Lebanese authorities lay charges against 60 Minutes crew alleging kidnap involvement

Brown: charges laid against the reporter and crew.

Brown: Charges have been issued against the reporter and 60 Minutes crew.

A 60 Minutes crew, including reporter Tara Brown, have been charged by authorities over their involvement in a child recovery operation in Lebanon.

Authorities in Lebanon have reportedly filed multiple charges, including one that involves the allegation of kidnap, over their involvement in the attempt by Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner to retrieve her two children.

“Channel Nine can confirm tonight that its 60 Minutes crew being detained in Lebanon are facing being charged with offences related to kidnapping,” said a Nine spokeswoman.

The 60 minutes crew currently in prison in Lebanon includes Brown and also producer Stephen Rice, camera man Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment.

The matter appeared briefly before a judge in Beirut earlier today; however, it is expected that it will be some days before the crew are interviewed by the judge, which will be their first chance to respond to any additional charges that may be laid.

“We do not have any further details at this time and we are not able to comment on any other aspects of the matter at this time,” said the Nine spokeswoman.

Nine’s news and current affairs boss Darren Wick has flown to Beirut to help the Department of Foreign Affairs which is attempting to provide consular support.

In recent days, the Nine Network has played down allegations it paid $120,000 to the agency involved in the child recovery operation.

“They are journalists covering a story. That is all,” said a Nine spokeswoman, earlier in this week.

Brown and her film crew were detained by Lebanese police late last week while trying to film the operation in which Faulkner attempted to recover her two Australian children.

The police allege they were involved in an attempt to kidnap two children and media reports have since suggested that Nine may have been involved in paying for the operation.

In a opening statement on Sunday night’s 60 Minutes episode, host Michael Usher told viewers that Brown and the crew members, were being detained “a world away”.

“Everyone in the Nine News and 60 Minutes family is doing their utmost to support (them),” said Usher.

“It’s a stressful time for them and their families and the last thing our team wanted was to become the subject of their own story.

“For those working hard for their safe return, we earnestly thank you and we’ll keep you posted as events unfold.”

Nic Christensen


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