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Cliff Richard launches campaign calling for anonymity for sexual offence suspects

Police raided Richard’s home in 2014 during an investigation into a sexual assault claim.

Cliff Richard speaking at the launch of the campaign in London.
Cliff Richard speaking at the launch of the campaign in London.
Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images

POP STAR CLIFF Richard has joined a group of campaigners calling for a change in the law which would give anonymity to those who are accused of sexual offences until they are charged.

Richard’s support for Falsely Accused Individuals for Reform (FAIR) comes after a false allegation against him led to the BBC broadcasting a police raid on his home in August 2014. He was never arrested or charged. 

FAIR is now calling for a “re-balancing of the legal system” in the UK. 

Richard took legal action last year against the BBC over its coverage of the South Yorkshire Police raid on his home in Berkshire following a child sex assault allegation.

The UK High Court awarded him £210,000 (€235,000) damages to be paid by both the BBC and the South Yorkshire Police.

Richard said being falsely accused and having it exposed in the media was “the worst thing that has happened to me in my entire life”.

“Even though untrue, the stigma is almost impossible to eradicate. Hence the importance of FAIR’s campaign to change the law to provide for anonymity before charge in sexual allegations and hence my continued work with FAIR in the future. 

“Had this proposed change in the law been enacted when the police decided to raid my apartment following the allegations of a fantasist, the BBC would not have been able to film this event, name me, (even though the South Yorkshire Police had decided not to) and so plunge my life and those close to me into fear and misery,” Richard said.

The petition has amassed over 6,000 signatures since going live. 

If it reaches 10,000 signatures, it will get a government response. At 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in Parliament. 

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Adam Daly

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