Cliff Richard: MPs and lawyers criticise televised raid 'which could have breached singer's human rights'

Geoffrey Robertson QC said the raid was "completely unacceptable" and could breach the European Convention of Human Rights

A police force has defended its decision to stage a media-attended raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s house, saying that it decided to work with the press “in order to protect the integrity” of the investigation.

South Yorkshire Police said they were contacted by the BBC with information on the probe prior to searching the 73-year-old singer’s home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.

It led to hovering helicopters filming the search as detectives entered the house on Thursday, despite Sir Cliff being unaware of the developments as he was on holiday in Portugal.

No arrests have been made.

Police defended the decision to allow live footage of the search, saying that the increased attention had led to a number of new witnesses coming forward.

“Since the search took place a number of people have contacted the police to provide information and we must acknowledge that the media played a part in that, for which we are grateful,” South Yorkshire Police said, reports Sky News.

 

In a statement on Thursday, Sir Cliff took appeared to take aim at the force’s decision, saying: “The police attended my apartment in Berkshire today without notice, except it would appear to the press”.

He added: “For many months I have been aware of allegations against me of historic impropriety which have been circulating online.

READ MORE: Sir Cliff Richard profile: A career spanning five decades
The way the police have treated Cliff Richard is unacceptable
Police say publicity led to fresh contacts

“The allegations are completely false. Up until now I have chosen not to dignify the false allegations with a response, as it would just give them more oxygen.”

He also said that he will “fully cooperate” with the police.

The televised raid was also criticised by Conservative MP and Former Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans, who told ITV: “It appears the press knew what was happening before he did and the world’s media were camped outside his doorstep.

“A press helicopter was up before the police even arrived — he is quite right to be angry about that. Questions have got to be answered.”

A convoy of cars leave Sir Cliff's home on Thursday Writing in The Independent, Geoffrey Robertson QC, a human rights barrister, said that Sir Cliff’s treatment had been unacceptable and that it had raised a number of questions surrounding civil liberties.

The police, “aided and abetted by the BBC and a Sheffield lay justice”, he said, had denied Sir Cliff his “most basic right to refute the allegation”.

He added that the behaviour of the police breached article eight of the European Convention of Human Rights – the right to privacy.

The allegations against Sir Cliff relate to a historic claim of sexual assault in Sheffield in 1985, involving a boy who was under 16 at the time.

Sir Cliff vehemently denies the allegations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there