The Brisbane mother and the Nine Network crew are due to face the court in Lebanon on Monday night on their alleged involvement in the 60 Minutes abduction case.
The mother, Sally Faulkner, was alleged of kidnapping her two kids at a Beirut street while they were waiting for their school bus. The Lebanese authorities have also incriminated the “60 Minutes” crew in assisting the mother in the kidnapping of the kids to bring them back to Australia. Over the weekend, the Lebanese officials moved Faulkner and “60 Minutes” reporter Tara Brown in a detention centre meant only for females. The male suspects who are producer Stephen Rice, a cameraman from the crew, and two Britons, were kept in a separate detention centre.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese authorities have claimed to have evidence that shows that Channel Nine made payment for the abduction of the two kids, Noah and Lahela. According to the ABC, the authorities have claimed that a member of the “recovery team” has a signed statement that stated Channel Nine has paid about $115,000 for the mission. However, there is no signed statement yet produced as evidence.
Nine’s European correspondent, Tom Steinfort, told the Today Show that Channel Nine has already hired a local criminal lawyer to proceed with the case while representing the staff members of the network on Monday night. “We are likely to find out whether or not they will be facing charges and perhaps what those charges may well be. It is a tricky legal process here and it’s one that is likely to take some time,” Steinfort told The Today Show.
News.com.au reported that the CCTV footage that showed both the kids being kidnapped was aired on the local media as well as on the Channel Nine network. The video showed the mother snatching off her kids from her ex-mother-in-law with the help of a group of masked men. The footage also captured the scene where the brother and sister were bundled into a car.
Lebanon’s Daily Star claimed a judicial source saying that seven people will be charged with the botched recovery operation of the kids. Channel Nine confirmed that News and Current Affairs Director Darren Wick has also arrived in Beirut for the first hearing of the 60 Minutes abduction case.