The man wrongly identified as Cleo Smith’s alleged kidnapper by the Seven Network has had a victory in the Western Australia supreme court, after suing the network for defamation.
On Wednesday the WA supreme court chief justice, Peter Quinlan, read out consent orders in favour of Terrance Flowers, a 27-year-old Nyamal man from the town of Karratha.
Flowers sued the network in November after his photograph was mistakenly used in Seven’s broadcasts, an online article, a tweet and a Facebook post about the arrest of a different man. The man arrested has a similar name to that used by Flowers on Facebook where he used his mother’s maiden name, Kelly.
The social media posts contained the heading “PICTURED: the man accused of abducting Cleo Smith”.
After it became aware of the mistake, Channel Seven issued an apology stating the images had been removed “promptly”.
But Flowers launched legal action against the network with lawyers saying he had been “gravely injured in his character and reputation” after the error. In a statement at the time his lawyers said the network’s error had made him “the subject of hate around the nation and the world and resulted in him being hospitalised with a severe panic attack”.
Flowers was represented by the high-profile defamation barrister Sue Chrysanthou.
But the case was settled on Wednesday, with Quinlan reading out consent orders in court in Flowers’ favour. The judge made no orders on costs, and in a statement Kelly’s lawyers said the case had “otherwise settled on confidential terms”.
Flowers, who appeared in court on Wednesday via video link told WA Today he was “glad that it’s all over and it was settled”.
Flowers, who also goes by his mother’s maiden name Kelly, had the judgment read out in court after the consent order was agreed to between his lawyers and the network.
In a statement Flowers’ legal team, O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors, said he was “looking forward to getting on with his life and enjoying time with his wife and baby son”.
“The judgment was entered pursuant to consent orders agreed to by the parties,” his lawyer’s statement read.
“The judge noted that the proceedings had otherwise settled on confidential terms. The judge congratulated the parties on reaching a resolution.”