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September 4, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:17am

BBC settles Sir Cliff Richard legal bill at £2m after High Court privacy defeat

By James Walker

The BBC has paid out a total of £2m in legal costs to singer Sir Cliff Richard over a High Court privacy case which it lost last year.

Sir Cliff was awarded £210,000 in damages in July last year over the BBC’s coverage of a police raid on his Berkshire home in August 2014.

The corporation decided not to appeal the ruling and later agreed to pay a further £850,000 towards the the singer’s legal costs.

Separately the BBC also paid £315,000 in legal costs to South Yorkshire Police, who carried out the raid on Sir Cliff’s home while investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse made against the popstar.

Sir Cliff, 78, always denied the claims and was never charged.

The BBC said it had reached an “amicable settlement” over Sir Cliff’s legal costs. A spokesperson added: “The BBC’s costs are within the scope of our legal insurance. This brings the legal process to its conclusion.”

A spokesperson for Sir Cliff said the star was “glad that an agreement about costs has now been reached”.

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But, they added: “Sir Cliff is substantially out of pocket (a seven figure sum), not least because there are costs that he has not sought to recover from the parties.”

At the end of the two-month High Court privacy trial, Mr Justice Mann ruled that the BBC had infringed Sir Cliff’s privacy rights without legal justification.

He also dismissed the BBC’s argument that it was justified in reporting the raid under rights to free expression and freedom of the press.

BBC News director Fran Unsworth said the ruling marked a “dramatic shift against press freedom”.

Sir Cliff is campaigning for those facing sexual offence accusations to be given anonymity until charged.

Picture: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire

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