BBC must re­veal if police gave tip-off for Cliff raid

Daily Mail - - Life - By Kather­ine Rush­ton Me­dia and Tech­nol­ogy Ed­i­tor

SIR Cliff Richard has scored a key vic­tory in his bat­tle with the BBC, af­ter a judge or­dered the broad­caster to re­veal in­for­ma­tion about the source of its false sex abuse claims.

The BBC must dis­close whether it was tipped off by some­one linked to the Met Police unit ex­am­in­ing sex abuse al­le­ga­tions – an in­ves­ti­ga­tion co­de­named Op­er­a­tion Yewtree.

The BBC has been fight­ing to keep this in­for­ma­tion se­cret, say­ing that it has a duty to pro­tect its jour­nal­is­tic sources.

How­ever, a judge weighed this up against Sir Cliff’s right to a fair trial, and de­cided that the BBC must give ‘a proper an­swer’.

The or­der is the lat­est salvo in Sir Cliff’s long-run­ning le­gal row with the BBC over the way it re­ported false claims that he was a sex abuser in 2014.

The cor­po­ra­tion broke the story that the 76-year-old singer was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, and – con­tro­ver­sially – had a pha­lanx of jour­nal­ists and a he­li­copter wait­ing for police as they ar­rived to raid his £3 mil­lion home in Sun­ning­dale, Berk­shire.

Sir Cliff is su­ing the cor­pora- tion for ‘very sub­stan­tial’ dam­ages for the de­pres­sion, dis­tress and hu­mil­i­a­tion he suf­fered as a re­sult. He also sued the South York­shire Police, and ac­cepted an undis­closed sum to set­tle that case last week.

As part of his bat­tle with the BBC, Sir Cliff has tried to find out more about how news of the al­le­ga­tions was leaked. He has de­manded that its ed­i­tors dis­close whether the source of in­for­ma­tion was some­one work­ing for Op­er­a­tion Yewtree.

Mr Jus­tice Mann said Sir Cliff’s right to a fair trial out­weighed the risk of the BBC ex­pos­ing its source.

The BBC does not have to name the in­di­vid­ual who gave the tip- off – just whether they were part of Op­er­a­tion Yewtree.

The cor­po­ra­tion said yes­ter­day it was con­sid­er­ing whether to ap­peal the de­ci­sion.

Long-run­ning bat­tle: Sir Cliff Richard

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