Al Fayed begins Scottish bid for Diana crash inquiry

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The Independent Online

A judge was today asked to consider whether the crash which killed Diana, Princess of Wales and her lover Dodi Fayed was caused deliberately.

The pair died when the Mercedes they were being driven in crashed in the Alma tunnel in Paris on August 31, 1997.

A French inquiry concluded that driver Henri Paul, who also died, was drunk and on anti-depressants, and was largely to blame for the fatal crash.

But Dodi's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, who believes the crash was caused deliberately, attended the first day of his legal bid to win a public inquiry in Scotland, where he bought his first UK home.

Richard Keen QC, counsel for the Harrods boss, told the Court of Session in Edinburgh that his argument would proceed on four points.

He told Lord Drummond-Young: "The first is this: whether the petitioner has grounds for apprehending that the life of his son Dodi Al Fayed was taken by force."

If this was accepted, he said the second proposition was that Mr Al Fayed had a right under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights for an "effective official investigation".

Further, he invited the judge to consider whether Mr Al Fayed was entitled to call on Scottish ministers to secure this right, and whether an earlier decision by Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC, the country's chief legal officer, to refuse a public inquiry, should be reversed.

Mr Keen told the court there were "numerous matters which cast material doubt" on the hypothesis that the crash was simply an accident.