Diana, Princess of Wales, during a royal engagement. /CFP
The BBC has made a "full and unconditional apology" after an independent report found journalist Martin Bashir used "deception" to secure his historic 1995 interview with the UK's Princess Diana.
"The indirect and real target of Mr Bashir's deceptions was Princess Diana," wrote retired senior judge John Dyson following a six-month investigation.
Dyson said he was "satisfied" that Bashir showed fake bank statements to Diana's brother Earl Spencer "so as to deceive Earl Spencer and induce him to arrange the meeting with Princess Diana."
"Mr Bashir acted inappropriately and in serious breach" of the BBC guidelines, Dyson added.
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BBC Director-General Tim Davie accepted that "the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect.
"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," he said.
"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."
Dyson also said a 1996 BBC investigation into the claims, co-authored by future BBC chief Tony Hall "was flawed and woefully ineffective."
Hall admitted the inquiry "fell well short of what was required" and that he was "wrong to give Martin Bashir the benefit of the doubt."
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