Sir Cliff Richard’s treatment by South Yorkshire Police and the BBC was nothing short of scandalous and I sincerely hope that he is successful in his court action against them.
Firstly, it is a violation of a person’s right to privacy and his/her right to be acknowledged as ‘innocent until proven guilty’ when accusations and allegations of sex offences are made public and the identity of the person is made public.
In cases of sex abuse allegations such as this, mud sticks. If a person had been murdered and Cliff had been publicly named and accused (wrongly), that would have been morally inappropriate (and distressing – remember Christopher Jefferies, who was a schoolmaster at my alma mater, Clifton College, publicly alleged to have killed Joanna Yeates but, in the end, released by the police without charge?) but the identification of the actual killer would have pretty well restored/repaired Sir Cliff’s reputation. However, in cases like the one in which Cliff was embroiled, he is either charged or, as did happen, he is not charged because of ‘insufficient evidence’ – what does that mean, that there was some evidence but not enough or that there was no evidence??…very vague and leaves a lot of people thinking, “Hmmmm…I wonder…no smoke without fire…” – the problem is that no one will be found to step into Sir Cliff’s shoes, the police and the BBC won’t be saying that they have found the person who did it, the allegations and accusations were made and they cannot be fully eradicated, Cliff cannot be returned to the position he was in before the allegations were made, before the BBC called the kangaroo court of public opinion to order.
South Yorkshire Police has ‘apologised’ for the ‘distress and anxiety’ it caused to Sir Cliff – NOT GOOD ENOUGH!! South Yorkshire Police is going to have to eat so much humble pie that are vomiting for years to come! I hope that it costs them a huge amount of money, which, unfortunately, comes out of the tax payers’ pockets (and/or is paid by an insurance company which result in higher premiums for the ‘cover’) – what should happen is that those at South Yorkshire Police who gave the instructions to violate Cliff’s privacy, who ‘tipped off’ the BBC about the raid on Cliff’s apartment, the High Court should order that they pay – from their own pockets – towards the damages awarded.
According to the BBC News website, ‘A BBC spokeswoman said: “We’ve said previously we are very sorry that Sir Cliff has suffered distress but we have a duty to report on matters of public interest and we stand by our journalism”’ – so, quite clearly, the BBC is not sorry at all!!
What a load of ****!! ‘Duty to report on matters of public interest’?%$#@! There is NO ‘public interest’ until such time as guilt is established! Again, the BBC executives who gave the instruction to the BBC journalists to violate Cliff’s privacy, they should be forced by the High Court to pay towards the damages awarded.
This disgraceful, shameful affair shines a spotlight on the BBC’s unscrupulous, tawdry journalism, journalism which is unacceptable from any source but it is particularly unacceptable when it comes from the BBC.
As for South Yorkshire Police, this whole affair brings not only that Police Force but the whole of Britain’s Police Force into disrepute and I can only assume that South Yorkshire Police Force has taken a lot of stick from other Forces around the country.
I wish Sir Cliff well in his endeavours and I hope that lessons have been learnt by this shameful episode.