Terrance Flowers, a Nyamal man wrongly identified by 7NEWS as a person of interest in Cleo Smith‘s abduction, has officially launched his defamation case against the Seven Network — with Christian Porter’s former lawyer in tow.
Pictures of Flowers – who on social media uses the name ‘Terrance Kelly‘ – were uploaded by 7NEWS in a news story, and later shared across its socials. The network mistook Flowers for the alleged abductor, Terence Kelly.
In the aftermath of 7NEWS’s massive error, Flowers reported receiving violent threats.
“When I leave the house I have that thought in the back of my head that someone’s going to pull up on me and threaten me or actually assault me,” he told WAToday reporters earlier this month.
“I haven’t been able to think clearly, and I’m hardly sleeping – it’s traumatising me for something that I’ve never done.”
Now, Terrance Flowers has officially launched his defamation case in Western Australia’s supreme court.
He’ll be represented by Sue Chrysanthou, SC – arguably one of Australia’s biggest names in defamation law.
You might recognise her from Christian Porter’s defamation case against the ABC this year, or actor Geoffrey Rush‘s case against the Daily Telegraph and Nationwide News back in 2018.
Rush was ultimately awarded $2.9 million in damages, the biggest payout to a single person in Aussie history.
Flowers will also be represented by Louise Goodchild and Stewart O’Connell, a solicitor from O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors.
It also alleges that he was “gravely inured in his character and reputation” and that he “suffered substantial hurt, distress and embarrassment and has and will continue to suffer loss and damage”.
At the time, 7NEWS published a two line apology on its website reading “earlier on Wednesday 7NEWS wrongly showed images of a man that were incorrectly labelled as the person under arrest over disappearance of Cleo Smith.”
“These were removed promptly, but 7NEWS apologises for the error.”
In a media statement, Terrance Flowers’ lawyers said, “Mr Flowers recently became a father and like everyone else throughout Australia, and particularly being a parent himself, he was hoping for Cleo’s safe return.”
“Being identified as responsible for her abduction and disappearance was extremely distressing to him and his family.”
Seven declined a request to comment on this story.