I don't understand the current Harry Dunn/Anne Sacoolas situation, and why the virtual court appearance?

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The Politicus
Oct 21, 2022 01:00 AM 0 Answers
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I think I am missing something about this case (particularly the criminal case), because I don't understand the current situation and legally/politically, how it got there and where it's at.

My current understanding is:

  • There was a question whether or not diplomatic immunity exists for her ("AS"). Whether or not fully resolved, that one doesn't seem to be an issue at the moment so I'm not focusing on it.
  • There was a civil claim in the US, which is valid in law to litigate, and is currently still in progress? Or has that been dropped to not prejudice a criminal case?
  • It's not clear if extradition would be an option, given how motor offenses differ in their legal handling, and the asymmetry of the US-UK extradition treaty, and if it's been requested or not, and if so where that's at.
  • The UK courts can (like any court) try someone in absentia, but tend not to, and the fact there is some kind of trial, suggests that their ability to enforce participation and any sentencing, now feels confirmed.

But .....

  • While Trump was clear he would not allow extradition, it sounds like the political or justice dept mood has changed, or something's been agreed settled, so there is now some kind of UK-US consensus that law enforcement jurisdiction, legal action and enforcement of process, is possible in one or both countries. But what changed?
  • Is it now a settled matter that AS is voluntarily or by operation of law, to face the UK criminal justice system in trial? Again, what happened politically/legally to lead to that?
  • It seems odd that someone would be at trial if they weren't exposed to a court's sentencing power. And, if so exposed, it seems odd the court would choose a virtual attendance for a defendant not an in-person one. That more than anything confuses me. Why virtual, in this case? What does it signify?

So I don't really understand the current status quo and what it signifies, and I can't find a clear explanation online.

I * think * this is more general politics than law SE, but if it's more law, I'll repost there.

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  • October 21, 2022