Cliff Richard sex abuse allegations: No one could possibly call this justice

Monday 29 June 2015

How much longer is Sir Cliff Richard going to be left twisting in the wind?

It was last summer that his UK home was dramatically raided by swarms of police investigating allegations of historical sex abuse, the whole operation televised live as part of an exclusive deal with BBC News.

Pretty much the model of a smear campaign.

The days are drawing in again yet still Cliff, 74, is in legal limbo.

He hasn’t been arrested, charged, or even cautioned.

This week police told one of his accusers that they will not continue with the case as there is apparently not enough evidence of any wrongdoing.

What is going on?

The principal allegation comes from a man who says that as a youth he was abused by the singer during a Christian rally at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane football stadium in 1985.

So presumably South Yorkshire police – the investigating force – have been using the publicity surrounding that accusation to “trawl” for other alleged victims or witnesses.

Fair enough.

But if so these individuals are either very slow to come forward or their stories don’t stack up.

Otherwise why has Cliff not been re-questioned, arrested, or charged?

It’s been almost a year.

Don’t misunderstand me.

Allegations of historic sex abuse are by definition the trickiest and most delicate of investigations and the police must be allowed time to get to the truth about them.

But justice flows two ways.

As June drifts into July and the anniversary of Cliff’s trial by television (that’s what it was) approaches so does a reckoning.

It is intolerable for anyone to endure this kind of indefinite ordeal by accusation.

There has to be some kind of statute of limitations.

Either South Yorkshire police have a prima facie case against Cliff, or they don’t.

I would like to see a version of habeas corpus invoked in cases such as this.

Habeas corpus is a prisoner’s right to come before a court to determine if his or her detention is lawful and justified.

Cliff is, in all but physicality, a prisoner of ghastly allegations.

He is unable to function.

He is selling the house that was raided and cancelled his usual plans to attend Wimbledon this summer.

Friends say he is at a low ebb, while continuing to vehemently deny wrongdoing. But without a charge he is denied a court in which to argue his case before a judge and jury.

A wretched situation that has gone on for long enough. If habeas corpus cannot apply, how about “cease and desist”: a recourse in civil law to the persistent harrying and hounding of a person.

Sir Cliff’s lawyers have thus far been patient. But surely the time is approaching when they must insist South Yorkshire police put up, or shut up.

Cease and desist. Habeas corpus. Put the guy on trial, or let him pick up the pieces of what is left of his life.

Read Richard and Judy's Express column in full here.
Add a Comment
  • I agree wholeheartedly. Petit her charge Sir Cliff or let him get on with his life in peace.

    Janice McDermott

  • Totally agree with your comments,how we can allow this legal mental torture in the name of justice is beyond my comprehension

    R.Kennedy

  • my heart goes out to cliff tell him to hold his head high or they will pull him to the geound we are all behind you sir cliff

    annette odonovan

  • In total agreement. Shameful behaviour - charge him or let the poor man get on with his life.

    Clare Hudson