Di crash investigators fined over legal delays, bungles

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London, Oct 24 (ANI): Senior French officials, who investigated Princess Diana's death have been blamed for a cover-up, and a Paris court has ruled that the state needs to pay Mohammed Al Fayed nearly 5,000 pounds for "unnecessary delays".

Judges in Paris ruled the state was to blame for a two-year hold-up and series of errors, and condemned officials for failing to check whether vital evidence was forged.

The court also pointed out the mix-up over controversial blood tests, which delayed establishing if driver Henri Paul was drunk when he crashed in a Paris underpass, killing him, Diana, 36, and Fayed's son Dodi in 1997.

In a sternly worded ruling, which comes 12 years and two months after the crash, the civil Court of Grand Instance said there were "dysfunctional" aspects to the work of the French investigators who led the crash inquiry.

They concluded that a mix-up over Paul's post mortem examination, and especially his blood tests, "had the effect of delaying without legitimate motive the investigation for almost two years" after the French authorities refused to investigate a complaint lodged in 2002 that the tests were forged.

The five-year French inquiry had found Paul, 41, was nearly four times over the drink-drive limit and the deaths were accidental, but his parents, backed by Fayed, launched a challenge, claiming blood samples were mixed up.

In their ruling, published on October 23, the French judges maintained that, although there had been "formal mistakes", they "had no long-term repercussions on the revealing of the truth".

But their conclusions were seized upon by Paul's parents, Jean and Giselle, who have fought to clear their son's name.

"I'm delighted. It's a good thing that the French republic has recognised its mistake because the whole inquiry was badly managed. It was botched from the start," the Daily Express quoted Paul senior, speaking from his home in Lorient, Brittany, as saying.

Fayed, 76, who still believes British secret agents assassinated Diana, had originally claimed the equivalent of 1million pounds from the French Republic for "denial of justice". (ANI)

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