Wrong suspect in Cleo Smith's abduction files defamation case against news channel

WION Web Team
Sydney, Australia Published: Nov 17, 2021, 03:39 PM(IST)

Cleo Smith is seen in this undated handout photo given to the police when she went missing from an Australian outback campsite Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

A 36-year-old man named Terrence Kelly has been charged with the abduction of four-year-old who had disappeared from her family's tent in Western Australia

An Australian news channel had wrongly identified an Aboriginal man as the primary suspect in the abduction of Cleo Smith.

Now, it is paying the price of incorrect broadcast as the man has filed a defamation case against the new channel.

The channel had taken pictures from his Facebook account and used them without his consent and displayed them with the caption ''Pictured: The man accused of abducting Cleo Smith.''

Also read | Cleo Smith: Four-year-old Australian girl abducted from campsite found alive

His lawyer said ''The publications by the Seven Network led to Terrance Flowers being made the subject of hate around the nation and the world and resulted in him being hospitalised with a severe panic attack.''

''It is of great concern to Mr Flowers and his family that a major media company would proceed with a story of this magnitude without being absolutely certain as to its accuracy. The effect of this substantial error has been devastating.''

Also read | Australia: 36-year-old man charged for abduction of Cleo Smith

After facing rebuke, the channel has now issued an apology he ''was in no way connected with Cleo's abduction and his Facebook photos should not have been used.''

A 36-year-old man named Terrence Kelly has been charged with the abduction of four-year-old who had disappeared from her family's tent in Western Australia.

He has been charged with various offences, including one count of forcibly taking a child under 16 and sent to a maximum-security prison in Perth.

Many had feared the search for Cleo Smith would end in tragedy, but the discovery of her "alive and well" sparked nationwide elation, with police admitting "seasoned detectives" were "openly crying with relief".

(With inputs from agencies)
 

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