Martin Bashir has responded to the report that he used "deceitful" methods to gain access to Princess Diana for a 1995 interview.
Last year, it was alleged that the journalist mocked up bank statements, which were shown to Diana's brother, Earl Spencer. As a result, Spencer convinced his sibling to do the interview.
"This is the second time that I have willingly fully co-operated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago. I apologized 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," Bashir, who stepped down from the BBC last week, told the Evening Standard.
"But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently. I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview," he continued. "Evidence handed to the inquiry in her own handwriting (and published alongside the report today) unequivocally confirms this, and other compelling evidence presented to Lord Dyson reinforces it."
He added, "In fact, despite his other findings, Lord Dyson himself in any event accepts that the princess would probably have agreed to be interviewed without what he describes as my ‘intervention.' It is saddening that this single issue has been allowed to overshadow the princess’ 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.”
On Thursday, May 20, former High Court judge Lord John Dyson said the BBC "fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark."
“The report demonstrates, I believe, that this has been the thorough and fair investigation I set out to do,” Dyson said. “All key individuals gave comprehensive testimony and I am grateful for their cooperation. It enabled my investigation to establish facts based on evidence and for me to draw the detailed conclusions that have been set out today.”
Meanwhile, BBC Director-General Tim Davie apologized the same day the report was released.
“Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect. We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings,” Davie said.
He continued, “While today’s BBC has significantly better processes and procedures, those that existed at the time should have prevented the interview being secured in this way. The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew. While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today."