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Sir Cliff Richard resumes BBC damages claim over police raid coverage

Press Association logoPress Association 16/04/2018 By Sian Harrison and Brian Farmer, Press Association
Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) Sir Cliff Richard has returned to court, as his battle against the BBC over its coverage of a police raid on his home entered its third day.

The 77-year-old singer claims footage of the raid, carried out following an allegation of sexual assault, was a “very serious invasion” of his privacy.

He is suing the BBC in the High Court for “substantial damages” and the trial, being heard by Mr Justice Mann, began on Thursday.

BBC bosses dispute his claims.

Jonathan Munro head of BBC Newsgathering, Franscesca Unsworth, BBC Director, News and Current Affairs and Gary Smith, former BBC Home Editor and current Head of News at BBC Scotland, arrive at the Rolls Building in London for the continuing legal action with Sir Cliff Richard over the BBC coverage of a police raid at his apartment in Berkshire in August 2014. © Press Association Jonathan Munro head of BBC Newsgathering, Franscesca Unsworth, BBC Director, News and Current Affairs and Gary Smith, former BBC Home Editor and current Head of News at BBC Scotland, arrive at the Rolls Building in London for the continuing legal action with Sir Cliff Richard over the BBC coverage of a police raid at his apartment in Berkshire in August 2014. Sir Cliff’s legal team previously told the court the BBC’s coverage of the search at his penthouse apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014 had a “prolonged impact” on the star.

His barrister said the singer should get compensation at the “very top end of the scale”.

Sir Cliff broke down in tears giving evidence on Friday, as he told the judge his name had been “smeared” across the world.

Sir Cliff Richard leaves the Rolls Building in London with Gloria Hunniford, where he gave evidence in a legal battle against the BBC. © Press Association Sir Cliff Richard leaves the Rolls Building in London with Gloria Hunniford, where he gave evidence in a legal battle against the BBC. He also said he was so upset by the coverage he thought he was “going to have a heart attack or a stroke” and felt like his reputation had been “forever tainted”.

The BBC says its coverage of the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s apartment was accurate and in good faith.

Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London for the continuing legal action against the BBC over coverage of a police raid at his apartment in Berkshire in August 2014. © Press Association Sir Cliff Richard arrives at the Rolls Building in London for the continuing legal action against the BBC over coverage of a police raid at his apartment in Berkshire in August 2014. Lawyers representing BBC bosses told Mr Justice Mann that the raid was a “matter of legitimate public interest”.

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 the BBC reported Sir Cliff’s “full denial of the allegations at every stage”.

Staff from South Yorkshire Police are due to give evidence on Monday about their contact with Dan Johnson, the BBC reporter who covered the raid.

The trial is due to last 10 days.

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