BBC bosses ‘hiding behind expensive lawyers’ as Earl Spencer slams broadcaster over emails

Princess Diana’s brother has accused the BBC of “hiding behind expensive lawyers” after they didn’t hand over emails about Martin Bashir’s panorama interview.

The BBC was slammed by a judge for its attempts to keep documents which could expose Bashir’s conduct in securing the interview a secret.

Bashir was accused of being “deceitful” due to his commissioning of fake bank statement that accused her head of security of being paid off by tabloids, in order to convince Diana to go ahead with the interview with him.

The judge questioned the broadcaster’s honesty after the two-year campaign to keep the emails unseen in a damning ruling obtained by the Mail.

Diana’s brother Earl Spencer has criticised the BBC for this, saying: “The problem here is one of the integrity of people at the BBC.

“People at the BBC who are responsible for this have hidden behind expensive lawyers at a time when this great national and international institution is making cuts. I think that’s obscene.

“This deals with what [journalist] Andy Webb refers to as the cover-up of the cover-up and that goes back to the autumn of 2020.

“I was told when I approached the BBC at that time that there was no way we could talk to Martin Bashir, he was too ill to talk.

“But we know there are 38 emails between Bashir and senior people at the BBC at this time.

“My suspicion is that they were cooking up a story to try and make him unavailable during a time of particular interest in Diana’s interview, which was the 25th anniversary.

“It’s about people who are still in power in the BBC who have taken decisions that I question, and the judge has certainly questioned. I think that’s the issue here.

“I believe the BBC should be guarded by responsible senior figures and not hidden behind to protect their careers.”

Judge Brian Kennedy said the broadcaster had been ‘inconsistent, erroneous and unreliable’ in the way it dealt with the initial request to release material under Freedom of Information (FOI) law, the BBC reported.

The judge added the BBC’s response was a ’cause for serious concern’.

The ruling comes following a tribunal over whether details should be released after the documents were requested by documentary maker Andrew Webb, who initially exposed Mr Bashir.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC fully accepted during the course of these proceedings that mistakes have been made in this case in the past, we have worked to improve our processes since and we have apologised to Mr. Webb and the Tribunal. We are currently considering the Tribunal’s decision carefully and it would not be appropriate to comment whilst the legal proceedings are ongoing.”

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