• Terry Flowers was at the hospital with his young baby when he was told his images were published online. (Ngaarda Media)Source: Ngaarda Media
Lawyers acting on behalf of Nyamal man Terrance Flowers filed against the national media organisation in the WA Supreme Court today.
Jodan Perry

16 Nov 2021 - 6:39 PM  UPDATED 16 Nov 2021 - 6:39 PM

An Aboriginal man who was wrongly named as the accused abductor of four-year-old Cleo Smith has began defamation proceedings against Channel Seven.

Terrance Flowers, from Karratha, says he suffered a severe panic attack that led to his hospitalisation after his image was splashed across the 7 News website and television news bulletin on Wednesday November 3, the day a separate man was arrested over the toddler's disappearance.

He was also the subject of “hate” from around Australia and the world.

Mr Flowers told Ngaarda Media that he was in hospital with his child when he heard about the inaccuracy.

Channel Seven published a two-line apology on its website that night and later apologised on air.

Mr Flowers is also known by his mother's name Kelly.

Mr Flowers has engaged highly-regarded defamation lawyer Sue Chrysanthou SC and Louise Goodchild to represent him in the proceedings. 

"He had nothing to do with it and was never a suspect in the case," said a statement from O'Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors.

"It is of great concern to Mr Flowers and his family that a major media company 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. 

“The publications by the Seven Network led to Mr Flowers being made the subject of hate around the nation and the world and resulted in him being hospitalised with a severe panic attack."

Mr Flowers and his representatives said they would not make further comment as the matter is now before the courts.

He also asked the media to respect his privacy.

Aboriginal man wrongly named as Cleo Smith abductor plans to sue Seven Network
Nyamal man Terry Flowers was at the hospital with his baby when he was told he had been identified by 7 News as a child abductor. He had a panic attack and was so distressed he needed medical treatment.