Cliff Richards Lawyers Substantial Compensation Bid Over BBC Breach

Cliff Richards Lawyers Substantial Compensation Bid Over BBC Breach

By Edward Trower And Lucy Caulkett-

Sir Cliff Richard’s lawyers have called for “very substantial” compensation over the BBC coverage of a police raid on his home was a “flagrant” breach of his privacy rights.

BBC coverage of a police search of the singer’s apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014 was a “very serious invasion” of privacy, Justin Rushbrooke QC said, as he attacked the use of television cameras to “spy into someone’s home”

Sir Richards, who was never charged with an offence, is suing the broadcaster after claiming to have suffered “profound and long-lasting damage” as a result of coverage. The 77 year old star was compensated by West Yorkshire Police in an out of court settlement following a similar suit, and now wants the BBC to pay huge damages to compensate his suffering and pain. Sir Richards was accused of sexually molested a boy at a Billy Graham Evangelical Crusade in Sheffield in 1988, allegations he vehemently denied. However, with no charges brought against him, the footage of his home left him deeply embarrassed.

“In a nutshell, it is Sir Cliff’s case that the BBC’s coverage of the search was an invasion – indeed a very serious invasion – of his privacy for which there was no lawful justification,” Mr Rushbrooke, who is leading Sir Cliff’s legal team, told the judge in a written statement.

“The fact and the details of the investigation which the BBC published to the world at large, along with the video footage of his apartment being searched, were private information and there was no public interest

“For strong public policy reasons, persons who are under investigation but have not been charged with any offence should not be publicly named other than in exceptional circumstances – circumstances which were not present in this case.

“Moreover, even if there had been some public interest in the fact that the claimant was under investigation, the way that the BBC went about publishing the ‘story’ was so disproportionate, and so intrusive, as to render it unlawful.”


He said Sir Cliff was entitled to “very substantial” damages or compensation to reflect the “flagrant way” the BBC went about “breaching his rights”.

Mr Rushbrooke said the BBC had used a helicopter,  stating that the broadcasts and other publications were on any view “hugely intrusive”.

He said: “It is hard to encapsulate in words the sense of panic and powerlessness that must have been induced in him on August 14 2014 when he realised that the BBC were relaying instantaneously and indiscriminately around the world highly sensitive and damaging information concerning himself – all based upon an allegation of serious criminal conduct which he knew to be entirely false.”

Mr Rushbrooke said Sir Cliff had been left with “no option” but to take legal action and told the judge: “What we are talking about is using TV cameras to spy into someone’s home at the time when their target is in the most vulnerable position imaginable and then serve it up to the British public as the most sensational story imaginable.”


He went on: “The coverage had a profound and continuing impact on upon almost every aspect of his life.”

Mr Rushbrooke said a BBC newsgathering team had been “obsessive” about scooping rivals.

He complained of a “regrettable failure” to adhere to “proper standards”.

Lawyers told Mr Justice Mann how in late 2013, a man made an allegation to the Metropolitan Police claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane football stadium when a child in 1985.

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

A BBC spokesman told The Eye Of Media.Com: ”As we have made clear previously  we are defending the case. We will not be making any comment until after the outcome of the case”.

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