Indigenous man wrongly accused by CH7 claims defamation


First Nations man falsely identified by Channel 7 as the person who abducted four-year-old Cleo Smith said he plans to sue the media network for libel.

In a video interview with Ngaarda Media via TVIN, Nyamal’s man said what had happened to him was “not acceptable” and launched a libel action against the publication.

“That stuff was not acceptable man, I don’t like it over there,” he told the outlet.

“I not only want to get an apology from them. I want them to do their jobs more seriously and professionally[ly].

“I’m going to end up suing them anyway because it’s not the right thing for them to do.”

According to Ngaarda media, the Nyamal man bears the same name as the alleged kidnapper. Earlier this week, he was wrongly identified on social media after someone used his photos on Facebook and linked him to the Cleo Smith kidnapping.

Then, in an article published Wednesday morning around the time Cleo was found unharmed, Channel 7 falsely identified him, claiming they had revealed photos of the alleged culprit. The experiment allegedly led Nyamal’s man to delete his social media accounts after he was “harassed online because of disinformation”.

In a statement shared with Ngaarda media, the lawyer of the man Stewart o’connell said he “finds[s] it’s unbelievable ”that such a large media company could make this kind of mistake.

“Personally, I find it incredible that a large media company publishes a photo of someone who relates them to this particular issue and given its importance in the country and in the world without it being absolutely 100% certain that it is ‘she had the right fit. ,” he said.

When the wrongly accused man first learned that they had reunited with Cleo on Wednesday, he told his partner and they “were happy for her.” Then his sister sent him a screenshot of someone using a photo of him in a post related to the alleged person who took the girl.

“I thought she was lying and I started swearing and told her, ‘No, that’s not me in there,’” he said.

He then went directly to the police station and spoke to the officers who picked him up. Later that afternoon he saw her face on 7News Brisbane and Sunrise Facebook pages.

“I got angry and then I went back to the police station,” he said.

“I ended up getting even more angry and had a panic attack at the police station, so they took me to the hospital. “

When media outlets and Instagram accounts like Aussie Influencer Opinions first criticized Channel 7 for falsely identifying the man, the media network deleted the post without apologizing. Channel 7 confirmed on Thursday that they had misidentified the man and issued a public apology.

“Earlier Wednesday, 7NEWS falsely showed footage of a man who was incorrectly labeled as the person under arrest for Cleo Smith’s disappearance,” the post shared on its page.

“These were removed quickly, but 7NEWS apologizes for the error.”

It is worth mentioning here that even though he has been falsely identified due to social media hysteria led by his having the same name as the alleged culprit, it is extremely disturbing to hear that one of the largest media networks in the country confused two First Nations men.

You can hear the full story of the man in the heartbreaking interview below.

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