Man Wrongfully Identified By 7News As Alleged Cleo Smith Abductor Announces Plan To Sue

Man Wrongfully Identified By 7News As Alleged Cleo Smith Abductor Announces Plan To Sue
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

An Indigenous man wrongfully identified by 7News as a suspect in the abduction case of Cleo Smith has announced his intention to sue the company for defamation.

On Wednesday, 7News published an article about a man being taken into custody by WA police over the abduction of Cleo Smith.

In the story, Seven incorrectly identified the suspect, who has now been named by police as Terence Darrell Kelly, and used another man’s pictures.

The story was widely shared by Seven on its social media accounts, and the wrongly identified man received threats against him, according to WA Today.

Seven’s error prompted swift backlash on social media, where a number of people suggested the man sue for defamation.

In a response to a story tweeted by NITV about the incident, one user wrote: “Horrendous media integrity & no time to give credence to the source – all about getting the breaking news, and the sensationalism with it that the mistaken person was Indigenous.”

Another said, “I can’t imagine the pain that would cause. It makes me so mad. 7 needs to be sued for a large sum of money. Entirely unforgivable.”

The wrongfully identified man told Ngaarda Media that he was so distressed by the incident that he had a panic attack and ended up needing medical treatment in hospital.

“What they did was go straight on Facebook. The first person they seen got through my photos and uploaded on social media, and spread it around, not just in Australia, this is worldwide.”

He told the publication that he is considering legal action and, according to WA Today, has now engaged solicitors for a defamation lawsuit.

7News later issued an apology on their website, which said: “Earlier on Wednesday 7NEWS wrongly showed images of a man that were incorrectly labelled as the person under arrest over the disappearance of Cleo Smith”.

“These were removed promptly, but 7NEWS apologises for the error.”

B&T had contacted 7News for comment.

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