Tuesday 19 June 2018

Sir Cliff Richard resumes BBC damages claim over police raid coverage

The singer is suing the BBC for ‘substantial damages’.

Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Sian Harrison and Brian Farmer, Press Association

Sir Cliff Richard has returned to court, as his battle against the BBC over its coverage of a police raid on his home entered its third day.

The 77-year-old singer claims footage of the raid, carried out following an allegation of sexual assault, was a “very serious invasion” of his privacy.

He is suing the BBC in the High Court for “substantial damages” and the trial, being heard by Mr Justice Mann, began on Thursday.

BBC bosses dispute his claims.

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Cliff Richard court case

Sir Cliff’s legal team previously told the court the BBC’s coverage of the search at his penthouse apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014 had a “prolonged impact” on the star.

His barrister said the singer should get compensation at the “very top end of the scale”.

Sir Cliff broke down in tears giving evidence on Friday, as he told the judge his name had been “smeared” across the world.

He also said he was so upset by the coverage he thought he was “going to have a heart attack or a stroke” and felt like his reputation had been “forever tainted”.

The BBC says its coverage of the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s apartment was accurate and in good faith.

Lawyers representing BBC bosses told Mr Justice Mann that the raid was a “matter of legitimate public interest”.

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

Sir Cliff denied the allegation and in June 2016 prosecutors announced that he would face no charges.

A BBC spokesman has said the BBC reported Sir Cliff’s “full denial of the allegations at every stage”.

Staff from South Yorkshire Police are due to give evidence on Monday about their contact with Dan Johnson, the BBC reporter who covered the raid.

The trial is due to last 10 days.

Press Association

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