Monday, November 11, 2019

Harry Dunn Case: FCO Rejects Family's Claims, Will Oppose Judicial Review

Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Harry Dunn case has moved forward one step. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office rejected the family's claims of misue or abuse of power, as well as their request that the FCO withdraw its advise to the police regarding the American driver's diplomatic immunity.

From the BBC yesterday:
In the letter, the FCO said it would "seek costs" for any judicial review brought and argues the family has not found "any reasonably arguable ground of legal challenge".

It said the allegation that the foreign secretary had "misused and/or abused his power" was "entirely without foundation".

The family's lawyer/spokesman, normally so voluble, has so far maintained a near-total Twitter silence on this setback.

There are further details of the FCO's letter from the Press Association:

It is understood a legal claim issued by Harry’s family on October 25 was met with strong resistance from the FCO – who said any judicial review would be “opposed” and “defended”.

The 19-year-old’s parents had requested the FCO “withdraw the advice” provided to Northamptonshire Police surrounding the granting of diplomatic immunity to the US suspect in the case Anne Sacoolas.

The family’s lawyers also offered an alternative request of “paying substantive damages” for breaching the European Convention of Human Rights.

-- snip --

The claim against the FCO issued on behalf of Mr Dunn’s parents – Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn – alleged the granting of diplomatic immunity to Mrs Sacoolas was “wrong in law”.

-- snip --

In the letter, the FCO wrote: “It is not accepted that the proposed claim for judicial review articulated on your clients’ behalf in your letter, dated October 25, identifies any reasonably arguable ground of legal challenge.

“It is not therefore accepted that you have identified any arguable basis on which to suggest that the FCO ought now either ‘to withdraw the advice provided to the police’, or to pay ‘substantive damages for the breach of Articles 2 and 6, ECHR’.

“The unparticularised allegation that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (SSFCA) has misused and/or abused his power and/or has committed misfeasance in public office is entirely without foundation.”

The response continued: “As to the alternative ground of challenge based on Articles 2 and 6 ECHR, it is not accepted that you have identified any basis under the ECHR to criticise the SSFCA’s actions.

“The SSFCA therefore declines to take the action you have invited him to take on behalf of your clients, and would oppose any application for permission to bring a claim for judicial review.

“We therefore invite you not to pursue the proposed claim. In the event that the claim is issued, it will be defended, the application for permission will be opposed, and the Secretary of State will seek his costs for doing so.”

So the FCO is willing to be the bad guy in this touchy case, defending the legality of its ruling on diplomatic immunity for the driver. Not a popular position, I don't suppose, but the facts and the law on immunity are clear.

From this point on, the family's lawyer/spokesman might as well concentrate all his bad advise on pursuing his Plan B, that promised million-dollar payday in a U.S. court (“In the U.S. you can sue for millions of dollars if someone spills some hot coffee on your hand at McDonalds”). Of course, assuming he finds a U.S. judge willing to assert jurisdiction over traffic accidents in the UK, he'll then be fighting an insurance agency, and those people care not at all for public opinion and will make the FCO seem like a toothless bulldog in comparison.


Anonymous said...

TSB: This pretty well sums up the global war on terror. gwb

TSB said...

I rather like that caught-between-two-countries solution. He'll tire out quickly, unlike in GITMO where they can spend decades without much discomfort.

Anonymous said...

TSB: A judge has ruled that Hoda Muthana, the American-born college student who joined ISIS, and whom Trump said should not be allowed back in the USA, is not a citizen. ... Boy that took a long time! (I heard today there are 300,000 Chinese citizens students schooling in the US. Nobody is saying they are American citizens.)
So why is this ruling a surprise?) I thought you explained that really well a long time ago. gwb

TSB said...

The poor ISIS Bride will not be coming back to Alabama, it seems. My thought is she ought to give up on U.S. citizenship and become, formally, a stateless person with UN-issued papers. Then she could probably get a visa to visit the U.S.

Anonymous said...

TSB: FM explains the key to what happened in Bolivia: THE VITAL *KEY HIDDEN DETAIL OF RECENT EVENTS IN SOUTH AMERICA EXPLAINED...and why it didn't happen in Venezuela. Tulsi isn't even trying to become President. She's saving her money and will be available when all the Dems except the Rich ones fall by the wayside. gwb

TSB said...

I'm not so sure that the difference between being deposed like Evo or staying in power like Maduro comes down to going to the SOTA. Practically everybody over the rank of corporal in all South and Central American armies has gone there, so that could prove or disprove anything.

Evo tried to stay in power via a fourth election, even when the public rejected amending the constitution to allow that (he was no FDR, apparently). But he respected the legitimacy of democracy and elections, so when that last election was called on account of voter fraud, he departed without violence. I salute that.

Now it's the Indian majority in the mountains battling the !owland urban Spanish for control. Who knows but that both sides might just want Evo back some day.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Joe Biden will go down in history as the funniest Presidential Candidate ever! He "named?" his list of VP picks earlier than anyone in history, but couldn't remember any of their names. gwb "Sleepy Joe" still gets full deference from his opponents even though he appears to be asleep much of the time when appearing in public.

TSB said...

Joe has tried to stay on for one election too many. He looks really artificial now - probably a Botox effect - and he's more prone to verbal Bidenisms that ever, like that improvised remark about "punching down" domestic violence. I think his advisers this time around are feeding him contemporary 'Woke Joe' material, but he keeps slipping back into 'Old Joe' language. Somebody should stage an intervention and end this elder abuse.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Liz Sawyer at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twitter account of Danielle Stella, the Republican challenger to Ilhan Omar has been shut down after she called for her opponent to be lynched.

I guess Danielle is trying to show that allowing false political ads on FB and twitter has some problems. Tulsi's lawsuit is looking better all the time.

TSB said...

Called for Omar to be lynched? That's a bit excessive. Whipping her could be on the table, though, since that's culturally appropriate for a Somali, and there are also the old-fashioned remedies of tar and feathers or riding her out of town on a rail. Both were traditional in Revolutionary America, as was "smoking a Tory" (blocking a home's chimney and doors overnight so the inhabitants were nearly asphyxiated by fireplace smoke).

Of course, Stella is only *calling* for that, and not actually doing it - unlike the Sons of Liberty - so this is a matter of free speech, and the FB ban is an intolerable corporate abuse of the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

TSB: I miss-spoke. It's the "No Mallarky" bus tour for Joe in Iowa and this just in video shows quite a bit of Mallarky as Joe chews on Jill's fingers reminiscing about the good ol days! gwb

TSB said...

In all seriousness, those clips of Joe's speeches are so very creepy, not to mention alarming as to his mental state, that his campaign ought to shut down while they (#1) tell him not to talk in public and unscripted anymore, and (#2) get him examined by the best doctors they can trust to keep quiet about what they find.