Senior BBC editor has 'no concerns' about using helicopter in coverage of South Yorkshire Police raid

Sir Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard

A senior BBC editor has told a High Court judge he has 'no concerns' about the broadcasting of images taken from a helicopter during coverage of a raid of Sir Cliff Richard's home carried out by South Yorkshire Police.

Jonathan Munro, head of news gathering at the BBC, told Mr Justice Mann that he has reviewed the 'helicopter footage' of the raid in August 2014 and does not have 'any concerns'.

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Mr Munro gave evidence in a witness statement yesterday in the latest stage of a High Court trial in London, where Sir Cliff, aged 77, is suing the BBC for a breach of privacy over its coverage of the police raid.

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Officers searched Sir Cliff's home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, as part of an investigation into an allegation of sexual assault against the entertainer.

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A man came forward claiming that he was assaulted by the singer at a Christian concert at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, in the mid 1980s.

Sir Cliff, who denies the allegation and was never charged, wants damages from the BBC at the 'top end' of the scale.

The corporation published live coverage of the raid using reporters and cameras on the ground and images beamed from a helicopter above Sir Cliff's home.

The singer was also named.

South Yorkshire Police gave the BBC details of the pre-planned raid to avoid details of the police probe into the singer being released before detectives had searched his home.

Sir Cliff says the coverage was a 'very serious invasion' of his privacy.

The BBC disputes his claims.

Bosses say coverage of the search of the apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, was accurate and in good faith.

Senior editor Mr Munro said no issues about particular images recorded by the helicopter had been 'referred up' to him on the day of the search.

"No referrals were made to me about any helicopter images," he told the judge.

"During the course of preparing this witness statement I have reviewed the images which the BBC broadcast, including the helicopter footage.

"I do not have any concerns about the broadcasting of these images.

The BBC's director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth, is due to answer questions about the coverage today.