The American woman charged in connection with the death of English teenager, Harry Dunn, will stand trial in Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London on Thursday.
Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US agent working in the UK is facing the charge of death by dangerous driving, after admitting to driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the August 2019 crash.
The trial follows several attempts by Harry Dunn’s family to seek justice for their son’s death, including a meeting with then US president Donald Trump in 2019.
The Sacoolas family have made various offers of compensation and statements of regret, but they have not satisfied the Dunn family.
Why is Anne Sacoolas on trial?
Dunn, 19, was riding his motorcycle on the B4031 road about 400 yards from the exit of RAF Croughton on the evening of August 27 2019, when he was struck by a Volvo XC90 driven by Anne Sacoolas.
Dunn was pronounced dead at the Major Trauma Centre of John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
Will Anne Sacoolas appear in court?
Though she won’t appear at Westminster Magistrate’s court in person, Anne Sacoolas is expected to appear at the trial via video-link from the US.
The reasoning for Sacoolas’ lack of in-person appearance was explained by her then barrister, John McGavin, in 2021: ““Her fear is that with the tremendous media attention she will receive, she’s concerned she will not receive fair treatment with the press and the local community.
“She is fearful upon her return and concerned and she’s certainly apologetic and accepts full responsibility for causing this accident.”
What could happen if Anne Sacoolas is found guilty?
The Sentencing Council states that in the event of a guilty verdict for the crime of death by dangerous driving the punishment can be 14 years’ custody and minimum disqualification of two years with compulsory extended re-test.
However, what makes this case difficult is that despite the UK and USA sharing a treaty that allows for the extradition of someone from the US and the UK, the nature of work that Mrs. Sacoolas’ husband was is involved in might make that process difficult.