Sir Clifford Richard, the latest UK celeb to be hit with allegations of historic sex abuse, has hired the celebritie’s ‘go to’ lawyer, London lawyer Ian Burton.
Mr Burton, 67, has represented a variety of high profile clients in various matters, including PR agent Max Clifford, who was jailed for sex offences, former Harrods owner Mohammed Al-Fayed, the late singer Amy Winehouse, TV celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and football manager Harry Rednapp, who faced tax evasion charges.
This week, Mr Burton and a colleague flew to Sir Cliff’s Algarve estate and spent five hours with their client, the same amount of time as the Yorkshire police had spent searching the star’s home in a raid that was heavily publicised by the BBC with news teams at the gates and in a helicopter overhead.
Mr Burton, 67, said in an interview four years ago: “Anybody can go out and learn the law. Anyone can read a book. Anyone can interpret the law, understand the law.
“But you can’t suddenly bolt on the experience of actually having dealt with the thing, actually implementing it when there is a dawn raid.”
Sir Cliff denies the sex assault accusation and has criticised South Yorkshire Police for not warning him about the UK raid, but inviting a BBC news crew to film it.
The Daily Telegraph report that The Legal 500 directory of lawyers says of Sir Cliff’s lawyer: “If there is a chance of nipping an investigation in the bud, he will do it.”
Sir Cliff has been sticking to his usual routine of playing tennis, working out and entertaining at his home in Portugal, and while South Yorkshire Police still say they “want to speak to him”, he is yet to receive a formal interview request from them.
The BBC has so far had 480 complaints over its decision to broadcast live footage of the raid on Sir Cliff’s home, which included helicopter pictures of officers arriving at the flat in Berkshire and images of police inside the property searching the singer’s possessions.
South Yorkshire Police has said it was approached by the BBC weeks before the planned raid, and, fearing the broadcaster would jeopardise the investigation if it ran a story about it, decided to co-operate by agreeing to give the BBC advance warning of the date of the search.