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Friday 11 October 2019


The death of Harry Dunn

After an American diplomat’s wife fled the UK following a fatal road collision, we ask: how far should immunity really extend?

A question of immunity 16’07

The case this week of Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat who fled the country after a head-on collision with 19-year-old Harry Dunn, prompted fierce debate over diplomatic immunity – and how far it should extend.

After pressure from the British government, Donald Trump appeared at a press briefing on Thursday and denied her immunity would be lifted. His notes, photographed in his hand after he spoke, were definitive: “The spouse of the US government employee will not return to the United Kingdom.”

Meanwhile, Dunn’s family has launched a campaign to find justice and are planning to pursue a civil case against Sacoolas in the US.

But the central question remains: is it correct that immunity should be afforded even in serious crimes? In this audio explainer, we return to the case of Yvonne Fletcher, who was murdered by gunmen shooting from inside the Libyan embassy in 1984. We also interview a former diplomat who was based in Washington DC, to help make sense of the political knot tightening around Dunne’s death.