Judge to analyse next stage of Sir Cliff Richard’s privacy fight with BBC

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A High Court judge is preparing to analyse the latest stage of a damages fight between Sir Cliff Richard and the BBC.

Sir Cliff sued over BBC coverage of a South Yorkshire Police raid on his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014, following a child sex assault allegation.

Earlier this month Mr Justice Mann ruled in Sir Cliff’s favour following a High Court trial in London.

The judge concluded that coverage was a “very serious” privacy invasion and awarded the 77-year-old singer £210,000 damages.

He said the award would be made up of £190,000 to cover the “general effect” coverage had on Sir Cliff’s life – plus £20,000 because the BBC had aggravated harm by nominating coverage for an award.

Mr Justice Mann is scheduled to oversee a follow-up hearing in London on Thursday.

The judge has yet to decide how badly Sir Cliff was left out of pocket.

Sir Cliff had told him that plans for “professional work” had been “seriously disrupted” and he said he had been left “in effect in creative limbo” for two years as a result of the BBC’s coverage.

Lawyers say the amount the judge awards to compensate for financial loss could be much more than £210,000.

Mr Justice Mann heard that, in late 2013, a man made an allegation to the Metropolitan Police, saying he had been sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff during an event featuring evangelist Billy Graham at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane football stadium in 1985, when he was a child.

Metropolitan Police officers passed the allegation to South Yorkshire Police in July 2014.

Sir Cliff denied the allegation.

He was never arrested and in June 2016 prosecutors announced he would face no charges.

BBC bosses had disputed Sir Cliff’s allegations and say they are considering an appeal.

Corporation lawyers would first have to get permission to appeal by showing they have a realistic chance of overturning Mr Justice Mann’s ruling.

Either Mr Justice Mann or a Court of Appeal judge could give that permission.

A report on BBC Radio 4 said lawyers representing the BBC would ask Mr Justice Mann for permission to appeal at Thursday’s hearing.

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