Sir Cliff Richard has announced he is taking legal action against the BBC for live broadcasting a police raid on his home in August 2014.
Richard has instructed his lawyers to make “formal legal complaints” to the UK broadcaster and South Yorkshire Police, which carried out the raid as part of a now dropped investigation into historic sexual abuse allegations against the British pop singer.
The Mail on Sunday first reported news of Richard’s decision to sue and revealed that the 75-year-old is seeking £1 million ($1.3m) in damages.
“It is clear to me that questions need to be answered by both the police and the BBC about their initial handling of my matter, which has rightly been condemned from so many quarters,” Richard said on Facebook. (You can read the post in full below.)
“I firmly believe that privacy should be respected and that police guidelines are there to be followed. That means that save in exceptional circumstances people should never be named unless and until they are charged.”
The Home Affairs Committee conducted an inquiry into how the BBC was able to broadcast the raid in autumn 2014. It found that the South Yorkshire Police “freely provided” information about the raid to BBC reporter Dan Johnson, who was then able to report on the event live.
In a report on the matter in October 2014, the influential group of MPs said: “Given that the BBC had information about the investigation and the timing and location of the execution of the search warrant, which was freely provided to them by South Yorkshire Police, we see nothing wrong in their decision to run the story.”
The Crown Prosecution Service announced in June that it would bring no charges against Richard following a two-year investigation, citing “insufficient evidence.”
The BBC and South Yorkshire Police have declined to comment to numerous news outlets when contacted about Richard’s decision to take legal action.
Cliff Richard’s Facebook post announcing he is taking legal action against the BBC and the police: