Sir Cliff Richard wins privacy case against BBC

Angelo Anderson
July 19, 2018

LONDON-British singer Cliff Richard won substantial damages on Wednesday after London's High Court ruled the BBC had breached his privacy by televising a police raid on his house which he said had left him feeling violated.

In the High Court, Judge Anthony Mann said the BBC had infringed Richard's privacy rights in a "serious" and "sensationalist" way and awarded him 210,000 pounds ($274,000, 236,000 euros) for the "general effect" on his life. The veteran popstar - who was previously given £400,000 by the police in an out-of-court settlement previous year - was today awarded £210,000 damages, which is set to rise at a later date.

In a statement, the BBC said it was "sorry for the distress Sir Cliff has been through". It means police investigations, and searches of people's homes, could go unreported and unscrutinised.

This was based on the fact that he did not believe the police volunteered information about the raid to the BBC, but that the police were "manoeuvered into providing it from a fear and implicit threat that the BBC would or might publish news of the investigation before the police were ready to conduct their search".

Outside, fans sang "Congratulations", one of his 14 United Kingdom number one singles in Britain.

Standing alongside Sir Cliff outside court, his solicitor Gideon Benaim said the singer's motivation was "not for personal gain" but to "right a wrong". That is why the BBC is looking at an appeal'.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Mann said a suspect in a police investigation "has a reasonable expectation of privacy" and while Sir Cliff being investigated "might be of interest to the gossip-monger", there was not a "genuine public interest" case.

'For all of these reasons, there is a significant principle at stake.

Alleged incident Billy Graham at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground in 1985
Alleged incident Billy Graham at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground in 1985

Sir Cliff was never arrested or charged over the allegations.

A trial was held at the High Court in London in April and May where the BBC disputed his claims.

Sir Cliff told the judge that coverage, which involved the use of a helicopter, was a "very serious invasion" of his privacy, and he wanted damages at the "top end" of the scale.

Damages will be paid 35 per cent by Yorkshire Police and 65 per cent by the BBC.

Metropolitan Police officers passed the allegation to South Yorkshire Police in July 2014.

In his evidence, Sir Cliff had said in the years leading up to August 2014, he had worked regularly, released a new album every 18 months or so and usually played a number of concerts.

South Yorkshire Police has already agreed to pay Sir Cliff $708,000 after settling an earlier claim brought about by the singer.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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