British singer Cliff Richard pursues legal action over raid

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 10, 2016 10:02 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - British singer Cliff Richard is pursuing legal action against the BBC and the police after the broadcaster televised a raid on his house, saying his reputation had been "unnecessarily damaged".

One of Britain's best known entertainers, Richard, 75, was investigated over allegations of sexual offences between 1958 and 1983, but the Crown Prosecution Service said last month that it would not charge him, due to lack of evidence.

Having been cleared of charges, Richard, who maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, has started legal action over the BBC's reporting of the case.

The broadcaster televised a police raid on his house, and Richard said that he thought it was wrong that his name has been made public, before any charges had been brought.

"I confirm that I have instructed my lawyers to make formal legal complaints to South Yorkshire Police and the BBC so that in the absence of satisfactory answers a court will determine whether or not their behavior was justified and proportionate," Richard said in a statement on his website.

"It is important not only for me personally but much more widely. My life was effectively turned upside down and my reputation, worldwide, was unnecessarily damaged."

The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that Richard was seeking more than 1 million pounds ($1.30 million) in damages, adding that he believed the police and the BBC "unlawfully colluded" to invade his privacy.

Fear and Loathing of Jordan Peterson
Suzanne Fields

The BBC declined comment but referred Reuters to a statement last month in which the broadcaster said it was very sorry that Richard had suffered distress, but stood by its decision to report on the police investigation and the search of his house.

South Yorkshire police declined comment.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Adrian Croft)