No criminal investigation into Diana Panorama interview, say police

Scotland Yard said it had assessed the contents of Lord Dyson's report in May.

A criminal investigation will not be launched into a BBC journalist’s Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Metropolitan Police made the announcement after looking at Lord Dyson’s report into the 1995 documentary which saw Martin Bashir do a sit-down with the royal.

Scotland Yard had already said in March it would not launch a criminal investigation into the interview, but added that it had since assessed the contents of the Dyson report two months later.

BBC Broadcasting House (Ian West/PA)
BBC Broadcasting House (Ian West/PA)

In a statement on Wednesday, the force said: “In March 2021, the Metropolitan Police Service determined it was not appropriate to begin a criminal investigation into allegations of unlawful activity in connection with a documentary broadcast in 1995.

“Following the publication of Lord Dyson’s report in May, specialist detectives assessed its contents and looked carefully at the law, once again obtaining independent legal advice from Treasury Counsel as well as consulting the Crown Prosecution Service.

“As a result, the MPS has not identified evidence of activity that constituted a criminal offence and will therefore be taking no further action.”

Lord Dyson’s blistering report criticised the methods used by Mr Bashir to obtain his exclusive 1995 interview with the princess.

It said the journalist was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Diana’s brother Earl Spencer to gain access to the princess.

Both the Duke of Cambridge and his brother the Duke of Sussex issued strongly worded statements following the publication of the report, which found the broadcaster covered up “deceitful behaviour” used by Mr Bashir to secure his headline-making interview.

William and Harry condemned the BBC for its treatment of their mother, saying the interview fuelled her “fear, paranoia and isolation” and a wider “culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life”.

Former BBC director-general Lord Tony Hall later said he was “deeply sorry” for the “hurt” caused by the interview scandal, but denied there had been a “BBC cover-up”.

The corporation has also since apologised to the whistle-blower who tried to expose Mr Bashir’s methods.

Graphic designer Matt Wiessler was sidelined by the corporation after raising concerns that fake bank statements he mocked up for Mr Bashir had been used by the journalist to persuade Diana to do the interview.

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