Cliff Richard: Singer wins BBC privacy case at High Court


By Media Team

Today, Mr Justice Mann ruled in favour of Sir Cliff Richard against the BBC following a lengthy legal battle relating to the BBC reporting of the police investigation into an (unfounded) historical child sex offence, which Sir Cliff claimed caused him great personal distress. In judgment, Mr Justice Mann accepted the South Yorkshire Police (SYP)/Cliff Richard case that the SYP provided material to the BBC due to concern that failure to do so would cause "prior publication" by the broadcaster. Mr Justice Mann found that the BBC reported the story in a "sensationalist way" which was found to infringe his privacy rights without legal justification. He also ruled that the damage caused by the BBC in the naming Sir Cliff as a suspect of investigation and broadcasting helicopter footage of police searching his home in 2014, was substantial. Sir Cliff was the subject of police investigation until June 2016 when it was announced that he would face no charge.

In addition to basic general damages of £190,000, the 77 year old singer was awarded a further £20,000 in aggravated damages as a result of the BBC's decision to nominate their coverage of the story for  the Royal Television Society's "Scoop of the Year" award. Mr Justice Mann also ruled that both the BBC and the SYP were liable in damages (excluding aggravated damages) in the proportions 65:35 respectively on the basis that the "BBC was a significant greater contributor to the damages caused".

Sir Cliff Richard has won his privacy case against the BBC over its coverage of a police raid on his home. High Court judge Mr Justice Mann awarded an initial £210,000 in damages. The singer claimed the BBC's reporting of the 2014 raid, which was part of an investigation into historical child sex allegations, was a "serious invasion" of privacy. He was never arrested or charged. The BBC said journalists acted in good faith and it is considering an appeal.
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