Trial begins for Cliff Richard's lawsuit against BBC

Lawyers for Sir Cliff Richard have told the High Court in London the BBC's coverage of a police raid on his home has affected almost every aspect of his life.

Sir Cliff is suing the news corporation for violating his privacy in a trial that began at on Thursday (local time), ITV News reports.

His lawyers argue the coverage was a "flagrant" breach of his rights and he should receive "very substantial" compensation for it.

In 2014 South Yorkshire Police conducted a search of Sir Cliff's apartment in Berkshire in relation to an alleged historical sex offence.

A man had told the Metropolitan Police Sir Cliff had sexually assaulted him as a child at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane football stadium in 1985.

During the raid the BBC employed the use of a helicopter and TV cameras to look inside Sir Cliff's home, which lawyer Justin Rushbrooke QC says was "highly intrusive".

"What we are talking about is using TV cameras to spy into someone's home at the time when their target is in the most vulnerable position imaginable and then serve it up to the British public as the most sensational story imaginable," he said in a written statement.

Sir Cliff strongly denies the accusation and in June 2016 prosecutors announced he would not be facing any charges relating to the incident.

Sir Cliff now claims he suffered "profound and long-lasting damage" from the coverage and BBC editors say they will "defend ourselves vigorously" from the claims.

Originally Sir Cliff had sued both South Yorkshire Police and the BBC, the police settling their claim for £400,000 (NZ$771,600).


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