Sir Cliff Richard's legal battle over BBC coverage of South Yorkshire Police raid reaches court

Sir Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard

A High Court judge is preparing to analyse evidence in a legal battle between Sir Cliff Richard and the BBC.

The 77-year-old singer is suing the BBC over coverage of a South Yorkshire Police raid of his apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014, following an allegation of sexual assault.

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Sir Cliff, who denied wrongdoing and was not charged with any offence, says he suffered 'profound and long-lasting damage' as a result of the coverage and is seeking damages.

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BBC editors have said they will 'defend' their coverage 'vigorously'.

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Mr Justice Mann is due to begin overseeing a trial at the High Court in London today.

Lawyers have told how in late 2013 a man made an allegation to the Metropolitan Police, claiming he had been sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff at a Christian convention at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane football stadium in Sheffield as a child in 1985.

Metropolitan Police officers passed the allegation to South Yorkshire Police in July 2014 and detectives raided his home as part of their investigation.

Sir Cliff denied the allegation and in June 2016 prosecutors announced that he would face no charges.

A BBC spokesman has said the BBC reported Sir Cliff's 'full denial of the allegations at every stage'.

Sir Cliff also sued South Yorkshire Police but Mr Justice Mann has been told how that dispute was settled out of court after the force agreed to pay the singer 'substantial' damages.

The police force gave the BBC details advance notice of their raid at Sir Cliff's home, which was aired live on television while the pop star was in Portugal.