We are delighted that last week the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced it would bring no charges against Sir Cliff Richard following a two-year police inquiry (costing an estimated £800,000) into allegations of historical sexual abuse.
In May, we asked you to pray for Sir Cliff and we stated our belief that the allegations were unfounded.
In a statement, Sir Cliff said, “Ever since the highly-publicised and BBC-filmed raid on my home I have chosen not to speak publicly. Even though I was under pressure to ‘speak out’, other than to state my innocence, which was easy for me to do as I have never molested anyone in my life, I chose to remain silent. This was despite the widely-shared sense of injustice resulting from the high-profile fumbling of my case from day one.
“Other than in exceptional cases, people who are facing allegations should never be named publicly until charged. I was named before I was even interviewed and for me that was like being hung out like ‘live bait’.
“It is obvious that such strategies simply increase the risk of attracting spurious claims which not only tie up police resources and waste public funds, but they forever tarnish the reputations of innocent people. There have been numerous occasions in recent years where this has occurred, and I feel very strongly that no innocent person should be treated in this way.”
We agree that the way Sir Cliff was treated was ‘like being hung out like ‘live bait’.’ The handling of this case calls into question how seriously the police and the CPS take the historic principle of presumption of innocence which has undergirded our legal code for centuries and which is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, which states: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.” As we wrote in May, “It seems we have an element, as Paul said, in high places who are out to destroy high-profile Christians across the world.”
Today, the Telegraph reported: “One of the men who accused Sir Cliff Richard of sex abuse had been arrested over an alleged plot to blackmail the singer, it has emerged. The man is said to have demanded money after seeing coverage of the police raiding his home in 2014.”
And yet South Yorkshire Police spent £800,000 of taxpayers’ money on a fruitless investigation?
Sir Cliff’s statement concluded: “My reputation will not be fully vindicated because the CPS’s policy is to only say something general about there being ‘insufficient’ evidence. How can there be evidence for something that never took place? This is also a reason why people should never be named publicly until they have been charged unless there are exceptional circumstances.
“To my fans and members of the public, to the press and media, all of whom continued to show me such encouraging and wonderful support, I would like to say thank you – it would have been so much harder without you.”
We would add our thanks to those of you who prayed, and we give glory to God for His answer to our prayers.