Earl Spencer says he has reported Martin Bashir to Met Police TWICEJune 17, 2021
Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer says he has reported BBC reporter Martin Bashir to Met Police TWICE for using bank statement to land interview with his sister but says force is ‘bizarrely reluctant to take it further’
- Earl Spencer, 57, today told LBC that the Met was uninterested about his reports
- Said that faking financial documents ‘expecting to profit from them’ was a crime
- Also said the BBC ‘has a lot to answer for’ over why it decided to re-hire Bashir
Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer today said he reported disgraced BBC reporter Martin Bashir to the Met Police twice for using fake bank statements to land the interview with his sister but the force was ‘bizarrely reluctant to take it further’.
The 57-year-old, speaking from his family home of Althorp, insisted that faking financial documents ‘expecting to profit from them’ was a crime and should be investigated by officers.
He told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: ‘I’ve referred this twice to the Metropolitan Police but they seem bizarrely reluctant to take it further.
‘If you went into any situation with fake bank statements expecting to profit from it you wouldn’t be let off Scot free. This seems a very odd case indeed.’
Earl Spencer believes police should investigate Martin Bashir for faking bank statements to land his interview with Diana (pictured)
Earlier this week an internal BBC report by a long-serving former executive found there was ‘no evidence’ the corporation rehired Bashir to cover-up his dirty tricks in securing his bombshell interview with Diana.
Today Earl Spencer criticised the report’s findings and insisted the corporation had still had questions to answer about why it re-hired Bashir after the scandal.
He said: ‘I do think the BBC have had an enormous amount to answer for, so I went back in disbelief when they came back with yet another of their own reports finding no connection between Bashir being re-engaged and his previous known lies.
‘In 2000, he was working for ITV against Panorama reporting on the victims of the Harold Shipman case and he was threatened with legal action for defamation.
‘It is very hard to see how he was then put forward as Religious Correspondent a few years later after causing so much trouble.’
The BBC report criticised executives for failing to do ‘due diligence’ about the rogue reporter’s past before bringing him back to the corporation in 2016, and said that another candidate thought it was a ‘done deal’.
But it said there was ‘no evidence’ the move was intended to ‘contain and/or cover’ up the events surrounding the 1995 programme, and found Tony Hall, who led the internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Panorama interview, did not play a part in the decision to rehire him.
Earl Spencer tweeted a link to a BBC article about the report’s findings, with the message: ‘It won’t end with this, I promise.’
The Met said today: ‘In March 2021, the MPS determined it was not appropriate to begin a criminal investigation into allegations of unlawful activity in connection with a documentary broadcast in 1995 but should any significant new evidence emerge it would be assessed.
‘Following the publication of Lord Dyson’s report we are assessing its contents to ensure there is no significant new evidence.’
It came as former BBC governor Sir Richard Eyre suggested BBC journalists and executives responsible for Bashir’s Panorama interview were fuelled by ‘contagious, blind ambition’.
A BBC report criticised executives for failing to do ‘due diligence’ about Bashir’s (pictured) past before bringing him back to the corporation in 2016
Speaking from his family home of Althorp, Earl Spencer insisted that faking financial documents ‘expecting to profit from them’ was a crime and should be investigated by police
The director, who sat on the corporation’s board at the time of the 1995 interview, said their punishment will be ‘public shame’.
Former director-general Lord Tony Hall, who was managing director of news and current affairs at the time of the interview, has come under fire since Lord Dyson’s blistering report in May, which criticised the methods used by Bashir to obtain his exclusive interview with the princess.
The Dyson report described Lord Hall’s internal investigation into the matter as ‘woefully ineffective’.
Appearing before MPs on Monday, the former director-general said he was ‘deeply sorry’ for the ‘hurt’ caused to the dukes of Cambridge and Sussex over the interview, while Lord John Birt, who was director-general at the time, described Bashir as a ‘serial liar on an industrial scale’.
Sir Richard told Sky News yesterday: ‘My explanation of the whole fiasco was that the people involved were consumed by contagious ambition, blind ambition.
Former BBC governor Sir Richard Eyre
‘John Birt had come into the BBC as director-general, the third in the line, the previous two had been fired by the chairman Marmaduke Hussey. He came in with a specific programme of putting news on the front foot. He thought that the BBC news gathering and use of reporting of the time was very, very complacent and inward-looking.
‘So he was encouraging the news department to go on the front foot.
‘Panorama, like a number of BBC programmes, was very self-contained and probably still is semi-autonomous.
‘So there was this group who got this massive scoop. I don’t think anybody, maybe the Panorama people were, but certainly not John Birt and Tony Hall, were terribly interested in how Bashir had got access to Princess Diana.
‘The whole thing was very much conducted in secrecy. Everybody outside that inner circle was astonished that Bashir, this totally unknown reporter, had got the interview.’
He said he did not believe it was true that Bashir forced his way into landing the interview, and instead thought Diana was ‘absolutely delighted’ to meet a young journalist she could ‘manipulate’.
Asked what consequences senior BBC managers should face for the fact Bashir used forged documents to secure the interview, Sir Richard said: ‘I simply don’t know what possible punishment there is except shame. I mean, I think that Tony Hall has suffered excessively from the revelations and has apologised.
‘I think John Birt has played a very good hand because of course, he was editor in chief so I feel he has to take responsibility for what happened.
‘But what punishment can there be? It was 25, 26 years in the past. The punishment is public shame.’
Current BBC Director General Tim Davie (right) and Richard Sharp, (left) answering questions, via video link, in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee over the handling of Martin Bashir’s interview of Diana, Princess of Wales
Discussing if there should be broader consequences for the corporation, Sir Richard said: ‘Politicians have never liked the BBC. They can’t bear the idea that a state broadcasting company is independent of the state and doesn’t obey the mandate of the state.
‘Also they hate the idea that it’s paid by a hypothecated tax, so the Treasury can’t play around with a tax.
‘What can they do? Well, they can cut the legs off the BBC. That would be an act of massive cultural vandalism.
‘The BBC is the most important cultural organisation in the world. And I very much hope that it’s going to have the power to remain so.’
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