On the last day of the trial in the case of Sir Cliff Richard v BBC, Mr Justice Mann heard the final closing submissions from the BBC’s Counsel, Gavin Millar QC. Judgment was reserved and will be handed down at a later date.
In closing submissions, Mr Millar argued that Sir Cliff Richard had to accept “some reduction in his private life” because of the way he has made use of his fame. He said that the singer used his status to opine on religious and moral issues, said Gavin Millar QC on behalf of the BBC.
“This is not a criticism of Sir Cliff. He is not just someone who has had fame. He has used that status to give his opinions on moral and religious issues in interviews. So he must accept some reduction in his private life.“
Mr Millar said that if South Yorkshire Police had not disclosed the information the BBC “would not have broadcast the story“. BBC reporter Dan Johnson was given the details of the raid by South Yorkshire Police, which claimed in court that its hand was forced by him, but the BBC denies that was the case.
Mr Millar told the court: “This is such an important case for the right to report and (if the BBC lost it) would have very serious consequences for journalists reporting these kinds of things in the future.”
The BBC also defended its use of a helicopter during coverage of a police raid on Sir Cliff’s home.
Shots were taken from the air to illustrate the story, and the footage broadcast showed what police were doing, Mr Millar said.
The footage was used sparingly and nothing “private” was broadcast.
“Officers were shown walking in and out. It was not directed at (Sir Cliff’s) home but directed at what the police officers were doing. They didn’t show anything private in the sense of his private life.”
The trial has now concluded..