Police raid criticised by QC

Sir Cliff Richard. 'Yui Mok/PA Wire
Sir Cliff Richard. 'Yui Mok/PA Wire

The South Yorkshire Police raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s penthouse apartment may have been ‘illegal’ and could wreck any case against him, a senior lawyer has claimed.

Human Rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC said the case against the 73-year-old could be struck out if it ever came to court.

Mr Robertson said: “The police cannot raid your home on a hunch.

“They must make a solemn application to a court, identifying the material they are looking for and swearing that it will be of ‘substantial value’ – in this case to supporting a complaint about an assault 30 years ago.

“They must explain why they were unable to contact Cliff Richard or his lawyers or agents.

“Most significantly they should have told the court about their deal with the BBC, because that was a significant matter that would disincline any magistrate from granting the search warrant.

“Before they blasted Cliff Richard’s reputation throughout the world, they should have given him the opportunity to refute the allegation.

“The importance of police following the rules is that if they do not, any evidence they obtain may be ruled inadmissible and their case would collapse.”

South Yorkshire Police said they gave the BBC details of the search after a reporter contacted them and said they were going to run a story about the star being investigated.

Meanwhile Sir Cliff has announced he has pulled out of a concert at Canterbury Cathedral next month because of fears it would be ‘overshadowed’ by the allegation he sexually assaulted a schoolboy at a Christian rally in Sheffield in 1985, a claim he strenuously denies.

His spokesman said: “Sir Cliff was due to perform on September 26 at a charitable event in Canterbury Cathedral but doesn’t want the event to be overshadowed by the false allegation and has therefore withdrawn. He is sorry for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.”