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