The Man Wrongfully Identified By 7News In The Cleo Smith Case Is Suing For Defamation

The Man Wrongfully Identified By 7News In The Cleo Smith Case Is Suing For Defamation

Terrance Flowers, the man wrongfully identified by Network Seven as a suspect in Cleo Smith’s abduction, is now officially suing the network for defamation.

The Guardian has reported that Flowers has now launched a defamation case against the network, that has been lodged in the Western Australia Supreme Court. 

According to The Guardian a statement of claim filed yesterday by Flower’s legal team said: “Given the public interest in the disappearance of Cleo Smith throughout Australia, it was the natural and probable consequence of the publication that the allegations made about Flowers in that publication would be widely republished. 

It also alleged that Flowers had “been gravely injured in his character and reputation, and has suffered substantial hurt, distress and embarrassment and has and will continue to suffer loss and damage.”

Interestingly, Flower’s lawyer is Sue Chrysanthou, SC, a high-profile defamation lawyer, who has previously represented Geoffrey Rush and Christian Porter. 

If you missed it last week, Flowers a 27-year old Nyamal man was wrongly identified via his Facebook profile – where he used his mother’s last name, Kelly.

This meant that, at least on Facebook, he shared the same name as Terence Darrell Kelly, – the man currently facing charges for the abduction of Cleo Smith. Of course, it’s worth noting their first names are spelt differently. 

Still, 7News, mistakenly thought they’d found Kelly’s Facebook and proceeded to publish photos of Flowers, on 7News, in online articles and tweets, and on Facebook – basically, Flower’s image was widely shared on Seven’s social media platforms, where it could be retweeted, reshared and distributed by members of the public. 

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.”

However, the damage had been done, 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 the 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.”

Flowers has now chosen to pursue legal action.

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