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Police will not launch criminal investigation into Martin Bashir’s Diana interview

Police will not launch criminal investigation into Martin Bashir’s Diana interview
Announcement follows damning report into making of BBC’s controversial 1995 programme

A criminal investigation will not be launched into BBC journalist Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, police have announced.

The Metropolitan Police said on Wednesday that it made the decision after reviewing Lord Dyson’s report into the controversial 1995 documentary which saw Mr Bashir speak at length with the royal.

The report, which was published in May, strongly criticised the methods used by the journalist to obtain his exclusive interview with Diana and said that he was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements to gain access to her.

Although Scotland Yard said in March that it would not launch a criminal investigation into the interview, it looked again at that decision following the publication of Lord Dyson’s findings.

“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,” the force said in a statement.

“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 Metropolitan Police Service has not identified evidence of activity that constituted a criminal offence and will therefore be taking no further action.”

Following the publication of the report earlier this year, both Prince William and Prince Harry issued strongly worded statements criticising Mr Bashir’s actions.

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex condemned the BBC for its treatment of their mother, arguing that the interview fuelled her “fear, paranoia and isolation” and was part of a “culture of exploitation and unethical practices” that ultimately led to her death.

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

Mr Bashir himself has previously apologised for his actions, saying that he “deeply regrets” his decision to use fake bank statements to secure access to Diana.

However, the journalist argued that the bank statements had “no bearing whatsoever” on her “personal choice” to take part in the programme.

Additional reporting by PA