Scottish Daily Mail
Met gets f irst Bashir claims – now will it launch probe?
SCOTLAND Yard is examining claims of criminality over the BBC’s Princess Diana interview on Panorama.
Earl Spencer’s former head of security has made an official complaint, raising the possibility of a criminal investigation.
Last night the Metropolitan Police confirmed it had received allegations of unlawful activity and said they would be ‘assessed’.
If the force decides to launch a criminal probe, it could have implications for the inquiry being undertaken by former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson.
He was appointed to probe allegations that the BBC’s Martin Bashir used rogue tactics to trick Diana into doing her famous Panorama interview in 1995.
Her confessions to Panorama sent shockwaves through the Royal Family and hastened her divorce f rom the heir to the throne, two years before she died in a car crash.
The i nterview broadcast in November that year, in which she notoriously declared ‘there were three of us in this marriage’, remains one of the BBC’s most sensational scoops.
The Met Police has been sent a complaint by a lawyer for Alan Waller, Earl Spencer’s former head of security.
Mr Waller’s bank statements were allegedly forged by Bashir, 57, who ordered a BBC graphics artist to mock them up.
The BBC journalist is accused of using the false statements – purportedly showing that Mr Waller was being paid to betray Earl
Spencer – to convince him to help clinch the interview with his sister Diana.
Lord Dyson has started taking evidence from witnesses, but former head of royal protection Dai Davies suggested he should ‘pause’ if the Met Police decides to launch an investigation.
Mr Davies said: ‘There is clear and unequivocal evidence of an allegation of crime. There is nothing for the Met to “assess”.
‘A range of former senior police officers such as myself have said there is a prima facie case here of forgery being used to obtain an advantage – which doesn’t have to be a financial advantage.
‘Mr Bashir plainly benefited from his historic scoop, as did the BBC.
‘The police have now had a formal complaint and they should just get on and investigate it.
‘And Lord Dyson, eminent though he is, should pause his civil inquiry and stand aside.’
Mr Waller’s barrister Anton van Dellen has asked the Met Police to launch a criminal investigation into ‘ very serious concerns’ of a conspiracy ‘ to create an instrument of fraud’.
Mr van Dellen told police: ‘In 1995, two BBC employees or agents engaged in a conspiracy t o create an i nstrument of fraud, namely a purported copy of Mr Alan Waller’ s bank statements.
‘Mr Martin Bashir agreed with a graphic artist, Matt Wiessler, to create a bank statement purporting to belong to Mr Alan Waller.
‘The fraudulent bank statement was then used to persuade Charles Spencer of Mr Bashir’s purported credentials and Mr Bashir subsequently gained an interview with the late Princess Diana.’
Mr van Dellen said the faked bank statements had caused ‘significant reputational and financial loss’.
The BBC would not be drawn on whether the police development would have any implications for Lord Dyson, who is now almost a third of the way through the six months set aside for his inquiry.
A spokesman said: ‘The investigation is ongoing.’
Mr Bashir, 57, ought to be the key witness at the inquiry, but there is no confirmation as to whether he has yet given a statement. Lord Dyson has no power to compel anyone to talk to him.
‘Police should get on and investigate’