Editor of the BBC defends Sir Cliff report


The BBC may be criticism had not reported it, Sir Cliff Richard, was examined by the police, a senior editor told the High Court.

Gary Smith said that the singer’s fame meant the BBC could have been accused of not reporting a matter of public interest.

He said the inquiries had reported in, Jimmy Tarbuck, Max Clifford and Rolf Harris, without a legal complaint.

Sir Cliff is suing the BBC for naming him and broadcasting helicopter footage of the police search in his flat in 2014.

He was not arrested or charged.
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Mr Smith, who said of the BBC’s UK news editor at the time: “Sir Cliff Richard would have been the biggest household name is under investigation.

“I say this in the sense that he was and is a high profile public figure whose public status was about his success as an artist.

“He was known for his charity work and was” part of the establishment ” in many ways.”
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In a written statement before the court on Monday, Mr Smith, who is now the BBC’s head of news and current affairs in Scotland, said to have been a consideration, whether or not it been right to withhold information.

“This discussion took place against the background of (the) story of the Jimmy Savile allegations and knowledge within institutions, which have not been made public,” he said.

“An important factor in the editors’ discussions about the naming of persons, the goods, the subject of the police investigation, the topic of the media not reporting information they knew to be correct.”

Mr Smith said the editors had thought to name it correct, Sir Cliff because the BBC was confident that he knew who the Person was under investigation.


He called himself DJ Paul Gambaccini, comedian Jimmy Tarbuck, TV presenter, Rolf Harris and the late publicist Max Clifford as examples of the celebrities, the before the examination, that the BBC had reported that without a legal complaint.

Mr Tarbuck and Mr Gambaccini was arrested, but not charged, while Harris and Clifford sentenced were accused of sexual offences, he said.Private Communication

The court also heard the BBC sent a Reporter to Portugal and Barbados, – where Sir Cliff houses – in front of the police to search the singer’s home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.

Mr Smith denied the journalists were sent to the “front door” of the singer.

“If there is the possibility of an interview, we would have needed to do in the appropriate place, it, which is why we used the people there,” he said.

Mr Smith said there was no question where they have tried to, Sir Cliff’s consent to run the story.

“The media, the public interest, the reporting is often with the public, something to say, what a public figure would prefer to listen to the public,” he said.
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Mr Smith also denied a “exclusive” was his “fundamental dispute” and said he regretted sending you an E-Mail to a colleague in which he cited texts from Sir Cliff’s hit song congratulations.

After he told a BBC reporter had received a tip that police were investigating the singer, Mr Smith wrote: “Congratulations and jubilations, I want to know the world, I’m happy as can be.”

Mr Smith told the court it was a private communication that was not intended for publication.

The helicopter was the Material broadcast in the year 2014 as part of a report from the BBC, the police of South Yorkshire’s sexual assault investigation of the singer.

The singer claims he suffered “profound and long-lasting damage” from the cover. He sued the BBC over the abuse of private data and break the rules of data protection laws.

The BBC disputes his allegations. The BBC says the report on the police investigation, it was in the interest of the public.

Lawyers for the company say that the coverage respects correct and in good faith, and the journalists had, Sir Cliff ‘ s “presumption of innocence”.

The allegation against Sir Cliff was at the end of 2013, and went to the police of South Yorkshire, the Metropolitan Police in July 2014.

The man claims that Sir Cliff attacked him during an event at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane football stadium.

Sir Cliff has denied the allegation and in June 2016, it was announced that he would not charge from any.