Ms Faulkner has reportedly relinquished custody of her children. The Channel Nine crew are free to leave Lebanon, the network’s lawyer said.
Charges dropped for mother and crew
Channel nine has just announced that charges against mother Sally Faulkner and the 60 Minutes crew have been dropped.
“Everybody is happy,” said Nine Network lawyer, Kamal Aboudaher.
Channel Nine will pay financial compensation worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars. An exact figure could not be immediately confirmed. The plan would be to fly the crew home on the first flight available.
Sally Faulkner and her two children in Beirut after the alleged child snatch operation.
Ali Elamine has insisted he did not receive financial compensation. He also said he would be open to allowing the children to travel to Australia to visit their mother but not in the immediate short term. He said he was relieved it was all over.
Sally Faulkner and Tara Brown arrived at the Palace of Justice with their hands cuffed together in front of them. An Australian Embassy official had joined the proceedings.
A short time later the rest of the 60 Minutes crew also in handcuffs were brought up to Ms Brown and Ms Faulkner in the waiting room.
Judge Rami Abdullah refused to comment when asked if he could rule out a financial settlement taking place to break the deadlock.
Photo: Getty Images
60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown is escorted from court on Monday in Beirut.
Sally Faulkner and Ali Elamine and their children will meet with Judge Abdullah at 11am on Thursday. The Lebanese men involved on the child abduction plot and British national Adam Whittington, from the Child Abduction Recovery International agency, remain in custody.
Speaking to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, Sally Faulkner’s estranged husband Ali Elamine says his children are ‘a bit shaken by the whole situation’.
Father Ali Elamine reportedly told the judge he felt the 60 Minutes crew was just doing their job and he was happy to see the charges against them dropped.
The lawyer for Adam Whittington and Joe Karam told reporters “everyone will take advantage of the deal,” when asked if Mr Whittington would also walk free.
The breakthrough in the kidnapping case involving Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner came two weeks after the botched child abduction plot landed seven people in jail.
The lawyer for Sally Faulkner, Ghassan Moughabghab, had told Fairfax Media all the signs were heading towards an agreement being reached when the matter resumed before investigative judge Rami Abdullah at Beirut’s Palace of Justice.
The deal was struck after a closed-doors between lawyers representing all parties and the judge.
A lawyer acting for Mohamed Hamze, the owner of the safe house where Sally Faulkner and her children were taken after the abduction, had earlier said it was “100 per cent” part of the deal that Mr Elamine would drop charges against his estranged wife and that this would include the 60 Minutes crew.
Lawyer Sahar Mohsen said it was less certain whether this would extend to child recovery agent Adam Whittington. Her client also carried out the pre-runs for Mr Whittington in the days before the abduction. But he will argue that he thought he was aiding a mother reuniting with her children and not a kidnapping.