BBC will not be investigated over 1995 Princess Diana interview - Scotland Yard

15 September 2021, 16:19 | Updated: 17 September 2021, 18:01

Princess Diana was interviewed for the BBC's Panorama in 1995
Princess Diana was interviewed for the BBC's Panorama in 1995. Picture: Getty

By Daisy Stephens

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.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: "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.

Read more: BBC Diana probe 'to conclude Bashir used deceit to get bombshell interview'

Read more: BBC Diana interview: What comes next after the Dyson report and what have the key figures said?

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

The Dyson report, published in May, found that the BBC "fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark" by the way in which Mr Bashir secured his Panorama interview with Princess Diana.

The interview was watched by 23 million people in the UK, and famously featured Diana saying "there were three of us in this marriage".

The independent review found that Mr Bashir was deceitful in securing his interview with the Princess.

It found he approached Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, under false pretences, offering information about press intrusion into their family.

He told Earl Spencer that people close to the Royal Family were conspiring against Diana - something that she herself had been paranoid about.

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The inquiry, by former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson, found that Mr Bashir was "devious" and "dishonest", and that the original BBC inquiry into the interview in 1996 did not treat the journalist's account with the "necessary scepticism and caution".

Princess Diana's sons both released statements after the report was published.

"It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC's failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her,” said Prince William.

Prince Harry said: "Our mother lost her life because of [the press], and nothing has changed."

The BBC 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.

Shortly afterwards Scotland Yard said it would review its content to "ensure there is no significant new evidence", concluding with today's judgement.