Commonwealth application may delay SAS soldier’s defamation judgment; Anthony Besanko prepares to hand down findings


Roberts-Smith – Australia’s most embellished dwelling soldier – alleges The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Instances wrongly accused him of battle crimes, bullying a fellow soldier, and an act of home violence towards a former lover in a collection of six tales revealed in 2018.

Half of these articles, written by award-winning investigative journalists Nick McKenzie and Chris Masters, are on-line variations of print tales.

Journalists Chris Masters and Nick McKenzie.

Journalists Chris Masters and Nick McKenzie.Credit score: 9

Roberts-Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross, Australia’s highest army honour, in 2011 for his actions in a 2010 battle in Tizak, Afghanistan.

Besanko should determine whether or not the defamatory meanings alleged by the previous SAS corporal have been conveyed by the articles and whether or not Roberts-Smith was recognized by the studies, 4 of which didn’t title him, after which contemplate any defences as required.

The newspapers say the primary 4 articles didn’t establish Roberts-Smith and none conveyed the meanings alleged, however they search to rely mainly on a defence of reality to any of the meanings discovered to have been conveyed.

As a part of their reality defence, the newspapers allege Roberts-Smith was concerned within the homicide of 5 unarmed prisoners whereas on deployment in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2012, opposite to the principles of engagement that certain the SAS. Roberts-Smith denies the claims.

Former defence minister Brendan Nelson and Ben Roberts-Smith.

Former defence minister Brendan Nelson and Ben Roberts-Smith.Credit score: Andrew Meares

Beneath the reality defence, the media shops wanted to show on the stability of chances – that means it was extra probably than not – that Roberts-Smith was concerned within the homicide of the 5 unarmed prisoners, amongst different claims.

Whereas that is much less onerous than the prison commonplace of proof past affordable doubt, the so-called Briginshaw precept applies in civil instances involving severe allegations and requires courts to proceed cautiously in making grave findings.

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