Sir Cliff Richard sparked outrage after saying he would rather see 10 guilty predators evade justice than have one innocent person suffer a wrongful accusation.
The 78-year-old singer made the controversial remark during an appearance on Loose Women on Tuesday.
Speaking about moving on with his life after being wrongly accused of historical sex abuse, Sir Cliff said the law needed to change to protect the innocent.
He won a High Court privacy battle with the BBC early this year over its coverage of a 2014 police search of his home. He has never been charged with any offence.
‘When I was in the court with the BBC I saw a quote I loved, a judge, Blackstone, said, ‘I would rather 10 guilty people escape than one innocent person suffer’,’ Sir Cliff said.
Sir Cliff Richard (pictured on Loose Women with Gloria Hunniford on Tuesday) sparked outrage after he said he’d rather see 10 guilty people go free than have one innocent person suffer
He was referring to Blackstone’s ratio, from William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.
In criminal law, it is the idea that it is better 10 guilty people escape than one innocent person suffer.
But while the Loose Women panel, which included Sir Cliff’s friend Gloria Hunniford, appeared to agree with his comment, viewers expressed outrage.
‘Cliff Richard repeating his line that he’d rather 10 guilty rapists walk the streets than 1 innocent person be investigated on #LooseWomen is gross and abhorrent,’ said one person on Twitter.
‘Imagine having 10 predators on the streets just because you were mildly inconvenienced by an investigation into you that was proven to be untrue?’
Another said: ‘I’m not a fan of Cliff Richard but he’s turned my stomach saying that 10 guilty men should go free to save one who’s innocent. Absolute disgrace.
Viewers expressed outrage at the 78-year-old veteran singer’s comments on Twitter
Sir Cliff was speaking about moving on with his life after being wrongly accused of historical sex abuse
‘The victims of abuse, assault and rape deserve more.’
Another viewer branded his comment ‘insane’ and ‘offensive.’
‘Cliff Richard just said one of the stupidest and most offensive things I’ve ever heard in television,’ the viewer wrote on Twitter.
‘Did he just say he’d rather 10 guilty sex offenders go free than one person be wrongly accused? Maybe I misheard… Insane.’
During his appearance on the show, Sir Cliff claimed there was an ‘army’ of falsely accused people.
‘There’s not just a few of them, there’s an army. Some have spent two years in prison and been innocent.’
‘When I was in the court with the BBC I saw a quote I loved, a judge, Blackstone, said, ‘I would rather 10 guilty people escape than one innocent person suffer’,’ Sir Cliff said
One viewer branded his comment ‘insane’ and ‘offensive’ while another said victims of abuse, assault and rape ‘deserve more’
He added: ‘It’s the danger of if we don’t change the law it’s going to keep happening to innocent people.’
Sir Cliff was awarded more than £200,000 in damages after winning his High Court privacy battle against the BBC in July.
He took legal action against BBC bosses over broadcasts of a South Yorkshire Police raid on his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, in August 2014, following a child sex assault allegation.
Sir Cliff denied the allegation and was never arrested, and in June 2016 prosecutors announced that he would face no charges.
Announcing his ruling in July, Mr Justice Mann said the BBC had infringed the star’s privacy rights in a ‘serious and sensationalist way’.
He awarded Sir Cliff £210,000 damages for the ‘general effect’ on his life and said he is entitled to recover further sums for the financial impact on the star.
He won a High Court privacy battle with the BBC early this year over its coverage of a 2014 police search of his home (above)