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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22808
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Hi, My brothers phot was used in a New Zealand newspaper

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My brother's phot was used in a New Zealand newspaper under a Sex attack case in Materton. The Wairarapa Times Age had used a personal photo of his as the accused sex offender James Fruean. This was a case from December 2012 where the accused was granted name surpression on the 3rd of May this paper released the accused name as James Fruean and published my brothers photo as the accused. He lives with me in Melbourne Australia and has no connection to this case. We are of Samoan decent and this has been published throughtout the islands. What are we able to do? The paper has taken the photo off the article online but the damage has already been done as papers have printed in NZ and Samoa. Also the image is still available on Google linked to the article. Thanks Shahn

christhelawyer : HiWelcome to JustAnswer. My first response will follow shortly. Please feel free to follow up if anything is not clear


christhelawyer : You may want to discuss this in detail with an experienced defamation lawyer. But certainly if you want to claim damages you would have a case because they appear to have been pretty careless. The real damage, as you realise, is getting this off internet searching, and the paper should do this for you at their expense.
christhelawyer : They need to contact Google as well

Yeah, my brother has been extremely damaged as people have mailing him via social networking accusing him of rape etc and today he has been notified by our family in Samoa that the Wairarapa Times contacted Samoa media trying to fix the mistake but instead Samoa has published that James Fruean is not the rapist but Joseph Fruean(my brother) is the accused

christhelawyer : This obviously adds to the damage, and I suggest you need to instruct a lawyer to get the paper to repair the damage and pay your costs.

Do you have any reccomendations of who we can contact? It is even worse that we are in Australia and having to deal to this


He is embarrassed to even go back to New Zealand or Samoa because of this

christhelawyer : I think a senior lawyer like Peter McKnight in Wellington could help. He does a lot of this work, and will quickly tell you what needs to be done. Email [email protected]
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So far he has expressed that he is feeling depressed over this and has no idea where to turn from here. The Editor contacted him saying he will print him a formal apology but I suggested to him not to accept anything yet as they might see it as him accepting that that will be good enough


Are there any laws that outline the use of pictures in publications such as this? i.e the source and legitimacy of photo's and personell?

christhelawyer : I agree. He can do much better, and he should ring Peter McKnight. They must check they have the correct photo, and I think the editor will be very concerned about his mistake. Your brother will have a strong case

Should we be collecting the articles from Samoa etc? Our family is sending us copies today

christhelawyer : That would help, and the Samoan papers may also be in the wrong too and be able to be sued.

The source of their printing has come from the Wairarapa Times so its been a snow ball affect so far. Do you think we will be looking at having to come over to New Zealand to deal with this ultimately?

christhelawyer : possibly, but I think they will make you an offer to settle before then.

OK I will email Peter Mcknight now and also follow up with a call later this afternoon. You have been such a great help, thank you so much.

christhelawyer : It's not good, but he should get this sorted with help from Peter

Is it true that we only have 5working days after publication to address this before it becomes void?

christhelawyer : No, there are time limits but not this short

OK great thanks so much Chris I will get on to contacting Peter


Thank y ou again for your help

christhelawyer : I hope this gets sorted for you
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