(CNN)Anne Sacoolas, the US woman accused of killing a British teenager while driving on the wrong side of the road in England, will face criminal proceedings in the UK early next year, the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Monday.
The 44-year-old is charged with causing 19-year-old Briton Harry Dunn‘s death in August 2019 by dangerous driving.
“The case will be heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 18 January,” the CPS said. “Anne Sacoolas has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice any proceedings.”
“While the challenges and complexity of this case are well known, we remain committed to securing justice in this matter,” it added.
Sacoolas’ legal team did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
The court declined to comment to CNN when asked if Sacoolas would appear by video link. The Dunn family spokesman, Radd Seiger, told CNN in a statement that she is expected to be appear in court “remotely.”
Dunn’s family welcomed the apparent development in their son’s case, with his mother saying it had left them feeling “very emotional.”
“It’s been an exhausting and frustrating time since Harry’s death but my family and I are feeling very emotional and overwhelmed having just the learned the news that Mrs Sacoolas is now to face our justice system,” Charlotte Charles said in a statement on Monday. “It is all that we asked for following Harry’s death.”
Dunn’s father, Tim Dunn, said however that he still couldn’t forgive the US government for allowing Sacoolas to retain diplomatic immunity. “I wish our Government could have done more to stop this injustice and it should not have been down to us to have to fight as hard as we have had to,” he said.
Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat, has admitted driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash. After the deadly collision outside RAF Croughton, a US military base in England where her husband worked, Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and returned to the US.
The incident sparked ongoing diplomatic tensions between the two countries, with the US State Department in January 2020 rejecting an extradition request to return her to the UK for prosecution.
In June, then-British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said UK prosecutors could seek a “virtual trial” of Sacoolas. “The US has not agreed to the extradition, but the path is clear for the legal authorities in the UK to approach Anne Sacoolas’s lawyers — without any problem from the US government — to see whether some kind of virtual trial or process could allow some accountability and some solace and some justice for the Dunn family,” he said in an interview with the BBC.
Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, also brought a civil lawsuit for damages against her in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, having reached a “resolution” in September.