Privacy: a case note
- By Paul Sullivan
The High Court in London recently gave judgement in favour of Sir Cliff Richard against the BBC for breaches of his right to privacy.
In July 2014, the Police shared certain material with the BBC of foot of an implied threat that if it did not do information, which may have prejudiced their investigations, would be published regardless. Pre-trial, the Police had admitted their liability and agreed to pay damages. The BBC, however, contested the case.
The Court found that ‘…Sir Cliff had privacy rights in respect of the police investigation and that the BBC infringed those rights without a legal justification. It did so in a serious way and also in a somewhat sensationalist way.’ It was therefore unnecessary to make a determination on the data protection point.
The Court awarded general damages of £190,000 with 35% to be paid by the Police and remainder by the BBC. In addition, aggravated damages of £20,000 were awarded against the BBC on foot of their nomination of the coverage for the Royal Television Society’s ‘Scoop of the Year Award’.
This BBC is reported to be considering an appeal.
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