Cressida Dick says Met Police could launch investigation into Martin Bashir’s Diana interview

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says the force could launch a criminal investigation into BBC journalist Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana.

Ms Dick said the force has not yet received a complaint from anyone with any evidence for officers to examine.

But if such a complaint was to emerge, Scotland Yard would ‘assess whether any crime has been committed’. 

Diana’s brother Earl Spencer has alleged Mr Bashir showed him fake financial documents and told untrue stories about the royal family to gain access to Diana. 

The BBC has appointed Lord Dyson, a retired judge and former master of the rolls, to lead an investigation to discover what steps the BBC and Mr Bashir took to land the Panorama interview with Diana in 1995.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says the force could launch a criminal investigation into BBC journalist Martin Bashir's interview with Princess Diana (pictured)

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says the force could launch a criminal investigation into BBC journalist Martin Bashir's interview with Princess Diana (pictured)

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick says the force could launch a criminal investigation into BBC journalist Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana (pictured)

The BBC has appointed Lord Dyson, a retired judge and former master of the rolls, to lead an investigation to discover what steps the BBC and Mr Bashir took to land the Panorama interview with Diana in 1995 (pictured during the interview)

Asked about a potential criminal investigation, Dame Cressida told reporters on Thursday: ‘We have not received a complaint from somebody who is giving us any evidence for us to assess.

‘So, if they were to, we would of course assess whether any crime has been committed or may appear to have been committed and, if so, whether it is appropriate for us to do an investigation.

‘But at this stage, we have not received any such complaints.’

The fake documents falsely suggested Diana’s then private secretary – and another royal household member – were being paid by the security services to spy on the princess, something that played on Diana’s fears about her safety and privacy.

Former BBC director-general Lord Hall led a 1996 internal BBC investigation into the circumstances surrounding Diana’s Panorama appearance, which sent shockwaves through the royal family with her revelations about the state of her marriage.

Ms Dick (pictured) said the force has not yet received a complaint from anyone with any evidence for officers to examine

Ms Dick (pictured) said the force has not yet received a complaint from anyone with any evidence for officers to examine

Mr Bashir last month

Mr Bashir last month

Ms Dick (left) said the force has not yet received a complaint from anyone with any evidence that officers can examine. But if such a complaint was to emerge, Scotland Yard would ‘assess whether any crime has been committed’. Right: Mr Bashir last month

The five key areas the BBC inquiry into the Martin Bashir scandal will cover  

Lord Dyson has been asked to investigate and report back on five key areas. 

He will interview BBC staff and have access to all their records. 

1. What steps did the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir take with a view to obtaining the Panorama interview on 20 November 1995 with Diana, Princess of Wales? This will involve a consideration of all the relevant evidence including (i) the mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer (ii) the purported payments to members of the Royal Households; and (iii) the other matters recently raised by Earl Spencer not limited to the matters published in the Daily Mail on 7 November 2020.

2. Were those steps appropriate, having regard in particular to the BBC’s editorial standards prevailing at the time?

3. To what extent did the actions of the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir influence Diana, Princess of Wales’s decision to give an interview?

4. What knowledge did the BBC have in 1995 and 1996 of the relevant evidence referred to at paragraph 1 above?

5. Having regard to what was known at the time of its investigation in 1995 and 1996, how effectively did the BBC investigate the circumstances leading to the interview?

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The corporation has previously said in a statement that Mr Bashir admitted commissioning the mocked-up bank documents – relating to the earl’s employee -and it is understood the journalist was found to have ‘done wrong’ at the end of the process.

It is not known what sanction, if any, he faced.

Mr Bashir, now the BBC’s religion editor, is seriously ill with Covid-19-related complications and is not in a position to respond to the earl’s allegations, the BBC has said.

A spokeswoman for the corporation previously said: ‘A lot has been written and broadcast about the Princess of Wales’s interview in recent weeks. It is important that we have a view of what happened based on the evidence of everyone involved. Clearly that has not yet been able to happen.

‘But to be absolutely clear, the BBC is determined to get to the truth of what happened. That’s why we have appointed Lord Dyson to lead a fully independent investigation.

