I’ve been following the developments of the tragic death of the UK teen that was struck by a car driven by the wife of a US diplomat, and now the lawyers are suing the administration and the family in what appears to be an effort to coerce her return to face charges. I know it’s a complicated issue, and I feel so sorry for the Dunn family, as I have a son about the same age. As an American, I do feel the driver should face some consequences, but what are your thoughts as to the current situation and eventual outcome?
As I understand it she left the UK under diplomatic immunity protection which was misapplied as her husband is not a diplomat, although he himself does have some protection. Whatever, she should not be allowed to avoid the law & it’s consequences.
I feel a full investigation should be allowed to be carried out, with co-operation of all involved, to allow the events to be clarified and facts to be established. This can then determine if any charges should be laid or not.
I’ve never felt that diplomatic immunity should apply to anyone. No-one should be above the law. Diplomats are not some higher life form, and should be accorded no special treatment. Nor should their spouses.
If there is enough evidence to bring charges against her then she should be sent back to the UK to stand trial for those charges. We’re not talking about a minor misdemeanour here, but killing someone by dangerous driving and fleeing the scene. The US government has no problems asking the UK to send UK citizens to the US to face charges for the crime of hacking a computer, justice should work both ways.
As Jamie says above, there needs to be an investigation first. Too many people are leaping past that stage and comming to premature conclusions.
As I understand it, the local police force have sent investigators to the USA and the person they wish to question has asked to be questioned under caution.
I haven’t seen any further news regarding that development .
It’s a real tragedy, and while I can imagine the woman involved may have been scared stiff by what happened (assuming she was at the wheel), it seems that going back to the US has simply complicated matters and naturally angered the family who may feel she has something to hide. I suspect she made a bad decision or was ill-advised in leaving the UK, but were there other factors involved in the accident.
I suspect the family would find it hard to forgive if this were nothing but an accident with the driver possibly going ‘auto-pilot for US’ and driving on the wrong side of the road late at night - even if that were the case it would probably not be defensible, but if you felt she’d absconded I suspect you’d be wondering if other factors were invovled.
On the flip side we don’t know the victim wasn’t travelling dangerously or too fast and may never do so.
Very hard for us to comment apart from seeing it as a terrible accident. Were there any witnesses allegedly in the car with the woman?
That may or may not be the case, but just driving off is indefensible
She did not drive off - she attended to the motorcyclist (according to some reports I read)
I have a lot of sympathy for the driver - I have been fortunate that when I have accidentally driven on the wrong side of the road when rejoining a main road (when in France etc) I have recovered to the correct side of the road very quickly.
She could well have been distracted by her kids in the car coupled with the drive on the left of the UK.
Lots of others call it a hit and run, emphasising why an investigation is needed and charges brought if the evidence calls for it.
That is correct; she was interviewed by the police at the time & it was reported that they asked & she confirmed that she would not leave the country - that was said by a Northants police spokesman in a TV interview.
After that I believe she was given advise & elected to leave. I suspect the advise & the return arrangements was all from the US authorities as it was reported she returned to US on a military flight.
From the US point of view, all alien administrations are suspect and incapable of administering justice so the US reaction will always be to recover their citizens from alien regimes.
There are instances when diplomatic immunity is essential, but this is not one of them. In most cases you are right. I only had it for specific tasks and none of those tasks was likely to hurt anybody. Had I hurt anybody I would have been answerable to the local authorities. Not stopping after a car accident is unforgivable in my book, but that may not be what happened in this instance.
The police were going to the USA last week to conduct an interview under caution.
Has anybody seen an update ?
The last I read, they were “waiting for their visas”.
I completely agree, but I don’t think this was the case here. As far as I am aware, she did stop and spoke to the police at the scene.
The local press is still referring to this in the future tense, i.e. they have not gone to US or have gone & are not making it public.
The police have said “A file of evidence has been handed to the Crown Prosecution Service but…that file is incomplete - you can’t complete the file until you have an account from the suspect.”
It does seem the family & the police are in dispute as the family said “… lost all faith and confidence in both the police and the Foreign Office”. & are referred the police to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Police have urged the Dunn family’s spokesman Radd Seiger “to exercise constraint in his commentary because it is not helpful”.
I can understand the families desire to get this sorted, but it seems there are too many separate lines
Thank you Mike, makes sense.
I get the feeling that the family is pushing too hard. OTOH, the police and Home Office do seem to have been less than candid in their efforts to secure justice.
DI exists not for spats like these between friendly countries, but to protect all levels of staff serving in countries that aren’t so enthusiastic about the rule of law & investigating the actual commission of a crime. There are plenty of countries in parts of the world that would find it nicely beneficial to finger lowly members of staff in a convenient emabssy over some imagined crime purely as leverage or as tit for tat. Dimplomatic Immunity goes some way to preventing this.
The fact that in this case we’re on the sharp end of a potential injustice through immunity is no reason to bin it and leave staff serving abroad open to the sort of behaviour that we like to imagine the UK and most western govts wouldn’t dream of engaging in.
The Dunn family were invited to the White House, and unbeknownst to them, the driver was in an adjacent room and President Trump was trying to coax a meeting between the two under the spotlight of cameras. Insensitive, to say the least.