we are all losers .. In granting Fayed both an inquest and a jury, we have made British justice look like a rich man’s toy.
Fayed has deployed all his energy and cash to prove that there was a conspiracy …he is tormented with the unmentionable thought that he is himself partly at fault.
I’ll come clean: I know exactly how Diana died
What joy, what rapture unforeseen! In a decision of almost complete insanity the Court of Appeal has decided that the inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi must be held with a jury, and the celebrations are under way.
For legions of fat-cat lawyers, it’s going to be a binge of expense accounts and refreshers. For the interpreters, the taxi drivers, the hoteliers who will help to look after the dozens of witnesses who will be flown over from Paris, it’s going to be more lucrative than anything since Londonderry held the Savile inquiry. For the journalists, there will be yards of simply eye-popping copy.
There will be sex, death, Nazis, the secret service, the clash of civilisations between Islam and the West – and there will be royals, royals, royals!
And there, in the middle of it all, will be Mo Fayed, the brooding Pharaoh of Alexandria. With his Tourette’s-style profanities and his rib-tickling denunciations of Nazi Prince Philip, he’s going to be the biggest thing to sell newspapers since – well, since Diana.
Trebles all round, boys! Is there a loser? Well yes, my friends, we are all losers – and not just as taxpayers. In granting Fayed both an inquest and a jury, we have made British justice look like a rich man’s toy.
However sympathetic we may be to Mr Fayed for the loss of his son, we must surely accept that no ordinary citizen could expect to secure an inquest into a 10-year-old open-and-shut case of drink driving.
As the appeal court judges made pathetically clear, they are bowing to pressure from Fayed and giving credence to his absurd fantasies. It is very rare for a jury to be empanelled for an inquest. It happens in only three per cent of cases. It happens when there is evidence – evidence – that the death occurred in police custody, or at the hands of some other emanation of the state. Is there any such evidence in this case?
Gah. Almost 10 years ago, Diana, Princess of Wales and her then boyfriend died in a tragic car accident. Their chauffeur, Henri Paul, had more than twice the British limit of alcohol in his bloodstream. He was going much too fast. Neither Dodi nor Diana was wearing a seatbelt. C’est tout, as the French authorities rapidly concluded.
Since then, Mohamed Fayed has deployed all his energy and cash to prove that there was a conspiracy, and in some ways he is like so many other sad victims of bereavement. Not only is he unable to come to terms with his loss; he is tormented with the unmentionable thought that he is himself partly at fault. It was his organisation, his Ritz chauffeur, that proved so disastrously inadequate.
Fayed is very human and unexceptional in his refusal to face this, his utter determination to cast the blame elsewhere. What makes him different is his wealth, his ability to promote these mad obsessions through the judicial system.
It is scarcely credible that an inquest was opened in 2003, given that the facts were so clearly established. But we live in an increasingly mushy-minded age, in which the “rights” of victims’ families are held to be ever more sacred. It is in furtherance of those rights that inquests are increasingly concerned with apportioning blame – even when no good whatever can come from the exercise – and one way or another it is usually possible to claim that blame lies with the state.
It was by repeating this central claim, demented though it patently is, that Fayed was able to justify his call for an inquest; and it was by harping on the same point that he has now secured a jury – with all the ghastly showboating that involves. His lawyer, Michael Mansfield QC, has already demanded that the proceedings be held in Westminster Central Hall, so as to accommodate the thousands of Diana-worshippers who will want to attend.
The coroner, Lady Justice Butler-Sloss, deserves a medal for at first telling Fayed there was no need for a jury, since she could see no evidence whatever of any state involvement in the death of his son. In this world of bogus sentimentality, she is a model of real compassion and common sense; and it makes one weep to read the ruling of the three judges who overturned her. They say it is important that the wishes of the Fayed family (i.e. Mo) should be taken into account. Why? Would the wishes of any of us be taken into account if we spun a cock-and-bull story about the death of a relative, and alleged that MI6 and Nazi Prince Philip were involved?
Lord Stevens has just spent £3.6 million and 800 pages proving that Fayed’s claims are baloney. So why did the appeal court yield? Because in a spineless way they seem to believe that public opinion demands it, and that without a jury, Lady Justice Butler-Sloss would be accused of some kind of establishment cover-up.
What feeble reasoning. Yes, there are millions of mutton-headed readers of tabloid tripe, and, yes, they have been conditioned to believe Fayed’s claims, just as millions of them believe in Unidentified Flying Objects or the Bermuda Triangle or that taramasalata is a cure for cellulite. But do you think for a moment that they will be shifted in their prejudices if Fayed’s theories are rejected one more time?
It is in the face of this insanity that I have decided at long last to reveal my own evidence, in the hope that Mo will call me as a witness.
I will reveal how the Duke of Edinburgh secretly trained the Loch Ness Monster to swim up the Seine until it reached the Pont d’Alma and then I will explain how Philip then gave a kind of ghillie’s whistle and Nessie reared out of the water and so startled Henri Paul that he swerved into the path of Elvis Presley in the white Fiat Uno, at which point Prince Charles – hovering overhead in a Luftwaffe helicopter – switched on the supermagnet installed by MI6 in the concrete pillar of the tunnel and sucked the Merc to its doom. That is the story I will tell. I got it from the horse’s mouth – Shergar, that is.
It is at least as plausible as the rubbish we will now hear from Fayed, and it is a sad comment on our national sentimentality, and the way a tycoon can buy his day in court, that we are hearing this stuff at all.