Martin Bashir should be charged with fraud and his bosses prosecuted over cover-up, says ex-Met commander

SHAMED Martin Bashir should be charged with fraud, an ex-Scotland Yard commander said last night — and his bosses prosecuted over their cover-up.

The call came as the Met Police announced they will be assessing Lord Dyson’s report to see if new evidence demands an investigation.

Top brass decided in March not to take action over claims made by Earl Spencer’s one-time bodyguard Alan Waller relating to mocked-up bank statements used by Bashir to trick Diana.

But former Met commander John O’Connor believes testimony from graphic designer Matt Wiessler, who created the documents, now make a vital difference.

He said: “These were used to deceive Earl Spencer and Princess Diana.

“Bashir obtained a pecuniary advantage because the programme he made was worth a lot to him in the furtherance of his career.

“You have deception and obtaining a pecuniary advantage — that is fraud and there is a clear prima facie case to prosecute.”

If convicted the reporter, whose 1995 Panorama interview was screened worldwide, would face up to seven years in jail.

Mr O’Connor also said bosses’ behaviour “amounts to misconduct in public office as the BBC is funded by the taxpayer”.

He added: “Anybody who was involved could be liable to prosecution.”

Mr O’Connor accused the Met of trying to “paper over the cracks” by declining to pursue the case two months ago.

He said: “The evidence was there to see if it had been properly investigated.

"If the Met had looked properly at this case they would have seen that Bashir was lying through his teeth.”

Dai Davies, a former Met chief superintendent who headed the royalty protection unit, said there is “clear and unequivocal evidence” that the force should “at the very least be investigating”.

He added: “Normally there would be a criminal inquiry before a civil inquiry. There’s one rule for the BBC and one for the rest of us.”

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said prosecutions were a “matter for the investigating authorities”.

But he added: “A lot of us will say sometimes the cover-up is worse than the crime.”

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