A judge ruled last week that the BBC had infringed the singer’s privacy in its reporting of a South Yorkshire Police raid on his home in 2014, and awarded him £210,000 in damages.
Sir Cliff was never arrested or charged as part of the investigation.It comes as the BBC seeks leave to appeal against the High Court ruling.
The BBC has apologised to Sir Cliff for the distress caused, but wants permission to appeal because it argues the judgement could threaten press freedom.The judge’s findings included that Sir Cliff had a right to privacy while he was a suspect in a police investigation – trumping the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression to publish his name and cover the raid.
While the BBC has apologised to Sir Cliff Richard for the distress caused by coverage of the raid on his home, the ruling could have an impact on press freedom, its director of news said.
Barrister Gavin Millar QC, leading the BBC legal team, told a hearing on Thursday that it was “appropriate” for the corporation to pay legal fees incurred by Sir Cliff.
The singer’s lawyer, barrister Justin Rushbrooke QC, did not give an overall figure for how much the case had cost his client, but Sir Cliff told the trial had cost him more than £3m.
The BBC is also going to pay £315,000 to South Yorkshire Police for legal costs
On Thursday, the BBC’s Mr Millar outlined his permission to appeal arguments in a written document and saiodbthere was a “compelling reason” for the case to be heard and that it had a “real prospect” of success.
The BBC’s director of news has said the ruling could have an impact on press freedom.Speaking outside court last week, Fran Unsworth admitted the case had had a “very serious impact” on Sir Cliff, and there were things that could have been done differently.But she stressed on the fact that even if no footage of the search had been broadcast, “the very naming of Sir Cliff would have been unlawful”, according to the judge’s ruling.”This creates a significant shift against press freedom,” Ms Unsworth said.