CPS announces charge following the death of Harry Dunn
Chief Crown Prosecutor Janine Smith, said: “Following the death of Harry Dunn in Northamptonshire, the Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised Northamptonshire Police to charge Anne Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving.
“The Director of Public Prosecutions has met with Harry Dunn’s family to explain the basis of the decision we have made following a thorough review of the evidence available.
“May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Anne Sacoolas are now active and that she has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
The next steps
Now that the CPS has authorised Northamptonshire Police to charge Anne Sacoolas we have started extradition proceedings.
The Home Office is responsible for considering our request and deciding whether to formally issue this through US diplomatic channels. Our specialist extradition team will be working closely with the UK Central Authority at the Home Office to do this.
More information on extradition proceedings is available in the Legal Guidance section of this website.
Notes to editors
- Janine Smith is Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands
- Anne Sacoolas (28/08/1977) has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving in relation to the death of Harry Dunn outside RAF Croughton on 27 August 2019. Extradition proceedings are now underway
- Our guidance on extradition proceedings can be found here: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/extradition
- The review of the evidence was carried out in accordance with the full code test.
Charging decisions and the CPS
Any decision by the CPS does not imply any finding concerning guilt or criminal conduct; the CPS makes decisions only according to the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and it is applied in all decisions on whether or not to prosecute.
It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider.
The CPS assessment of any case is not in any sense a finding of, or implication of, any guilt or criminal conduct. It is not a finding of fact, which can only be made by a court, but rather an assessment of what it might be possible to prove to a court, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
This assessment is based on the evidence available arising out of the police investigation and not on the evidence that is likely to be gathered by the defence, and likely to be used to test the prosecution evidence. The CPS charging decision is therefore necessarily an assessment on the basis of the evidence that is available to the CPS at the time the decision is made.
CPS prosecutors must also keep every case under review, so that they take account of any change in circumstances that occurs as the case develops, including what becomes known of the defence case. If appropriate, the CPS may change the charges or stop a case.