Sir Cliff Richard privacy case: BBC will not go to Court of Appeal

Sir Cliff RichardImage copyright

The BBC will not challenge a ruling over its coverage of a police raid at Sir Cliff Richard’s home in 2014 at the Court of Appeal.

A High Court judge ruled the BBC had infringed the singer’s privacy, awarding him £210,000 in damages in July, and refused leave to appeal.

The corporation will now seek advice from the attorney general over how the ruling impacts future reporting.

Sir Cliff was never arrested or charged during the police investigation.

It followed an allegation made by a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff at an event at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane in 1985, when he was a child.

The BBC has apologised to Sir Cliff for the distress caused by its coverage, but originally wanted permission to appeal, arguing the court judgement could threaten press freedom.

After considering the rejection of its High Court appeal application, the broadcaster has decided not to go directly to the Court of Appeal.

However, it is writing to ask the attorney general to “consider a review of the law in this important area to protect the right to properly and fairly report criminal investigations, and to name the person under investigation”.

Last month, Mr Justice Mann ruled in favour of Sir Cliff, 77, following the trial in London .

The judge’s findings included that Sir Cliff had a right to privacy while he was a suspect in the South Yorkshire Police investigation – trumping the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression to publish his name and cover the raid.

He concluded the BBC’s coverage – which involved a helicopter filming the search at Sir Cliff’s Berkshire home – had been a “very serious” invasion of privacy.

Mr Justice Mann awarded Sir Cliff £190,000 damages and an extra £20,000 in aggravated damages after the BBC submitted its coverage of the raid for an award.

The BBC was told to pay 65% of the £190,000 and South Yorkshire Police 35%.

The BBC also agreed to pay Sir Cliff £850,000 towards his legal costs.

South Yorkshire Police had earlier agreed to pay Sir Cliff £400,000 after settling a claim he brought against the force.

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