The coroner has expressed his disappointment that paparazzi photographers will not be forced to attend the inquest into the death of Princess Diana.
In a statement – posted today on the inquest’s website – the coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, said: ?The French authorities were invited, in view of the importance of the paparazzi to these inquests and because of the possibility of some misunderstanding, to look again at their decision not to compel them to attend to give evidence by video-link.?
However, the coroner confirmed that the paparazzi ?will not be compelled to appear’, adding: ‘I have no power to compel them to give evidence.’
Lord Justice Scott Baker explained that the French authorities view is that the photographers and their lawyers have ?forcefully argued that they have already given evidence on numerous occasions and have nothing new to say. The French authorities considered this a fair argument provided we have access to all the testimony already given ? which we have?.
The French authorities also considered that if force were used to compel witnesses to appear this could ?damage relations between the media, the government and the general public’, added the coroner.
Lord Justice Scott Baker?s statement added: ?For my part, while I would have preferred to hear oral evidence for the paparazzi, I understand and respect the decisions of the French authorities and although I am disappointed with the decision I am grateful to them for their continuing assistance in providing video-link facilities.
Click here to read the coroner’s statement on the paparazzi, in full.