British rock icon Sir Cliff Richard wins UK High Court privacy case

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London's High Court ruled the BBC had breached the 77-year-old's privacy when it broadcast a raid on his property in Berkshire, south-west of the capital, in August 2014.

The BBC said journalists acted in good faith and it is considering an appeal.

Mr Jordan said the BBC will look in depth at the 200-page judgement before deciding on whether or not to appeal.

She noted "there may well be cases where the publication of a name enables other victims to come forward and therefore, to strengthen the case against an individual".

This was based on the fact that he did not believe the police volunteered information about the raid to the BBC, but that the police were "manoeuvered into providing it from a fear and implicit threat that the BBC would or might publish news of the investigation before the police were ready to conduct their search".

Alleged incident Billy Graham at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground in 1985
Alleged incident Billy Graham at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground in 1985

After the BBC got wind of the investigation, the police cut a deal with the broadcaster in a bid to delay them breaking the story.

The judge was highly critical of the BBC's reporting, ...

The BBC's live coverage, including a helicopter, was picked up around the world, but the singer was never arrested or charged and was told in 2016 there was insufficient evidence against him.

The judge awarded Sir Cliff £190,000 to cover the "general effect" on his life plus £20,000 because the BBC had aggravated the damage by nominating the story for an award.

Richard described the outcome as "wonderful news", but what does it mean for media reporting?


The police force has already agreed to pay Richard £400,000 after settling a claim.

"I have rejected the BBC's case that it was justified in reporting as it did under its rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press", he said.

Today's judgement is very significant.

Sir Cliff said coverage, which involved the use of a helicopter, was a "very serious invasion" of his privacy, and he said he wanted damages at the "top end" of the scale.

Police investigations, raids and officer conduct could go unscrutinised as a result, she said.


He said his client had offered to settle earlier with the BBC for "reasonable" damages and an apology, but the BBC had been "defiant".

He said that in the years leading up to August 2014 he had worked regularly, released a new album every 18 months or so and usually played a number of concerts, but he been left "in effect in creative limbo" for two years.

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: "The ruling to make it unlawful that anyone under investigation can be named is a major step and one that has worrying consequences for press freedom and the public's right to know".


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