Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes crew was involved in the abduction of another child in 2002 before the crew was arrested in Lebanon this past month.
Theo Johnstone was born in 1997 and his father Nick Kavouklis took him to Kalymnos, Greece in 2001. Kovoulis took him under the pretence of 6 months holiday and Johnstone never came back to Australia.
Nick was charged with abduction and then released on bail of $5000. Theo’s mother Diane Livingstone revealed that she was desperate; she knows that in seven years among the 14 Australian custody applications made in Greece, only two kidnapped children were returned, The Sydney Morning Herald stated.
Hug-ur-kids, an abduction advisory service in Australia, introduced Diane with Trojan Security International which is an Arkansas-based recovery firm. Diane then took help of the recovery firm which assisted with her entry in Greece and also helped her in tracking down her son. Diane filmed the entire retrieval herself and sent it to 60 minutes, reported Mail Online.
The story was presented by journalist Liz Hayes in 2002 and Theo was 6-year-old at that time.
However, Theo, who is 19 now, is happy that his mother did so and he vehemently defends her action. For the first time, he has spoken about the incident which changed his life.
At first, he could not recognise his mother who was wearing wigs, sunglasses and hat. And as they raced away his mother tried to calmed him down as he was screaming at that time. She then took out her wig and glasses off and finally he recognised her.
Theo said, “He [Nick] kind of brainwashed me. To make me think that he’s done the right thing – and she’s done the wrong thing.”
He said, “I’ve cried my eyes out thousands of times. Ninety-nine per cent of people don’t know what’s happened to me.”
Now he considers Diane’s husband Peter Johnstone as his dad and has taken Johnstone surname.
When he was asked whether his mother was right to use a child recovery project, he strongly defended her by saying, “It’s made me a stronger person. I’m glad the way my life is now. I wouldn’t change it, at all.”
He also said that his family could understand Sally Faulkner’s plight who along with the 6o Minutes crew were arrested in Lebanon . Malcolm Turnbull had atually called the abduction “unwise.”
However Theo observed, “My mum knows what that lady’s feeling right now. It’s exactly what happened to me. The dad wants the children and he’s done the wrong thing.” He also informed that his parents spend around $200,000 to get him back. Reportedly, Diane took a loan to finance the operation.
Daine also stated that the 60 Minutes program paid her a small amount but it was nowhere close to the alleged $70,000. She also denied allegation that Channel nine directly paid the recovery agent.