Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 August 2019

Cliff Richard wins damages from the BBC over televised police raid

The judge said the BBC infringed on the legendary singer's privacy in a 'serious' and 'sensationalist' way

Sir Cliff Richard makes a short statement to the press outside the High Court in London on Wednesday. EPA
Sir Cliff Richard makes a short statement to the press outside the High Court in London on Wednesday. EPA

British singer Sir Cliff Richard has won £210,000 (Dh958,000) from the BBC after London's High Court ruled the broadcasting company invaded his privacy during a televised police raid.

The BBC aired a police raid on the singer's home over alleged historical child sex offences while Mr Richard was on holiday in August 2014.

Prosecutors later said the singer would not be charged due to lack of evidence, and Mr Richard said the raid damaged his reputation.

Following the clearing of charges, Mr Richard pursued the BBC over its reporting of the case.

"My life was effectively turned upside down and my reputation, worldwide, was unnecessarily damaged. I would not want the same to happen to others whether in the public eye or not," he said in a statement at the start of his case.

"I firmly believe that privacy should be respected and that police guidelines are there to be followed.

"That means that, save in exceptional circumstances, people should never be named unless and until they are charged. As everybody has accepted, there were no such 'exceptional circumstances' in my case."

Handing down his judgment, Justice Anthony Mann said the BBC had infringed Mr Richard's privacy rights "without a legal justification".

"It did so in a serious and also in a somewhat sensationalist way," he said in his judgment.

"I have rejected the BBC's case that it was justified in reporting as it did under its rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press."

The BBC had been tipped off about the investigation and reported on the raid live from a helicopter.

The corporation said it was "very sorry" for causing the singer distress, but stood by its editorial decisions. The police also apologised to the star. In a press statement, the BBC said they look to appeal the decision.

In British law, the media are not allowed to broadcast moments where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Mr Richard, who burst onto the pop scene in the late 1950s, is the third biggest-selling artist in British singles chart history, behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

His hits include The Young Ones, Living Doll, Summer Holiday, Congratulations, Mistletoe And Wine and The Millennium Prayer.

Updated: July 18, 2018 01:52 PM