The first photographer at the scene of Britain’s Princess Diana fatal car crash has refused to give evidence at her inquest.
Romuald Rat had written to Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker — who is presiding over the inquest into Diana’s death – to say he “was not prepared to give evidence by video link or at all, either today or any other day.”
Notification of Rat’s absence comes a day after the coroner lost a legal bid for the jury to hear the testimonies of paparazzi involved in the case.
Lord Justice Baker lodged an appeal on Friday (23.11.07) challenging a London High Court ruling which prevented the inclusion of statements from French photographers who pursued Diana on the night she died after her car crashed in Paris’ Pont d’Alma tunnel on 31 August, 1997.
He wanted to include the written testimonies after French authorities ruled they would not force the paparazzi to appear at the inquest in person.
But Lord Justice Waller, sitting with Lord Justice Dyson and Lord Justice Latham, said the appeal had been dismissed and the reasons for the decision would be given in a written judgement later.
Meanwhile, Rat also slammed claims he had offered The Sun pictures from the crash for UKP300,000, saying it was “a lie”.
The inquest had previously heard allegations that Rat phoned from the tunnel offering exclusive pictures of the dying Diana instead of stopping to help.
But he described the allegations as “defamatory” in an email to author Martyn Gregory, who wrote the book Diana: The Last Days.
He said he would be attentive to his “honour” and pointed to the French court of appeal, which seven years ago ruled he had stopped to help.
In his email, Rat wrote: “This allegation is a total lie and defamatory and I will be very attentive in respect of my honour.”