Cliffgate: Sir Cliff Richard, the police and a trial by media

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CLIFF RICHARD: Considering legal action for ‘gross intrusion’.

THERE’s no denying he has that ‘Marmite’ effect, you either love him or loathe him. Yes, I’m referring to Sir Cliff Richard who’s in the news again, alleging “illegal collusion” in the police raid on his home and considering legal action for the “gross intrusion” into his privacy. This saw him named – and “hung out like live bait” – as part of a criminal investigation which has now been closed.

There’s no denying, either, the shambolic “investigation” by South Yorkshire Police: the televised raid, the BBC “deal” and the grandstanding, all without the singer’s knowledge. Then they virtually sat back and waited for people to roll up and have a go at this celebrity. With the prospect of compensation for ‘victims,’ did they expect no takers? By now, people surely know anyone can make a claim of “historic abuse.”

And as for the CPS: is it acceptable to leave a permanent cloud of suspicion over someone with its “insufficient evidence” statement? How about: “We have rigorously reviewed the case and there will be no prosecution?”

The real issue here, though, is the anonymity of any person under investigation until a formal decision has been made to prosecute, which should only be made if the CPS consider there is sufficient evidence to proceed. And “investigating” should always mean establishing the facts, then assessing whether they warrant a reasonable likelihood of conviction. 

Until the investigation has been completed, the person under investigation is, legally speaking, wholly innocent of any offence. 

This cornerstone of the British legal system has been systematically undermined by both the police and the media. Those in the public eye immediately become fair game for anyone to slag off, regardless of whether there is any substance that might ultimately lead to a prosecution. Anonymity for both parties is the only answer.    

Whether you’re for or against Cliff, if he’s guilty of anything, surely it’s crimes against music! Even Costa Coffee refused to play his Christmas song Mistletoe and Wine. And he’s responsible for Congratulations: I rest my case.

Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/e-book (€0.89;£0.79) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.

9 COMMENTS

  1. A disgusting uncalled for remark about this man’s music has ruined a good article. For your information Sir Cliff Richard has had over 130 hit singles and well over 60 hit albums in his 58 year career. He has sold more than 250m records in his career, over 21m singles in Britain alone. Sir Cliff has had more hit singles than the beatles and the rolling stones combined. Your obvious hatred of this man should not blind you to the facts. Your opinion of the man is not required.

  2. No accused rapist should be named before conviction either and the defendant should be named and shamed if the verdict is innocent. No Cliff shouldn’t have been named either but please allow a columnist to express what is their view on music as freedom of speech is a given in a democratic country and if you don’t like it don’t read it!!

  3. Well said Teejay!
    The way this whole farce has unfolded is in direct conflict with British Law, and I would not blame Sir Cliff if he started taking legal action against the Yorkshire Police and the BBC!
    People will jump at the chance of making a bit of free cash these days, and it is obvious that the parasites that are accusing Cliff are just such people.

  4. Of course the worst thing is they don’t say innocent !!! Crown Prosecution Just say they do not have enough evidence to gain a conviction ???
    The thing I do find strange though is if Names of accusers is kept secret.. How did Cliff know that one of one of his accusers had tried to Blackmail him before & that another had ( I think Cliff said ) a conviction for Rape.. So by that statement he knew two of his accusers is that common practice ???

  5. There is no evidence that Sir Cliff has met any of his accusers. The press would however have found out details from the police. By law the names of the accusers can not be made public, but that does not mean the press have not been given certain pieces of information. The press have said one accuser has multiple rape convictions. Sir Cliff did not say that. The press have also reported that one accuser accused Sir Cliff assaulted him whilst wearing roller skates in a shop full of people, and another accuser made a blackmail attempt for which he was not charged, and then when he was not paid he took an allegation to the police. The disgrace here is that the police believed any of it.

  6. Well if I had nothing to hide I certainly would sue them if I were Cliff.. He is in Lucky Position to have the money to do it.. Just incase he lost in Court.. Because he can say goodbye to a Million Plus taking on Police & BBC .. They will string it out forever as ultimately Tax Payer will pay their costs. Look at some of Hospital Cases.. They been settled 10 years after the Complaint !! & Solicitors & Baraster walk away Richer whatever Happens

  7. He cannot do anything. If he goes to court the facts – such as they are – will be revealed, and the few people who do not already know the allegations will have their eyes opened.

  8. Name the accusers now…. They will run as they feel what they have made Cliff to feel. The difference is they are guilty. How long will this last now? The CPS should sometimes be trusted.

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