Decision to drop Cliff Richard case upheld by CPS

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The decision not to prosecute Sir Cliff Richard over claims of historical sex offences has been upheld, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced.

Claims the singer had assaulted four men were dropped on 16 June on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

The CPS reviewed the evidence following an application by one of his accusers but concluded the decision was correct.

Sir Cliff, 75, who always denied the allegations, said he was "pleased" with the decision.

He added: "As I have said previously, I'm innocent, so I'm obviously pleased with today's CPS decision and the speed with which they reached it. I hope that it brings this matter to a close."

Sir Cliff was the subject of a long-running South Yorkshire Police investigation that centred on sexual abuse allegations made by four men dating between 1958 and 1983.

'Hung out like live bait'

In June, the CPS announced no criminal charges were to be brought as a result of Operation Kaddie.

It subsequently received applications to review two of the charging decisions under the Victims' Right to Review scheme.

The CPS said in a statement: "In accordance with the scheme, a CPS lawyer who was not involved in the original decision-making process has completed a full review of the evidence and has concluded that the decisions not to charge were correct."

Following the decision to take no further action against the singer, Sir Cliff said he felt "tarnished" by the allegations and that being named in the media meant he had been "hung out like live bait".

Officers were filmed searching Sir Cliff's apartment in Berkshire in 2014, after the allegations came to light, which was broadcast live by the BBC.

The entertainer has subsequently made formal legal complaints to South Yorkshire Police and the corporation.

In 2014, a parliamentary committee found the BBC had acted "properly" in the way it has reported the story.

Last year an independent investigation concluded that South Yorkshire Police should not have released "highly confidential" information to the BBC about the planned search.

The force apologised "wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused" to Sir Cliff by the force's "initial handling of the media interest" in its investigation.

The BBC later said it was "very sorry" Sir Cliff "suffered distress" after its coverage of the police raid but said it "stands by the decision to report the investigation undertaken by the South Yorkshire Police and the search of his property."

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