Harry Dunn’s parents have been granted permission to appeal over a High Court ruling that their son’s alleged killer was entitled to diplomatic immunity.
The PA news agency understands that the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) had made submissions objecting to the family’s application – arguing that their grounds for appeal did not have “a real prospect of success”.
But on Wednesday Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn were informed by their lawyers that they have been given the go-ahead to appeal against a ruling by Lord Justice Flaux and Mr Justice Saini on US suspect Anne Sacoolas’s diplomatic immunity.
The judges accepted the Foreign Office’s position that Sacoolas “enjoyed immunity from UK criminal jurisdiction” as part of their judgment, which was handed down on November 24.
An FCDO spokeswoman said the High Court ruling was “clear” and showed Sacoolas “held immunity” at the time of the crash.
Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car being driven on the wrong side of the road by Sacoolas outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.
The US Government asserted diplomatic immunity on behalf of the 43-year-old following the incident and she was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.
An extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by the US State Department in January – a decision later described as “final”.
Speaking after their application to appeal was granted, the Dunn family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, told PA: “Harry’s parents were obviously disappointed with the ruling that Anne Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity.
“From the moment the judgment was handed down, they were given very strong legal advice that the ruling was wrong and should be appealed.
“The new legal team, which now includes the leading global law firm Allen & Overy, have worked round the clock to submit the appeal.
“Harry’s parents are delighted that the court has granted permission in their case as it signals that the judges accept that their decision may be wrong.”
Mr Seiger continued: “Harry’s parents had to show that they stood a realistic prospect of success in the appeal and they have succeeded in doing so.
“This represents a major step forward in their pursuit of justice for Harry.
“Harry’s parents have always been clear, on strong legal advice, that Anne Sacoolas did not have diplomatic immunity.”
PA understands no timetable has yet been set for the Court of Appeal process.
A spokeswoman for the FCDO said: “As the Foreign Secretary has said, we are on the side of the family and the US refusal to extradite Anne Sacoolas amounts to a denial of justice, and she should return to the UK.
“The High Court’s judgment was clear, Anne Sacoolas held immunity, and the Foreign Office acted properly and lawfully throughout.”