Sir Cliff Richard: BBC pays £2m in final settlement after privacy case

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Reuters

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Sir Cliff said news coverage of a police raid on his house was “devastating”

Sir Cliff Richard has reached a final settlement in his legal action against the BBC, and will receive a sum of around £2m towards his legal costs.

Last year, the star won a privacy case against the broadcaster over its coverage of a police raid on his home.

The BBC was ordered to pay £210,000 in damages, and later agreed to pay £850,000 to cover legal costs.

However, that figure has since increased. The BBC said the case had now reached its “conclusion”.

The corporation, which also paid £315,000 to South Yorkshire Police for legal costs, said it was “pleased” to have reached “an amicable settlement”.

“The BBC’s costs are within the scope of our legal insurance,” added a spokesman.

However, as first reported by the Mirror, the settlement will not fully cover Sir Cliff’s legal fees. During his trial, the 78-year-old singer said he had spent more than £3m to clear his name.

‘Very intrusive’

Sir Cliff took the BBC to court after the broadcaster filmed a police raid on his home in Berkshire in 2014. The footage, which included aerial shots taken from a helicopter, was shown on news bulletins throughout the day.

Officers were investigating an allegation made by a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff in 1985. But the singer was never arrested or charged and the case was dropped two years later.

The BBC apologised for the “distress” caused to Sir Cliff, but said the privacy ruling could hinder press freedom.

The star was at his second home in Portugal when he learned of the raid. “It was very intrusive,” he later told ITV’s Jonathan Ross show.

“It’s hard to explain to people what it feels like. I only went back to that apartment once, to collect my clothes. It was worse than being burgled.”

A judge later concluded Sir Cliff had a right to privacy while a suspect in the investigation, trumping the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression to publish his name and cover the raid.

Afterwards, he said the allegations and subsequent media coverage were the “worst thing that has happened to me in my entire life”.

“What the BBC did was an abuse,” he said, adding that senior executives at the corporation deserved to lose their jobs. “They took it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner.”

Sir Cliff has subsequently joined other public figures in calling for the law to protect the anonymity of people suspected of sexual offences until they are actually charged with a crime.

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