MARTIN BASHIR will not face a criminal investigation into how he obtained his bombshell interview with Princess Diana, Scotland Yard announced this afternoon.
The force launched a probe after it was claimed that the then-BBC journalist used underhand methods to speak to her for the seminal Panorama programme in 1995. A BBC inquiry found Mr Bashir had lied to obtain the interview.
It said that he used “deceitful” methods which were later covered up by a “woefully ineffective” internal investigation by Lord Tony Hall, who later became BBC director-general.
Today Scotland Yard announced that “no further action” would be taken against Mr Bashir – who has since left the BBC.
In a statement it said: “In March 2021, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) 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.”
In March Scotland Yard said it would not launch a criminal investigation into the interview.
But it added that it would assess the contents of the Dyson report, which was published two months later.
The 127-page document condemned Mr Bashir for how he obtained the interview – during which Diana famously said there were “three of us” in her marriage to Charles.
She was referring to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall – the Prince of Wales’ second wife.
In his report, Lord Dyson said that the BBC fell short of its high standards when answering questions about the interview.
It also ruled that Mr Bashir had seriously breached broadcaster’s rules by mocking up faked documents, which he showed to Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer to obtain the interview.
Lord Dyson also criticised the internal BBC investigation in 1996 that cleared Mr Bashir and BBC News of wrongdoing as “woefully ineffective”.
It was headed by Lord Hall who was director general of the BBC when it rehired Mr Bashir as religious affairs correspondent in 2016. He was later promoted to religion editor.
Speaking to the Sunday Times in May, Mr Bashir said he “never wanted to harm” the princess with the interview.
But he did apologise to her sons, Princes William and Harry, for any upset it caused them.
“Everything we did in terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace, to when it was broadcast, to its contents,” he told the paper.
But on having shown her brother Earl Spencer forged bank statements and says: “Obviously I regret it, it was wrong. But it had no bearing on anything.
“It had no bearing on [Diana], it had no bearing on the interview.”
Mr Bashir left the BBC without a pay-off earlier this year, citing ongoing health issues.
Source EXPRESS CO UK