Princess Diana: No criminal investigation into Martin Bashir's Panorama interview, say police

15 September 2021, 15:14 | Updated: 16 September 2021, 07:51

Police will not launch a criminal investigation into BBC journalist Martin Bashir's Panorama interview with Princess Diana.

The decision comes after the Metropolitan Police assessed the Lord Dyson report into the 1995 documentary, which saw the journalist 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, published two months later.

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."

In a 127-page report, Dyson forensically detailed the BBC's internal investigation and the cover-up that meant the fact Bashir had faked documents, while trying to secure the interview, had been hidden from the outside world.

The report also concluded the journalist breached rules by mocking up fake bank statements and showing them to Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, to gain access to the princess.

The inquiry said that by covering up Mr Bashir's behaviour, the corporation "fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency".

Both the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex issued strongly worded statements following the publication of the report.

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 whistleblower graphic designer Matt Wiessler who tried to expose Mr Bashir's methods.

The BBC and Mr Bashir have both apologised, and the corporation has written apologies to Diana's sons Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as Prince Charles, and Diana's brother Earl Spencer.