Witness called by Ben Roberts-Smith in defamation trial investigated for alleged war crime, court hears | Ben Roberts-Smith

A soldier witness known as via Ben Roberts-Smith in his defamation trial has advised the court docket he’s one after the other being investigated for an alleged conflict crime dedicated at Darwan, throughout the similar raid on which Roberts-Smith is accused of kicking a handcuffed prisoner off a cliff.

Individual 35 spent his 3rd day within the witness field on Friday, and used to be cross-examined over the demise of a person known as Haji Nazar Gul, throughout an Australian SAS raid at the village of Darwan, in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province, on 11 September 2012.

He mentioned the allegation he murdered Gul used to be false – “that document is a lie” he advised the court docket – announcing Gul used to be an armed rebel he lawfully killed.

However Individual 35 mentioned he used to be conscious the allegation Gul used to be murdered used to be being investigated via the Place of work of the Particular Investigator, arrange via the federal government to analyze allegations of imaginable conflict crimes dedicated via Australian particular forces in Afghanistan.

He mentioned he understood the allegation being investigated via the OSI associated with him, and his alleged killing of Gul.

“I’m conscious that this is being investigated,” he advised the court docket. “I’ve had a false allegation made in opposition to me.”

Roberts-Smith, a recipient of the Victoria Move, is suing the Age, the Sydney Morning Usher in and the Canberra Instances for defamation over a sequence of ­experiences he alleges had been defamatory and portrayed him as committing conflict crimes, together with homicide.

The newspapers are pleading a defence of reality. Roberts-Smith denies any wrongdoing.

The federal court docket heard throughout cross-examination on Friday that two Afghan males had been allegedly killed, via two Australian infantrymen, in a construction in Darwan village marked via the Australian troops as Compound 31.

The newspapers of their defence allege that at the identical challenge to Darwan, Roberts-Smith murdered a person known as Ali Jan who were taken prisoner via Australian troops. Roberts-Smith is said to have walked Ali Jan, sure in handcuffs and blindfolded, to the threshold of a cliff, prior to kicking him within the chest, inflicting him to fall greater than 10 metres right into a dry riverbed.

Having walked down a footpad to the riverbed, it’s alleged Roberts-Smith ordered Ali Jan shot lifeless prior to his frame used to be dragged to a cornfield.

Australian soldier witnesses have given proof for the newspapers’ defence that they noticed Ali Jan being kicked from the cliff, and 3 Afghan nationals have additionally testified for the newspapers over his demise.

Roberts-Smith has denied the allegation, telling the court docket in his proof the person presupposed to be Ali Jan used to be a “spotter” found out hiding in a cornfield and wearing a radio, who refused an order to prevent. He used to be a valid goal, lawfully killed in keeping with the regulations of conflict.

Roberts-Smith has maintained he may no longer have killed the person as alleged as a result of there used to be no cliff from which to kick him. “There used to be no cliff … there used to be no kick,” he advised the court docket.

Whilst the demise of Ali Jan has been the topic of in depth proof on this trial, the allegation over the demise of Haji Nazar Gul, in a separate compound in Darwan at the identical day, has no longer up to now been raised in proof, and isn’t a part of the defamation trial.

All the way through cross-examination of Individual 35 via legal professionals for the newspapers on Friday, an ABC article entitled Dying in Darwan used to be entered into proof. The object quoted Darwan villagers who mentioned two males, considered one of whom used to be Gul, had been taken into an almond garage room via Australian infantrymen and shot lifeless.

Individual 35 mentioned the accounts had been “lies”. He showed prior to the court docket he and every other SAS soldier shot the 2 males, however mentioned the killing used to be lawful.

“The ones two insurgents we engaged in that compound had been legally engaged … they had been armed.”

Justice Anthony Besanko discussed to Individual 35 the immunity regime to be had to witnesses, however Individual 35 mentioned he didn’t want an immunity certificates to discuss the incident as a result of, he mentioned, he had finished not anything mistaken.

Individual 35 used to be additionally wondered over his felony illustration.

He advised the court docket he understood Kerry Stokes, chairman of the Seven Community, and Roberts-Smith’s employer, used to be paying his felony charges. The costs had been in reality being paid via Seven, a public corporate, till the association used to be published in court docket this week, when Seven requested Stokes’s non-public corporate, ACE, to suppose the debt.

Individual 35 mentioned he used to be blind to the association: “My figuring out used to be Mr Kerry Stokes used to be paying for it.”

Individual 35 advised the court docket he approached Roberts-Smith in quest of felony illustration as a result of he didn’t accept as true with the unfastened legal professionals introduced to him via the defence pressure for his interview with the inspector common of the defence pressure.

Nicholas Owens SC, performing for the newspapers, put it to Individual 35, he used to be a partisan witness, who believed his felony charges proceeding to be met used to be contingent on him “being on ‘Crew Roberts-Smith’” and giving proof in improve of Roberts-Smith.

“That’s flawed, your honour.”

Owens put it to Individual 35 he used to be “ready to deceive the court docket” to improve his good friend Roberts-Smith.

“That’s flawed … I’m right here to inform the reality.”

Roberts-Smith’s first soldier witness, identified prior to court docket as Individual 5, additionally showed throughout his cross-examination that he used to be being investigated over the prospective fee of conflict crimes.

Individual 5 agreed below cross-examination {that a} overall of 5 homicide allegations were made in opposition to the patrol he served on with Roberts-Smith: together with two alleged incidents at Whiskey 108 which shape a part of the newspapers’ defence on this case.

The opposite 3 incidents are speculated to have passed off in 2010 at a compound referred to as Whiskey 591.

Individual 5 advised the court docket he used to be interviewed via the inspector common of the ADF in 2018 over allegations of conflict crimes.

Individual 35 stays within the witness field. The trial, prior to Justice Besanko, continues.

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