Artist News Legal Media

BBC hits out at Cliff Richard’s legal spend on police raid privacy case

By | Published on Friday 5 May 2017

Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard has been needlessly throwing big wads of cash at a money pit of lawyers for nearly three years now, claims the BBC, which is bothering itself over the fact it might be left saddling the bill for the popstar’s costly cackle of attorneys.

As previously reported, Richard is suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police over the former’s coverage of the latter’s investigation into claims of sexual abuse that were made against the singer in 2014. The star objected in particular to the broadcaster’s filming of a police raid on one of his properties in Berkshire.

No charges were made in relation to the allegations of historical sexual assault, with the Crown Prosecution Service dropping the case because of insufficient evidence. Meanwhile Richard went legal claiming that the BBC’s coverage of the case, facilitated by South Yorkshire Police, breached his privacy rights and, in doing so, inflicted “profound and long-lasting” damage on the singer’s reputation.

The case is ongoing, with the BBC denying any wrongdoing. If the broadcaster loses the case it will likely have to pay the singer both damages and legal costs. But, said legal reps for the Beeb in a preliminary hearing in the High Court this week, those legal costs are running out of control, with the singer having already spent £525,437 on the civil case, in addition to £369,414 spent on solicitors who dealt with the legalities around the police raid.

The BBC’s lawyers argue that those costs are “disproportionate” for a case of this kind. Gavin Millar QC, acting for the BBC, said in a written submission to the judge overseeing the legal battle: “Though not without its legal complexities, this case cannot have required extensive factual investigations on behalf of the claimant: the broadcasts are in the public domain. On any view … the claimant’s incurred costs to date are grossly unreasonable and disproportionate”.

The judge should record his client’s “strong disapproval” of Richard’s legal spend at this point, Millar added.

Richard was not expected to attend the preliminary hearing. Unless any settlement can be reached, the case will now proceed to a full court hearing.