Aussie Journo Gives Us Latest Update On 60 Minutes Case
The legal case surrounding Channel 9's 60 minutes and the attempted kidnapping of two children has been all over the news in the past few days.
And with charges officially laid last night, we asked Courier Mail journalist Charles Miranda for an update on the state of play.
And the results are worrying for all involved.
What we know so far:
THE MUM, THE TV CREW AND THE KIDNAPPING CASE
Brisbane mum Sally Faulkner and Nine Network TV reporter Tara Brown, producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Benjamin Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment are facing charges over an alleged botched abduction of Ms Faulkner's two children from a street on Lebanon.
The 60 Minutes TV crew and Ms Faulkner are among nine people arrested and detained by Beirut police last week.
They were filming Ms Faulkner's attempt to retrieve her children Noah, four, and Lahela, six, from her ex-husband Ali Elamine, who she claims kept them in Lebanon without her permission.
A professional agency, Child Abduction Recovery International, is believed to have been hired to snatch the children. Two of its members have also been detained and charged.
CCTV footage aired on Channel Nine shows masked men jumping out of a car and snatching the kids away from their grandmother and another woman on a Beirut street. The grandmother claims she was attacked and hit on the head with a pistol.
The TV crew and recovery agency members were arrested shortly afterwards, while Ms Faulkner hid with her two children in a safe house.
Authorities later found the family, arrested Ms Faulkner and returned the children to their father.
Ms Faulkner has been charged with abduction, however it is believed Mr Elamine will not press charges.
The 60 minutes crew are accused of:
- hiding information
- forming an association with two or more people to commit a crime against a person
- kidnapping or holding a minor even with their approval
- physical assault.
The offences carry penalties of up to 20 years in jail.
LEGAL CASE SO FAR
The Australians were charged and questioned before a judge on Tuesday, and will face a hearing on Wednesday where lawyers can launch a defence.
Channel Nine has hired a local law firm to represent their staff but it appears Ms Faulkner does not have a lawyer.
Australia's foreign officials are working with Lebanese authorities, while Channel Nine says it is also fully co-operating.
Nine has refused to comment on speculation it organised, and funded the recovery operation.