Why didn't Earl Spencer turn in Martin Bashir when Princess Diana was alive? He had notes against BBC reporter
The inquiry led by the former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson investigated if Martin Bashir of BBC's 'Panaroma' used unethical means to land the interview with Princess Diana. It was found that if Earl Spencer's account of the event had been looked into by the previous BBC 'internal' inquiry, the truth about Bashir's claims would have surfaced even earlier.
Spencer had revealed that he had been wary of Bashir's claims when he had met him along with his sister Princess Diana. He had also noted down details about seeing the fake bank statement which spoke of "payments" to Spencer's former head of security Alan Waller, which Bashir had claimed were regular "8/3/94 £4K News International £4K quarterly" and "4/6/94 £6.5K Penfolds, 4 payments". Bashir also claimed that 'Penfolds Consultants' was a Jersey-based front company for intelligence services.
Lord Dyson's inquiry found that "What Mr Bashir did was not an impulsive act done in the spur of the moment. It was carefully planned… What he did was devious and dishonest." If Spencer's account of the event had surfaced before, Bashir's claims would have been torn apart.
But the reason Earl Spencer did not turn in his notes at the time was that he was not aware of the internal inquiry that was held at BBC, according to a media report.
Earl Spencer also said that the interview on 'Panorama' of Princess Diana was "seen as very controversial. And if I had gone against it while she was alive, then I didn't want to be seen to be undermining her in any way."
Further to this, it was also revealed that the earl was not aware of the fact that Bashir had claimed Princess Diana as a source for the information regarding the bank statements. He was also not aware that Bashir's claims were in fact false and the documents Bashir had shown to substantiate his claims were forged.
Referring to how Spencer's silence is all that was needed to put the Princess Diana story to rest, Anne Sloman in an internal BBC management document wrote, "The Diana story is now dead, unless Spencer talks. There's no indication that he will." In addition to claiming Princess Diana was his source for many of the claims that he had made, he also told the management that Spencer was his source for Waller's bank account details.
Earl Spencer learned of Bashir's accusation only in the autumn of 2020 before the inquiry was held, and categorically denied all of this. It was his anger that resulted in him getting in touch with BBC, pushing them to hold another inquiry.
The former Supreme Court judge who led the inquiry noted, "In a credibility contest between Earl Spencer and Mr Bashir, Earl Spencer wins convincingly." Lord Dyson commented, "To dismiss his actions as no more than a mistake, unwise and foolish did not do justice to the seriousness of what he had done."