Australia’s most decorated soldier loses defamation case for alleged war crimes

Australia’s most decorated living war veteran, Ben Roberts-Smith, loses defamation case over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Court ruling details: Federal Court Judge Anthony Besanko ruled that the 2018 articles detailing war crimes committed by the former Special Air Service Regiment corporal were substantially true.
* Allegations included unlawfully killing a prisoner with a prosthetic leg and keeping the leg as a novelty beer drinking vessel in 2009.
* Another accusation involved kicking an unarmed, handcuffed farmer off a cliff, with an SAS colleague reportedly shooting the farmer dead in 2012.
* Domestic violence allegations against Roberts-Smith were found to be unproven and defamatory, but the judge stated this would not have further damaged his reputation.

Looking ahead: Roberts-Smith’s lawyer Arthur Moses requested 42 days to consider lodging an appeal to the Full Bench of the Federal Court.
* Roberts-Smith is among several Australian military personnel currently under investigation by the Australian Federal Police for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

View original article on NPR

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