The BBC has hit out at Sir Cliff Richard’s legal spend after the broadcaster provided controversial live coverage of a raid on Richard’s Berkshire home by the South Yorkshire Police in an investigation into claims of sexual abuse that were made against the singer in 2014. No charges were made in relation to the allegations of historical sexual assault, with the Crown Prosecution Service dropping the case because of insufficient evidence.
Richard claimed that the BBC’s coverage of the case, facilitated by South Yorkshire Police, breached his privacy rights and, in doing so, inflicted “profound and long-lasting” damage on the singer’s reputation. The case is ongoing, with the BBC denying any wrongdoing.
At a High Court hearing the legal costs were set out, with the singer having already spent £525,437 on the civil case, in addition to £369,414 spent on solicitors who dealt with the legalities around the police raid. The BBC’s lawyers argue that those costs are “disproportionate” for a case of this kind.
Unless any settlement can be reached, the case will now proceed to a full court hearing. The BBC has said it will defend its coverage of the raid.