Print Edition - 2018-07-19  |  Life & Style

Richard wins case against BBC

- THE GUARDIAN, LONDON

Jul 19, 2018-

Cliff Richard has won his privacy case against the BBC and will be awarded £210,000 in damages following a lengthy legal battle with the broadcaster after it reported the singer was being investigated over historic child sex assault claims.

The judgment, handed down in central London comes almost four years after the BBC broke the news that South Yorkshire police had searched the singer’s home in relation to the accusation.

In a decision that will have enormous implications for how the British media report on ongoing police investigations where no charges have been brought, the judge awarded Richard £190,000 damages. He was also awarded a further £20,000 aggravated damages for the BBC’s decision to nominate the story for the Royal Television Society’s scoop of the year award.

Justice Mann said the BBC reported in a “somewhat sensationalist” way.

Richard appeared in court to hear the verdict, accompanied by his friends Gloria Hunniford and Paul Gambaccini. Reacting to the judgment, he said: “I’m choked up. I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful news.”

The singer cried with relief after the ruling was announced. As he left with his legal team, fans gathered outside and sang a refrain of the singer’s hit Congratulations.

Senior BBC news managers Fran Unsworth and Jonathan Munro, who were both involved in the decision to broadcast the footage in 2014, looked on as they listened to the judge criticise the corporation’s decision.

The judge concluded that Richard had privacy rights and the BBC “infringed those rights without a legal justification”.

“It did so in a serious way and also in a somewhat sensationalist way,” he said. “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.”

Richard strongly denied the claims and no charges were brought, prompting the singer to sue BBC for a “very serious invasion” of his privacy after it flew a helicopter over his home to film police during the raid.

The singer, 77, is one of the most successful recording artists in British history. His legal team said he had suffered “possibly permanent damage to his self-esteem, standing and reputation” by the coverage of claims he sexually assaulted a young boy following a Billy Graham rally in Sheffield in 1985.

Published: 19-07-2018 07:48

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