Wrongly accused Cleo Smith abductor engages law firm for defamation case
O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors have confirmed to Mumbrella that it has been engaged by Terrance Kelly also known as Flowers and his family to represent him in a defamation claim against the Seven West Media, after it incorrectly posted images of him in relation to the disappearance of Western Australian girl Cleo Smith.
It was reported last week that the wrongly attributed Flowers was looking to take legal action against Seven, with the network posting a brief public apology after the story was removed.
Seven declined to comment further after the legal action was confirmed, following a statement on 8 November in response to a ABC report on the case.
The network said that the story was removed 40 minutes after publication, with the images also broadcast in the Sydney and Adelaide markets on the 4pm news. It also stated that it apologised in cooperation with Flowers’ lawyer.
Flowers’ solicitors said: “The publications by the Seven Network led to Mr. Kelly/Flowers being made the subject of hate and derision around the nation and the world and resulted in him being hospitalised with a severe panic attack.”
“It is of great concern to our client and his family that the Seven Network 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 for them.”
The firm stated that no further details of the case will be discussed at this stage.
O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors commented that this is not the first matter the firm has had against Seven Network involving “the inappropriate use of images depicting Aboriginal persons”.
“In 2017 O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors initiated action against the Seven Network for improperly using footage of Aboriginal persons, filmed for a health campaign in a remote community, as a backdrop to a panel discussion about the abuse, neglect and assault of children.”
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