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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Australian soldier Ben Roberts-Smith loses struggle crimes defamation case as decide calls actions ‘callous and inhumane’ | World Information

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One in every of Australia’s most adorned dwelling struggle veterans has misplaced a defamation lawsuit in opposition to three newspapers which accused him of struggle crimes in Afghanistan.

Ben Roberts-Smith had launched authorized proceedings in opposition to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Canberra Occasions over articles they printed in 2018.

The papers ran articles accusing the 44-year-old former Australian SAS corporal of unacceptable use of drive in opposition to unarmed Afghans.

Federal Courtroom decide Anthony Besanko stated on Thursday the newspapers had efficiently established their studies have been considerably true in relation to 4 of the six homicide allegations – all denied by the previous particular forces corporal.

In one of many {cases}, the decide stated Mr Roberts-Smith’s actions have been “callous and inhumane”.

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Mr Roberts-Smith had been in search of unspecified damages from the papers for portraying him as somebody who “broke the ethical and authorized guidelines of navy engagement” in Afghanistan the place he served from 2006 to 2012.

He received a number of high Australian navy honours, together with the Victoria Cross, for his actions throughout six excursions of Afghanistan earlier than carving out a post-military profession as an in-demand public speaker and media govt.

However in line with the newspapers, he additionally performed an element within the illegal killings of six Afghans throughout his deployment.

The articles, citing different troopers who stated they have been there, stated Mr Roberts-Smith had shot {dead} an unarmed Afghan teenage spotter, and kicked a handcuffed man off a cliff earlier than ordering him to be shot {dead}.

The papers additionally reported Mr Roberts-Smith had pressured a lower-ranking Australian soldier to execute an aged, unarmed Afghan to “blood the rookie”.

Choose Besanko stated the papers had proved these accounts true.

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In one other case, the papers reported that Roberts-Smith murdered an Afghan man who had a prosthetic leg and was then “so callous and inhumane that he took the prosthetic leg again to Australia and inspired his troopers to make use of it as a novelty beer consuming vessel”, the decide stated.

He stated the papers additionally proved that allegation was true.

Publication of the decide’s full causes was delayed till Monday as a result of nationwide safety issues.

The civil judgment is just not a prison discovering of guilt.

James Chessell, managing editor of publishing on the newspapers’ proprietor 9 Leisure, described the decision as “a vindication for the courageous troopers of the SAS who served their nation with distinction after which had the braveness to talk the reality about what occurred”.

Mr Roberts-Smith, who was not in court docket for the judgment, claimed the opposition witnesses have been fantasists and disgruntled failed troopers who have been jealous of his accolades.

He additionally put ahead former troopers as witnesses who supported his actions.

His lawyer Arthur Moses informed reporters: “We’ll take into account the prolonged judgment that his honour has delivered and have a look at points referring to an enchantment.”

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