60 Minutes arrests a wake-up call, says radio DJ

By Rohan Smith

Melbourne shock jock Neil Mitchell says the 60 Minutes crew behind bars should be a wake-up call for other current affairs programmes.

"They have to stop playing with people's lives - they all do it," he said yesterday on talk-back station 3AW.

"But current affairs TV can be brutal, heartless, exploitative and manipulative. Sometimes it professes to care for people, while exploiting them.

"As I said, they all do it, but this might be a wake-up call."

Tara Brown, her 60 Minutes colleagues and Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner will spend more nights behind bars in Beirut.

Brown, along with producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment, were preparing to learn their fate before a judge at Baabda court. Judge Rami Abdullah told reporters the matter would be adjourned until 9pm NZT today. He also had a warning for the defendants, emphasising the seriousness of the situation.

"This is not a custody case," Abdullah said. "They are charged with kidnapping two kids."

The group is facing charges including kidnapping, physical assault, hiding information and criminal conspiracy.

They were detained on April 7 with Faulkner and members of a child abduction team over a kidnapping attempt involving Faulkner's two children. The children were living in Lebanon with their father, Ali Elamine, when agents from Child Abduction Recovery International, including founder Adam Whittington, attempted an abduction that went horribly wrong.

Elamine insisted he will go ahead with charges against his ex-wife and all others involved. He refused a request to drop the charges, saying he could not risk allowing the 60 Minutes crew to escape punishment by letting Faulkner off the hook.

Whittington was expected to present documents in court on Monday showing Channel Nine paid him directly to get Faulkner's children back.

- news.com.au

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