The BBC has said it will appeal after Sir Cliff Richard was awarded more than £200,000 in damages after winning a privacy case over the corporation’s coverage of a police raid on his home. The BBC’s Director of News, Fran Unsworth, said the corporation would be looking at appealing against the judgment which the pop star described as ‘wonderful news’.
The 77-year-old singer said he was ‘choked up’ following the High Court judge’s ruling to give him £210,000. Sir Cliff said he was ‘choked up’ following the ruling. Speaking outside the court in London following the judgment he said: ‘I can’t believe it.
It’s wonderful news.’ Sir Cliff argued the BBC’s reporting of the South Yorkshire Police raid in 2014 on his Sunningdale home in Berkshire, which was part of an investigation into historical child sex allegations, was a ‘serious invasion’ of privacy.
Mum says £5 bar of soap cured her daughter, 4, of eczema Mr Justice Mann agreed and said the BBC had infringed on the star’s privacy rights in a ‘serious and sensationalist way’, rejecting its case that its reporting was justified under rights of freedom of expression and of the press.
He awarded Sir Cliff £210,000 damages for the ‘general effect’ on his life and said he is entitled to recover further sums for the financial impact on the star, which will be decided at a later date. The singer cried as the verdict was delivered and hugged supporters in the courtroom, while fans outside sang his 1970 number one hit ‘Congratulations’ in celebration.
The singer took legal action following the BBC’s coverage of the police’s investigation after a man made an allegation to the Metropolitan Police, claiming he had been sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff at an event at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane in 1985 when he was a child. Sir Cliff argued the BBC’s reporting of the police raid in 2014 was a ‘serious invasion’ of privacy
Sir Cliff denied the allegation and was never arrested, and in June 2016 prosecutors announced that he would face no charges. South Yorkshire Police had agreed to pay Sir Cliff £400,000 after settling a claim he brought against the force. Ex-Ukip councillor jailed for life for strangling wife to death The force’s chief constable Stephen Watson said he accepted the judge’s findings.
I particularly welcome Mr Justice Mann’s findings that all South Yorkshire Police officers and staff were found to have acted entirely honestly and were credible and reliable witnesses,’ he said.
At a very early stage of these proceedings, we accepted and apologised to Sir Cliff Richard for the mistakes we made in our attempts to protect the integrity of the police investigation and the rights of the complainant, balanced against Sir Cliff Richard’s privacy rights. ‘I would like to take this opportunity to again offer our sincere apologies for the distress Sir Cliff Richard has suffered.’
Fran Unsworth, BBC’s Director of News, said the corporation would be looking at appealing against the Sir Cliff Richard judgment.