‘It is vital that everyone with information shares that with Lord Dyson, so that he can investigate thoroughly and draw his conclusions having heard all the evidence.’

On Monday, former BBC director Lord Tony Hall said he ‘looks forward’ to helping an independent inquiry into Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Princess Diana – but insisted he ‘investigated it at the time’. 

Lord Hall was Head of News at the BBC when the controversial interview took place and insisted that he had ‘investigated’ the interview at the time. 

However, he refused to comment on whether his initial inquiry was a failure. 

He told ITV News: ‘I’m going to take part in the Inquiry, I think Lord Dyson is the right way, he’s doing all the right things, and I will take part in that inquiry and I shall say what I want to say to Lord Dyson.

‘I investigated at the time, I will take part in the Lord Dyson inquiry and I look forward to telling him what I think.’

Lord Dyson previously said he will start his inquiry ‘straight away’ by interviewing corporation staff and having access to available records.

He also promised Mr Bashir a ‘thorough and fair’ investigation following sensational claims the journalist secured the Princess of Wales’s trust by faking two bank statements.

Diana's brother Earl Spencer (pictured) has alleged Mr Bashir showed him fake financial documents and told untrue stories about the royal family to gain access to Diana

Diana's brother Earl Spencer (pictured) has alleged Mr Bashir showed him fake financial documents and told untrue stories about the royal family to gain access to Diana

Diana’s brother Earl Spencer (pictured) has alleged Mr Bashir showed him fake financial documents and told untrue stories about the royal family to gain access to Diana 

YESTERDAY morning the Daily Mail submitted 10 key questions to the BBC. By late afternoon, the corporation’s new inquiry website offered some partial answers…

How will Lord Dyson run his investigation?

It is not known whether the former Supreme Court judge will act as a judge or investigator, like a policeman. Ex-Scotland Yard head of royal protection Dai Davies said: ‘They are very different skillsets.’ Last night the BBC gave Lord Dyson the title ‘The Investigator’. 

Does he have the right to compel witnesses?

The BBC admits attendance by witnesses is voluntary. Mr Davies said: ‘This makes a mockery of the inquiry. If the police were running it, crucial witnesses would have no choice. Is the BBC relying on Martin Bashir to co-operate by telling all? What’s in it for him? If he talks about forging bank statements, doesn’t he risk being prosecuted for fraud? He might take the view it’s a kangaroo court and stay well away.’

It is not known whether Lord Dyson, (pictured) the former Supreme Court judge, will act as a judge or investigator, like a policeman. Last night the BBC gave Lord Dyson the title ‘The Investigator’

It is not known whether Lord Dyson, (pictured) the former Supreme Court judge, will act as a judge or investigator, like a policeman. Last night the BBC gave Lord Dyson the title ‘The Investigator’

It is not known whether Lord Dyson, (pictured) the former Supreme Court judge, will act as a judge or investigator, like a policeman. Last night the BBC gave Lord Dyson the title ‘The Investigator’

Who will identify documents as evidence?

Mr Davies asked: ‘Are we going to have to trust the BBC to hand over everything? In 2007, they responded to a Freedom of Information request by saying no documents existed. Then they “found” them 13 years later.’ Last night the BBC said Lord Dyson would have to ‘request’ documents but pledged: ‘Provided that the documents requested are within the BBC’s power, custody or control, they will be provided to The Investigator.’

Will the inquiry be open and transparent?

The BBC said: ‘Lord Dyson is leading an independent investigation.’ The judge’s conclusions will be published, but the BBC admits key sections could be ‘redacted’. Mr Davies said: ‘Who decides what should be redacted? And even if his final report is published, will the evidence he collected be made public? What other public organisation would be allowed to commission their own investigation into a crime and set the ground rules?’

Will the Diana letter be forensically tested?

The BBC exonerated itself in an internal inquiry in 1996 on the basis of a handwritten note from Diana which it duly lost but has now found. Mr Davies said: ‘Has this letter been forensically examined? Do we know for sure she wrote it? Who asked for this letter and why, and how far up the food chain did it go?’ Last night the BBC said Lord Dyson would be provided with ‘copies of documents only’ but added that he could ‘inspect’ the originals.

Link hienalouca.com

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