The BBC has appointed a senior judge to lead its investigation into how Martin Bashir secured his infamous interview with Princess Diana in 1995 after new allegations about his methods surfaced.
Lord Dyson said he would begin the “important” investigation immediately and that he “will ensure it is both thorough and fair”.
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The former Court of Appeal president and Supreme Court judge will look at how Bashir (pictured) secured his Panorama interview with Diana after recent allegations published by the Daily Mail and Sunday Times and an ITV documentary.
A Mail on Sunday story in 1996 first revealed Bashir had asked a BBC graphic designer to create bank statements, which purported to show the former head of security for Diana’s brother Earl Spencer had received thousands from News International for information.
A BBC internal investigation at that time concluded the statements had not been used to help secure the interview but Earl Spencer recently said for the first time that he was shown them to get the journalist an introduction with his sister.
A former Panorama journalist wrote in the Times on Wednesday that the BBC had “lied and deceived not only to hide the failure of its editorial standards… but to protect those in the chain of command who invariably must share responsibility for the scandal”.
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BBC director-general Tim Davie said the broadcaster had commissioned an independent investigation because it is “determined to get to the truth about these events”.
“Formerly Master of the Rolls and a Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process,” Davie said.
The investigation will include looking at whether the steps Bashir took to secure the interview met the BBC’s editorial standards, what knowledge the BBC had in 1995 and 1996 of the new information that has surfaced this month, and how effective was the previous investigation.
The BBC said it was handing over all its relevant records for the investigation – days after it found a lost note believed to show Diana was happy with the way the interview was carried out.
Bashir has been unable to answer to the allegations as the BBC said he is seriously unwell with Covid-19 complications – although the Mail on Sunday subsequently published photos of him collecting a takeaway.