Sir Cliff Richard to give evidence in court over BBC coverage of South Yorkshire Police raid

Sir Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard

Sir Cliff Richard is to give evidence in court today over the BBC's coverage of a South Yorkshire Police raid of his home.

The 77-year-old singer is suing the BBC over its live coverage of the raid in August 2014 following a sex-assault allegation.

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Mr Justice Mann began overseeing the trial yesterday.

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Sir Cliff's legal team told the judge the live coverage of the police activity was a 'very serious invasion' of privacy.

Justin Rushbrooke QC told how the coverage has had a 'prolonged impact' on Sir Cliff.

He said the singer should get compensation at the 'very top end of the scale'.

The BBC says its coverage of the police raid was accurate and in good faith.

Lawyers representing BBC bosses told Mr Justice Mann that the raid was a 'matter of legitimate public interest'.

Gavin Millar QC, who is leading the BBC legal team, said journalists had respected Sir Cliff's rights as 'the suspect' and 'in particular the presumption of innocence'.

The trial is due to last 10 days.

The raid was organised after a man made an allegation to then Metropolitan Police, saying he had been sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff, during a Christian concert at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane football stadium in Sheffield, when he was a child in 1985.

Metropolitan Police officers passed the allegation to South Yorkshire Police in July 2014.

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

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