Australia

When Roberts-Smith trial will return


The marathon defamation trial of Ben Roberts-Smith seems set to renew regardless of doubts hanging over among the most vital witnesses.

Ben Roberts-Smith‘s defamation trial of the century appears certain to return after the ravages of the pandemic forced it into hibernation for months – but doubts still linger over some of the key SAS witnesses.

Mr Roberts-Smith is suing Nine newspapers and journalists over a series of articles which he claims falsely portray him as a war criminal, murderer and domestic violence abuser.

Mr Roberts-Smith‘s lawsuit is among the longest running, most expensive and most complex cases in the nation’s authorized system partially as a result of a lot will activate the key testimony of different SAS troopers.

Many of the SAS are primarily based in Western Australia which has successfully minimize itself off from the world for nearly two years.

The political border warfare has meant these SAS troopers, whose identities are all strictly suppressed, haven’t been in a position to journey to Sydney to provide proof.

Some SAS troopers are anticipated to provide proof in opposition to Mr Roberts-Smith and incriminate themselves in warfare crimes, the court docket has heard.

The Commonwealth Government requested the court docket to forestall the SAS troopers from giving their proof from WA, utilizing video hyperlinks, as a result of their missions in Afghanistan stay issues of nationwide safety.

Sydney‘s Federal Court building was fitted out with special security to keep the media and public from identifying the SAS soldiers or hearing their closed door evidence.

The trial effectively halted in mid-2021 as Sydney‘s Covid-19 delta outbreak began.

Mr Roberts-Smith had just finished his side of the case which included him giving emotional evidence on the stand and enduring extensive cross-examination from Nine‘s barrister.

The last six months have seen only limited evidence and countless administrative hearings as the court tried to resolve the WA impasse.

But Justice Anthony Besanko on Tuesday was told Nine still expected to open its case at the beginning of next week despite the SAS soldiers still living in the hermit state.

Nine‘s barrister, Nicholas Owens SC, told the court he would call 15 witnesses who live outside WA including Mr Roberts-Smith’s former spouse, former non-public investigator and his alleged former mistress – a girl recognized solely as Person 17.

The Federal Court will hear a couple of month of proof, Mr Owens stated, earlier than the court docket should contemplate the 9 or 10 WA-based witnesses.

Those witnesses will probably be requested to come back to Sydney to provide proof and undertake no matter quarantine WA requires on their return dwelling if potential.

If they can’t journey to Sydney, the court docket heard, Nine could apply to maneuver your complete trial to Perth.

Justice Besanko will contemplate the SAS witnesses earlier than the trial is anticipated to renew subsequent week.

Last week Mr Roberts-Smith misplaced a separate however associated lawsuit in opposition to his ex spouse Emma Roberts.

He claimed Ms Roberts had entry to an e mail linked along with his public talking firm, RS Group, and suspected both she or her finest buddy Danielle Scott had leaked its contents.

Ms Roberts handed over sure paperwork and defined how she had accessed the once-joint e mail account – she denied sharing entry to his emails.

Justice Robert Bromwich final week rejected the declare that Ms Roberts had leaked her ex husband‘s emails and lied about it.

He ordered Mr Roberts-Smith to pay her authorized payments.



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