Harry Dunn: Government tell grieving family their claims of misuse of power 'entirely without foundation', after teenage kill in crash involving US diplomat

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The Foreign Office has told the parents whose teenage son died in a crash involving a US diplomat’s wife the allegation Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, abused his power is “entirely without foundation”.

Harry Dunn’s family, who requested a judicial review over the handling of their son’s death, were told they had “not identified any reasonably arguable ground of legal challenge” by the Foreign Office. 

In the letter, the department dismissed claims the foreign secretary had “misused and/or abused his power” or “committed misfeasance”.

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The 19-year-old’s parents had asked the Foreign Office to “withdraw the advice” provided to Northamptonshire Police over the granting of diplomatic immunity to Anne Sacoolas, the suspect, which allowed her to leave the UK after the crash.

Their claim to legal action, issued in October, alleged the decision to give Ms Sacoolas diplomatic immunity was not lawful. 

The family’s lawyers also offered an alternative request of “paying substantive damages” for breaching the European Convention of Human Rights.

Dunn was killed after his motorcycle collided with a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on 27 August.

Ms Sacoolas has admitted to driving on the opposite side of the road at the time of the crash.

The family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, said the response from the government had been received and they were in the process of digesting it with lawyers.

In the letter, the Foreign Office wrote: “It is not accepted that the proposed claim for judicial review articulated on your clients’ behalf in your letter, dated 25 October, identifies any reasonably arguable ground of legal challenge.

“It is not therefore accepted that you have identified any arguable basis on which to suggest that the FCO ought now either ‘to withdraw the advice provided to the police’, or to pay ‘substantive damages for the breach of Articles 2 and 6, ECHR’.

“The SSFCA therefore declines to take the action you have invited him to take on behalf of your clients, and would oppose any application for permission to bring a claim for judicial review.”

The letter from the government said: “We therefore invite you not to pursue the proposed claim. In the event that the claim is issued, it will be defended, the application for permission will be opposed, and the Secretary of State will seek his costs for doing so.”

Dunn’s parents have also referred Northamptonshire Police to the Independent Office for Police Conduct

Press Association contributed to this report

The independent

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