"Won't go anywhere near children": Sir Cliff Richard after winning legal battle against the BBC

Sir Cliff Richard was “choked up” yesterday after winning his privacy case against the BBC over its coverage of a police raid on his home.

                            "Won't go anywhere near children": Sir Cliff Richard after winning legal battle against the BBC
Sir Cliff Richard (Source:Getty Images)

After the harrowing four-year legal battle with the BBC came to an end, Sir Cliff Richard revealed today the destructive impact it has had on him, as he promised to never "won't go anywhere near children" again. 

Referring to the distress caused by the ordeal, Sir Richard said he 'will recover' but it won't be an easy thing to forget. He also said he no longer comes into contact with other people's children for fear of unwarranted consequences. Speaking about which he also said that he no longer comes into contact with other people's children for fear of unwarranted consequences.

The High Court ruled that the BBC had intruded on his privacy by broadcasting a raid of his Berkshire home live on TV immediately after he was linked to a child sex abuse claim. His words of caution came right after the verdict.

The 77-year-old pop star was cleared of all charges and also awarded $273,000 in damages, today. And as the case had been dragged on for so long, the broadcast corporation would be footing bill to the tune of $6.5 million.

According to Justice Mann, the BBC invaded the pop legend's privacy rights in a "serious and sensationalist way" and blatantly maligned his image by boasting it as their "scoop of the year" at later at an awards function.  

He spoke to ITV News immediately after the ruling and said: "I used to use it [a tunnel linking Centre Court and Court One at the Wimbledon tennis tournament] regularly to go and see the matches I was interested in on Court One and it went right past the ball boys dressing room. 

"I won't go there now. I won't go anywhere near children. Why? I've spent my whole life hugging people's grandchildren."

Currently, the corporation is planning to appeal against Justice Mann's judgment. Next week, it would be determined as to who pays the legal costs of the case, which the BBC is opposing.

Fran Unsworth, the BBC Director, is calling the verdict a "dramatic shift against press freedom", saying: "It means police investigations, and searches of people's homes, could go unreported and unscrutinized."

Sir Cliff hugged his friends after the decision was announced and said he was "choked up" while talking to reporters outside London's High Court. "I can't believe it. It's wonderful news," he said.

As he walked out of the court building, his longtime fans gathered outside and "congratulations" for the star.

Later, Sir Cliff spoke exclusively to ITV, saying: "They [senior managers] have to carry the can. I don't know how they are going to do it, but they'll have to. If heads roll then maybe it's because it was deserved...It's too big a decision to be made badly. It was nonsense."

Following a child sex assault allegation, the South Yorkshire Police raided Sir Cliff's house in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014. The BBC broadcasted the entire raid live and berated the star's image, after which the 77-year-old took legal action against the corporation.

In June 2016, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued his case, and he was neither arrested nor charged over the allegations.

Today, Justice Mann ruled: "I find that Sir Cliff had privacy rights in respect of the police investigation and that the BBC infringed those rights without a legal justification."

"It did so in a serious way and also in a somewhat sensationalist way. I have rejected the BBC's case that it was justified in reporting as it did under its rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press," he added.

Mann ruled that Sir Cliff would be awarded $273,000 in damages for the "general effect" BBC's coverage had on his life and said that the singer is even entitled to recover further sums for the financial losses he suffered during the four-year battle. These would be decided at a later date yet to be announced.

Justice Mann further said that $26,000 of the said damages were because the BBC nominated the story for a 'Scoop of the Year' award at the Royal Television Society Awards, thus aggravating the already sensitive case.

Sir Cliff Richard previously claimed that he spent $4.4 million clearing his tainted name. He was reportedly seeking more than $780,000 from the corporation, constituting $361,000 in legal costs and $140,000 for PR losses.

On the other hand, the cost to the corporation could exceed $1.3 million, considering it will have its own massive legal bill for the high profile case which ran for over four years.

The sum of $273,000 is said to be one of the highest awards for damages in a UK Privacy case.

In 2008, Max Mosley won $78,000 in damages after the News of the World accused him of taking part in a "sick Nazi orgy" in one of the most high-profile cases in UK legal history.

Previously, the damages awarded to victims of phone hacking have been said to run into "six figures" by lawyers, although the exact amount in those cases remained private.