Brazen Bashir is still in denial: Disgraced journalist defends his interview and says it is ‘saddening’ the scandal overshadowed Princess Diana’s ‘brave’ decision to tell all
- Disgraced journalist Martin Bashir, 58, stood by his claims amid news of scandal
- He remains ‘proud’ of his world exclusive BBC interview that aired in late 1995
- Bashir said forged bank statements had ‘no impact’ on Diana interview decision
- Lord Dyson published highly-anticipated and damning BBC inquiry earlier today
- Retired judge says Bashir was guilty of deception to gain interview with Diana
Disgraced Martin Bashir yesterday stood by his denials and claimed it was ‘saddening’ that the scandal has overshadowed Diana’s ‘brave’ decision to tell her story.
Despite the damning findings of Lord Dyson’s report, Bashir, 58, insisted he remained ‘proud’ of the interview and claimed his ‘stupid’ decision to fake bank statements had no bearing on Diana’s decision to give it.
In a statement issued after Lord Dyson’s report was published, he said: ‘This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago.
‘I apologised then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up.
‘It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago and again more recently.’
Brazen: Martin Bashir, 58, (pictured) stood by his denials and claimed it was ‘saddening’ that the scandal has overshadowed Diana’s ‘brave’ decision to tell her story
He added that the bank statements ‘had no bearing whatsoever’ on Diana’s ‘personal choice’ to take part in the interview.
Bashir, who has quit as the BBC’s religion editor due to ill health, referred to her letter in which she said he did not give her any information she was not previously aware of and that she consented to the interview without any ‘undue pressure’.
He added: ‘It is saddening that this single issue has been allowed to overshadow the princess’s brave decision to tell her story, to courageously talk through the difficulties she faced and to help address the silence and stigma that surrounded mental health issues all those years ago.
‘She led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that’s why I will always remain immensely proud of that interview.’
The long-lost letter that Princess Diana sent to BBC’s Martin Bashir (both pictured in 1995) saying she had ‘no regrets’ and wasn’t ‘pressured’ was released in Lord Dyson’s report today
Lord Dyson said in his report that so far as the BBC was concerned the Diana note was ‘conclusive evidence’ that the fake bank statements had not been used to persuade her to agree to the interview.
But he added: ‘With the benefit of hindsight, it can be seen that they should have considered the possibility that Mr Bashir secured the interview indirectly by showing the documents to Earl Spencer.’