Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Ten Years On, For God's Sake Get It Right

The inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and and Dodi Al Fayed starts today.

This is a case where justice must not only be delivered - it must be seen to be delivered. If, as an outcome of this hearing, it is seen as a whitewash by the significant body of opinion in this country, then a judicial system that is already thought by many to be out of touch with the people it is designed to serve risks being plunged further into disrepute.

The death of Diana is already, inevitably, a conspiracy theorists' paradise. After all, it does have all the ingredients to be just that: the sudden and dramatic death of one of the most famous people in the world; that person's arguments with those high up in the British establishment; the fact that she was in a relationship with - and possibly pregnant by - a Muslim. Some people will always believe that Diane and Dodi were "done in", and the objective of the inquest should not be to persuade them otherwise. Rather it should be get to the truth, and to be seen by those with an objective view that it has done so.

The signs till now have not been encouraging: the long fight by Mohamed Al Fayed for the inquest to be heard by a jury; the fact that the inquest has taken ten years to come about and is now being chaired by its third coroner; the process's refusal - so far at least - to call on members of the Royal Family to give evidence, despite Diana's apparent belief that some of them were out to get her and the extraordinary remark allegedly made by the Queen to Paul Burrell about the "dark forces" at work in this country.

Somehow this inquest needs to overcome the obstacles - some of which have been self-imposed - and be seen by the overwhelming majority of people to have left no stone unturned, no reasonable question unanswered.

I feel desperately sorry for Diana's two sons and all the other other bereaved people that they are still having to go through all this. It is frankly pitiful that the inquest should start ten years after the event. But now it's underway, it absolutely has to deliver.

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