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'My pal Cliff is innocent, this is a witch hunt'

singer Daniel O'Donnell has rushed to defend star Cliff Richard. The Donegal crooner reckons the allegations of abuse levelled against the British star aren't true and that "Cliff will not have a case to answer".

Last week saw the Summer Holiday star accused of assaulting a boy under 16 at a rally by US Evangelist Billy Graham in Sheffield in 1985.

However, O'Donnell has said that he doesn't believe the claims being made against his long-term friend.

Cliff is a regular visitor to these shores and spent weeks rehearsing at the Liffey Studios on North Wall ahead of his performance at the Marquee in Cork last June.

FRIENDS

"I've known Cliff since the '80s, we've been close friends for 14 or 15 years and I just don't believe the like of this would happen.

"The Cliff I know if a really genuine, good person who would do nothing to anybody, least of all a child," he said.

He also criticised the way the whole scandal had emerged in the UK as being "absolutely unfair and unjust" and that Richard's name was made public before the authorities investigating the case.

"In my limited knowledge of the law, I don't think we should know as this stage who the accused is. I think the way it has all been conducted is definitely unfair and not in keeping with the law. It's like there is some kind of witch hunt," he said.

Daniel added how extra measures should be put in place to protect someone until they are actually charged with an offence

"It's not the first time that this has happened and an individual's name has been made public before being charged," Daniel continued.

"In some of those cases, the person was later deemed not to have a case to answer. But by then, the damage was done to the person's reputation.

"As well as everything else, this also diminishes the legitimate case of people who have been abused.

"In Cliff's case, his name should not have been revealed until work is done to see if there are any grounds for the case to go any further."

A statement issued on behalf of Richard says the allegation that he assaulted a boy at a religious rally in Sheffield, northern England, in the 1980s is "completely false".

hnews@herald.ie


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