University Student Sues Channel 7 for Wrongly Naming Him as Bondi Junction Killer

20-year-old student sues Australian TV network for incorrectly identifying him as perpetrator of deadly Bondi Junction stabbing attack, highlighting the dangers of spreading misinformation.

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University Student Sues Channel 7 for Wrongly Naming Him as Bondi Junction Killer

University Student Sues Channel 7 for Wrongly Naming Him as Bondi Junction Killer

Benjamin Cohen, a 20-year-old university student in Sydney, has engaged high-profile defamation lawyers to take legal action against the Seven Network after being incorrectly identified as the perpetrator of the Bondi Junction stabbing attack that claimed six lives. The network's Weekend Sunrise program and its YouTube channel named Cohen as the "40-year-old lone-wolf attacker" shortly after the incident, before police had identified the actual perpetrator, Joel Cauchi, who was later shot dead by police.

Cohen's name and photo began circulating on social media by online trolls shortly after the attack. The fabricated claim originated from a small account sharing anti-Israel content before being picked up by larger accounts. Sunrise co-host Matt Shirvington and journalist Lucy McLeod wrongly linked Cohen to the attack.

After the incorrect identification, Cohen engaged prominent defamation lawyers Patrick George and Sue Chrysanthou to issue a concerns notice to Seven, the first step in defamation proceedings. Seven issued an on-air apology to Cohen and blamed human error for the blunder.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the dangerous consequences of spreading misinformation and how it can negatively impact innocent individuals. It also raises questions about the responsibility of media organizations to fact-check information before broadcasting or publishing.

Cohen expressed disappointment at the lack of fact-checking by both the public and the major news network in using his name without verifying the information. "The fact that a major news network used my name without confirmation from the police is disappointing," Cohen said. "The mindless propagation of misinformation by the public without fact-checking is also concerning."

Seven has acknowledged the error, stating it was "human error" by a junior social media editor. The network has 28 days to respond to the defamation claim. If the case proceeds to court, Cohen could potentially receive up to $459,000 in damages under the NSW Defamation Act.

Key Takeaways

  • Benjamin Cohen, 20, sues Seven Network for misidentifying him as Bondi attacker.
  • Seven issued on-air apology, blamed "human error" by junior social media editor.
  • Cohen engaged prominent defamation lawyers to issue concerns notice to Seven.
  • Incident highlights dangers of spreading misinformation and media's responsibility to verify.
  • Cohen could receive up to $459,000 in damages if case proceeds to court.