Dispute over BBC coverage of police raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home set for trial

A High Court judge is preparing to analyse evidence in a legal battle between Sir Cliff Richard and the BBC.

The 77-year-old singer has sued the BBC over coverage of a police raid at his apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014 following an allegation of sex assault.

Sir Cliff, who denied wrongdoing and was not charged with any offence, says he suffered “profound and long-lasting damage” as a result of coverage and wants damages.

BBC editors have said they will “defend ourselves vigorously”.

Mr Justice Mann is on Thursday due to begin overseeing a trial at the High Court in London.

Detail of the case has emerged at preliminary hearings.

Lawyers have told how in late 2013 a man made an allegation to the Metropolitan Police, saying he had been sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane football stadium in Sheffield when a child in 1985.

Metropolitan Police officers passed the allegation to South Yorkshire Police in July 2014.

Sir Cliff denied the allegation and in June 2016 prosecutors announced that he would face no charges.

A BBC spokesman has said the BBC reported Sir Cliff‘s “full denial of the allegations at every stage”.

Sir Cliff also sued South Yorkshire Police but Mr Justice Mann has been told how that dispute was settled after the force agreed to pay the singer “substantial” damages.