way the U.S. government whisked Sacoolas back to the U.S. after the fatal accident and then refused to extradite her was despicable (and no difference there between the Trump and Biden administrations).
- Especially deplorable is the fact that Harry Dunn’s family did not receive the unreserved support of their own U.K. government in their quest for justice.
It seems that the Rule of Law does not always apply when it comes to American spies and their spouses. No doubt the situation is similar in other countries; diplomatic immunity, like parliamentary immunity, is easily and often abused.
But both Britain and the United States like to present themselves as global beacons of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and it is disappointing (although no longer very surprising) that one finds George Orwell’s satirical tale against Stalin, Animal Farm, with its conclusion that “all animals are equal—but some are more equal than others” so clearly demonstrated.