Paul Burrell won't be investigated for perjury during Di inquest

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London, March 8 : Scotland Yard has put the plan of launching a perjury investigation into Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell on hold until after the ongoing inquest into her death.

Burrell had been ordered to return to the London High Court from his Florida home by coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker after he was secretly taped confessing that he had not told the "whole truth" to the inquest.

However, the 49-year-old has until now declined to return to the UK to face allegations that he lied to the jury.

"Any action the Metropolitan Police Service would take around allegations of perjury would not be dealt with until conclusion of the inquests," the Telegraph quoted a Scotland Yard spokesman, as saying.

"Any decision taken would be in consultation with the Coroner after the jury have reached their verdict," the spokesman added.

Addressing the jury on March 6, coroner Sir Scott said: "Mr Burrell is abroad and I have no power to compel a witness to attend to give evidence. He says that he is not going to be in the UK in the near future."

A spokesman for the coroner later explained that he did not have the power to look into perjury, which is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

However, a senior Scotland Yard source said: "If Paul Burrell were to enter the country at the moment, we would certainly detain him to ask him if he would volunteer to answer questions.

"If he refused to do that voluntarily, he would be arrested on suspicion of perjury and questioned under caution," the source added.

Burrell was secretly taped in New York boasting that he had deceived the inquest during his three days in the witness box with "a couple of red herrings".

"Perjury is not a very nice thing to have to consider. I didn't tell the whole truth. When you swear on oath you swear an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," Burrell said in the tape.

"I told the truth as far as I could. But I didn't tell the whole truth. Do you honestly think I have told everyone everything I know? Of course I haven't. I was very naughty and I laid a couple of red herrings.

I couldn't help but do it. And I know you shouldn't play with justice and I know it's illegal. I realise how serious it is - but all through since the princess died I have measured what I have said gradually and carefully," he added.

Burrell has consequently denied lying to the inquest, saying that he made the comments in New York when he was "tired and depressed."

ANI

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