Martin Bashir break law

Okay so did Martin Bashir actually break the law in how he secured the Diana interview?

The Crown showed Bashir forging bank statements, but were his methods illegal or just unethical?

The Crown season five was finally the time that the Netflix juggernaut showed us their depiction of the infamous Panorama special interview between Diana and Martin Bashir – with the show not shying away from the widely publicised methods Bashir went to in securing the Princess of Wales exclusivity for himself. But were the actions of Martin Bashir actually illegal, or just wholly unethical? Here’s a deep dive into whether Martin Bashir actually did break the law when doing the Diana Panorama interview as depicted in season five of The Crown.

The original investigation cleared Bashir of wrongdoing

After the explosive interview aired and the ripples of carnage went through the royal family, there was a 1996 investigation into the falsified bank statement documents, the ones The Crown showed being created on a computer. This inquiry came back clearing Martin Bashir of any wrongdoing as the inquiry found that these documents weren’t the reason the interview took place.

In 2020, everything was brought back up again and more investigations took place. Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, never accepted the outcome of the original inquiry. Martin Bashir worked for the BBC again as its religion and ethics correspondent since 2016. Earl Spencer was crucial in the 2020 investigation because he claimed that without the falsified documents he would never have introduced Martin Bashir to Diana.

What did the new investigation conclude? Did Bashir break the law?

The Met police eventually concluded in May 2021 that they wouldn’t be going through with a criminal investigation against Martin Bashir. Martin Bashir left the BBC in May 2021 due to health issues, and then later in the month the BBC declared it found him guilty of deceit and breaching editorial conduct.

The original inquiry was blasted for being ineffective and the BBC criticised for allegedly covering for Bashir to preserve the accolades of the Panorama special, which won a Bafta. The Bafta has now been taken back in the aftermath of the outcome.

To conclude: The police didn’t press charges or investigate further so Martin Bashir didn’t break the law, but pretty much all counts of ethical journalism were breached and it disgraced Bashir’s reputation.

The Crown season five is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Here is everything you need to know about Princess Diana and Hasnat Khan’s relationship

• Did Princess Diana and the Queen really have an intense chat before the BBC interview?

• Here’s what The Crown got right about the rocky relationship between Margaret and Diana