The BBC will reportedly not appeal against the Sir Cliff Richard privacy ruling over fears it would be slammed for the £2million cost to taxpayers if it were to lose, according to a new report. Already the broadcaster is facing a massive bill, agreeing to cover £850,000 in legal costs to the singer, in addition to £190,000 in damages, on top of its own legal fees.
Last month, a High Court judge ruled the corporation breached the 77-year-old’s right to privacy after broadcasting police searching his £3million home in Sunningdale, Berkshire. A judge shot down the BBC’s appeal bid last Thursday and the company is reluctant to appeal again, fearing the wrath of taxpayers, according to the Telegraph. Last month, a High Court judge ruled the BBC breached Sir Cliff Richard’s right to privacy after broadcasting police searching his £3million home in Sunningdale, Berkshire The BBC will reportedly not appeal against the privacy ruling over fears it would be slammed for the cost to taxpayers if it were to lose The spiralling costs of the BBC’s legal battle with Sir Cliff The costs of the case for the BBC are mounting by the day. – They have been ordered to pay the star £190,000 to cover the ‘general effect’ of the coverage. – Plus £20,000 because the BBC had aggravated harm by nominating coverage for an award. – The BBC has also agreed to pay £850,000 towards Sir Cliff’s legal costs, a figure which could rise. – The corporation is also going to pay £315,000 to South Yorkshire Police for legal costs. – The costs don’t include the amount the BBC has paid for its own QC, and any costs of continuing to appeal.
The broadcaster was given until August 17 to decide if it will continue on with another appeal. However, it reportedly decided not to move forward after seeking independent legal advice. Another appeal bid is estimated to cost a further £200,000. A spokesman for the BBC told the Telegraph: ‘We are still deciding whether to appeal or not.’ Sir Cliff’s lawyer Justin Rushbrooke QC, said the BBC shouldn’t appeal, adding: ‘It is about time the BBC took a realistic view of these facts. ‘The last thing my client wants is more time and money spent dealing with this.’ The BBC’s bill for the case already tops £1.8million, taking into account the £20,000 ‘aggravated damages’ they were ordered to pay for nominating the coverage for a ‘scoop of the year’ award. Last month, lawyers representing the BBC said the case had widespread implications and should be examined by three senior judges. Barrister Gavin Millar QC, who leads the BBC legal team, said the damages award was ‘wrong in law’ and would have a ‘chilling effect’. He added: ‘The risk is a severe chilling effect on the freedom of the press in relation to reporting police investigations.’ The police raid, which emerged after an exclusive tip off by officers and led to a TV helicopter being flown in, was part of a 2014 investigation into historical child sex allegations – but Sir Cliff was not arrested or charged.
The police raid, which emerged after an exclusive tip off by officers and led to a TV helicopter being flown in, was part of a 2014 investigation into historical child sex allegations – but Sir Cliff was not arrested or charged. Pictured: BBC coverage of Cliff Richard house raid Sir Cliff has suggested that senior BBC executives deserved to lose their jobs for putting him through ‘the most horrible thing that’s ever taken place in my life’. After winning a landmark court battle over the broadcaster’s coverage of a police raid on his home, the singer said a handful of BBC managers had acted as his ‘judge, jury and executioner’. Sir Cliff wept with relief after a judge ruled that the BBC had seriously infringed his privacy with its ‘sensationalist’ reporting of a historic child sex claim against him. The broadcaster named the 77-year-old star as the subject of a police investigation – which was dropped two years later without Sir Cliff ever facing arrest or charge – and used a helicopter to cover the search of his home. The BBC claimed it represented a ‘significant shift against Press freedom’, while experts suggested that it could enable criminal suspects to block disclosure of their arrests.
From mansion raid to High Court: Timeline of the case March 2014: South Yorkshire Police (SYP) receive an allegation against Sir Cliff Richard from Operation Yewtree – a Metropolitan Police investigation into historical sex offences in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. The complainant alleges he was molested by Sir Cliff during an event led by US preacher Billy Graham at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground in the 1980s.
June 2014: BBC reporter Dan Johnson receives a tip from a confidential source about Sir Cliff being investigated by police. The tip leads him to believe South Yorkshire Police is the force involved in the investigation.
9 July 2014: Dan Johnson has a conversation over the phone with SYP’s head of communications Carrie Goodwin. Towards the end of the conversation, he asks her if Sir Cliff is ‘on their radar’.
15 July 2014: Dan Johnson meets at police headquarters with Carrie Goodwin and Superintendent Matthew Fenwick, who is leading the investigation into Sir Cliff.
13 August 2014: Dan Johnson is notified that police will carry out a search of Sir Cliff’s home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, the following day.
14 August 2014: Police officers carry out a search of the singer’s home. The BBC broadcasts from the scene, using a helicopter to obtain footage of the search being conducted in the penthouse apartment. Sir Cliff sees the footage from a hotel in Portugal where he is on holiday.
September 2014: Sir Cliff withdraws from a fundraising concert at Canterbury Cathedral which was due to be broadcast by the BBC. June 2016: The Crown Prosecution Service announces its decision not to bring any charges against Sir Cliff.
July 2016: Sir Cliff instructs lawyers to seek damages from the BBC and South Yorkshire Police over their handling of the police raid.
May 2017: The singer accepts £400,000 damages from South Yorkshire Police. The force offers its ‘sincere apologies’ to Sir Cliff.
April/May 2017: Sir Cliff’s case against the BBC is heard by Mr Justice Mann in London.