“My life took a 180 degree turn and my worldwide reputation was unnecessarily damaged. I would not want that to happen to other people, whether they are in the public eye or not.”
These are the words of the British singer Cliff Richard, the protagonist of a police investigation launched in 2014 into allegations of sexual assault in the past, which was witnessed by the BBC cameras.
His case was just dismissed for lack of evidence, so Cliff you will not have to face criminal proceedingsauthorities confirmed last month.
The singer instructed the lawyers to file a lawsuit against the South Yorkshire Police (UK) and the BBC for carrying out a police raid, with cameras, on his own home.
The investigation linked him to a sexual assault on a 16-year-old teenager recorded in 1985. The singer was questioned about it in 2015.
“In the absence of satisfactory answers, a court will determine whether or not their behavior was justified and whether it was proportionate“said the veteran pop star, who is now 75 years old.
“Questions for answer“
A helicopter and BBC television cameras witnessed a police search of Cliff Richard’s attic in Berkshire, south-east England, in August 2014.
That same year a parliamentary commission said that the BBC had acted “correctly”.
But in 2015 an independent investigation concluded that South Yorskshire Police should not have disclosed “highly confidential” information to the BBC about the police inspection.
The police forces apologized “sincerely” for the “additional anxiety caused” to Cliff due to the “initial handling of media interest” in his investigation.
Cliff was neither arrested nor charged.
And last month the Crown Prosecutor’s Office (CPS) dismissed the case.
The BBC said it was “very sorry” for Cliff’s “distress” over his coverage of the police record but added that “upholds the decision to report the investigation carried out by the police and on the inspection of his property. “
In a statement posted on Facebook this Sunday, Cliff said that “although the police needed to properly investigate the allegations against him, there are Questions to be answered for both the police and the BBC on the initial handling of the matter “.
“I decided not to comment during the course of the investigation for obvious reasons but, having undergone this experience, I firmly believe that privacy should be respected and that the police directives are there to be followed, “added Cliff.
“That means, Except in exceptional circumstances, people should nevern be named, unless they have been formally charged. And everyone agrees that there were no such ‘exceptional circumstances’ in my case, “the singer concluded.
The BBC and the South Yorkshire Police reserve comment.
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Why will British pop legend Cliff Richard sue the BBC?