Northamptonshire Police refuse request to publish emails to Foreign Office over death of Harry Dunn

Northamptonshire Police turned down a Freedom of Information request to publish all emails between the force and the Foreign Office over the death of Harry Dunn.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 7:50 pm
Northampton Police has refused a request to publish "all correspondence" with the Foreign Office over the death of Harry Dunn.

The 19-year-old motorcyclist was killed in August this year near RAF Croughton when he collided with the wife of an American diplomat who was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road.

His death has since erupted into a diplomatic crisis after the suspect, Ms Anne Sacoolas, flew back to the US by claiming diplomatic immunity and has not returned to face justice.

Harry's devastated family, who live in Charlton and Brackley, has hit out at the British government and accused it of delaying a decision to prosecute Ms Sacoolas, which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) denies.

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Harry Dunn was killed on a road near RAF Croughton in a collision a car driven by the wife of an American diplomat.

Now, a Freedom of Information request for the police to publish all emails to the Foreign Office over the 19-year-old's death has been refused.

A member of the public, Mr Edward Williams, requested that the force provided "all correspondence between you and the FCO regarding death of Harry Dunn".

It also asks for "all information held which relates in any way to [the Foreign secretary] Dominic Raab/the Foreign Office asking Northamptonshire Police to delay telling Harry Dunn's family that the woman involved in the crash that killed their son had left the UK."

The force refused the request and wrote in reply: "Information relating to a criminal investigation will rarely be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

"Preliminary disclosure may prejudice the outcome of an investigation and undermine the right to a fair trial.

"...the small benefit in increased public awareness would not be adequate compensation for such an impact on [the right to a fair trial]."

Additionally, it reads: "The importance of building and maintaining goodwill within international relations cannot be underestimated.

"By releasing any communications that Northamptonshire Police has exchanged with Governmental Departments would undermine the relationship, trust and confidence built up between them."

Mr Williams has asked for an internal review of his request.

The pointed question about Dominic Raab's involvement comes after Harry Dunn's father confronted the foreign secretary at a hustings event at his constituency in East Moseley in November.

Mr Dunn and his family have previously criticised Mr Raab for handling the crisis, and claimed meetings with the foreign secretary felt like "PR stunts".

Mr Raab told Harry's father - Tim Dunn - that it was "not on" for him to confront him at the event. He was heckled as a "coward" by Harry's friends and family as he left the event.

Mr Raab is reportedly set to meet up with Harry's family again this week, but a date has not been confirmed.