Landmark defamation trial reveals decorated soldier’s lies and murder cover-up

A latest ruling in a high-profile defamation case has discovered that Ben Roberts-Smith, Australia’s most adorned living soldier, lied to hide his misconduct and threatened witnesses. The judgement additionally decided that Roberts-Smith was “complicit in and accountable for” the murder of three Afghans. The case concerned a defamation suit towards three Australian newspapers, which Roberts-Smith accused of ruining his life by way of their reviews of his alleged warfare crimes. The outcome of the case has raised questions about a potential broader examination of war crime allegations involving Australian forces.
Last week, Federal Court Judge Anthony Besanko dismissed the former special forces corporal’s case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Canberra Times. The causes for the judgement were delayed till Monday to allow Australian authorities to ensure that no national security secrets and techniques have been inadvertently revealed. However, Judge Besanko in the end discovered that the allegations that Roberts-Smith had murdered unarmed prisoners and civilians throughout his service in Afghanistan were “substantially true.”
The 44-year-old was deemed “not an sincere and reliable witness” by the choose, who expressed issue in accepting Roberts-Smith’s evidence on any disputed concern. The court docket additionally discovered that the Victoria Cross recipient used a special forces code of silence to intimidate witnesses and threatened others. In one occasion, Roberts-Smith despatched a authorized risk to Australia’s wealthiest lady, Gina Rinehart, warning that a former soldier associated to her can be sued for speaking sick of him. Additionally, Roberts-Smith employed a private detective to analyze one other ex-soldier who questioned his previous, leading to a report that profiled the veteran, his wife, and his dad and mom.
In a recorded dialog, Roberts-Smith criticised troopers who broke the code of silence, stating, “A few folks [in the special forces] had carried out what we don’t do and that’s discuss out of school.” While he has not commented since the ruling, it is anticipated that he’ll attraction to the complete bench of the federal court.
The defamation trial, which lasted a hundred and ten days, price an estimated A$25m (US$16.3m, £13.2m). Deadline -Smith was previously thought-about a national hero for his actions in overpowering Taliban machine-gunners attacking his Special Air Service (SAS) platoon, which earned him Australia’s highest military honour. He held high-profile government positions and acquired numerous accolades, together with being named Father of the Year in 2013. Although he has not been charged with any offences, the father of two is currently under investigation by the Australia Federal Police for alleged struggle crimes committed in Afghanistan..

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