Sir Cliff Richard wins 'substantial' damages from BBC

Emotional Sir Cliff faces the media outside court

Iain Dale unleashed a brutal tirade against the BBC after Sir Cliff Richard won a High Court privacy battle against the broadcaster.

Speaking to ITV's Julie Etchingham, Sir Cliff, 77, said: "They [senior managers] have to carry the can".

Sir Cliff told the judge that coverage, which involved the use of a helicopter, was a "very serious invasion" of his privacy.

The BBC has to pay 65 per cent of the $336,000 while South Yorkshire Police, who conducted the raid, will pay 35 per cent.

The BBC disputes his claims.

They said the coverage was accurate and in good faith.

Richard said after the trial: "I'm choked up".

Handing down his judgment and awarding the singer 210,000 pounds ($273,700) in damages, Justice Anthony Mann said the BBC had infringed Richard's privacy rights "without a legal justification" and "in a somewhat sensationalist way".

The allegation was passed on to South Yorkshire Police in July 2014 with the raid happening in August that year.

Alleged incident Billy Graham at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground in 1985
Alleged incident Billy Graham at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground in 1985

Sir Cliff denied the allegation and was never arrested, and in June 2016 prosecutors announced that he would face no charges.

He 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.

"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".

Unsworth also said the BBC was looking to appeal the verdict. "So it was a very hard time and it left me in despair, and it has damaged me".

In the House of Commons, an MP suggested formally changing the law to make it illegal for the media to name suspects until they are charged.

A BBC spokesman said: 'This judgment creates new case law and represents a dramatic shift against press freedom and the long-standing ability of journalists to report on police investigations, which in some cases has led to further complainants coming forward.

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: "The ruling to make it unlawful that anyone under investigation can be named is a major step and one that has worrying consequences for press freedom and the public's right to know".

A review by lawmakers on a parliamentary committee in October 2014 criticized what it called the police's "inept handling" of the situation, but said there had been nothing wrong in the BBC's decision to run the story. "We should also consider that the reverse is true".

She said it was an "issue for careful judgement" in which both police and media must recognise their responsibilities.

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