13 Sep PRIVACY – BBC AGREES TO PAY SIR CLIFF £2M IN LEGAL COSTS
The BBC has settled Sir Cliff Richard’s legal costs bill in his privacy claim against the corporation for around £2m.
The sum is in addition to the £210,000 in damages he won following a High Court trial in July 2018, and the £315,000 in costs the BBC paid to South Yorkshire Police.
The corporation has not disclosed the extent of its own legal costs.
The South Yorkshire Police raided the singer’s Berkshire home in August 2014 in the course of an investigation into an allegation made by a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff in 1985.
The singer consistently denied the claims, was never arrested or charged, and the case was ultimately dropped.
However, the broadcaster filmed the raid and showed footage taken from a helicopter, including aerial shots in which the inside of Sir Cliff’s home could be seen, on news bulletins throughout the day.
The star’s representative said: “Sir Cliff incurred these costs over a five-year period as a direct result of the actions of the BBC and South Yorkshire Police.
“He is of course glad that an agreement about costs has now been reached. Ultimately, however, Sir Cliff is substantially out of pocket (a seven figure sum), not least because there are costs that he has not sought to recover from the parties.”
The BBC said it was “pleased” to have reached “an amicable settlement” and “The BBC’s costs are within the scope of our legal insurance.”
The ruling in Sir Cliff’s favour saw the judge conclude that, as a matter of principle, a suspect has a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to a police investigation and that was not outweighed by the BBC’s freedom of expression rights in this case.
There has been media criticism of the case as threatening press freedom.
Although it reflected the general direction of travel of the law in this area, the judge’s decision has made the media wary of reporting Police investigations and arrests and has shifted the balance of reporting in favour of suspects’ privacy.
The result has been that the justification for identifying the subject of a police investigation will usually need to be considered carefully before they are named.