SAS used as pawns to topple Ben Roberts-Smith, lawyer tells court

Nine’s war crimes defense against Ben Roberts-Smith’s lawsuit “has more holes than Swiss cheese” and Australian heroes were used as “pawns” in murder charges, the elite soldier’s legal team told the court.

After years of preparation and months of gathering evidence, Mr Roberts-Smith’s marathon defamation trial is in its final days in Sydney’s Federal Court.

A senior soldier is suing nine newspapers over a 2018 series of articles alleging he killed six unarmed Afghans while serving with the SAS.

He flatly denies their claims, Nine insists they are true.

Both legal teams are now tying the evidence together in closing statements designed to convince Judge Anthony Besanco to rule in their favor in a case of international concern.

One of Ninth’s central claims is that Mr. Roberts-Smith was involved in two executions within minutes. raid on Taliban base Easter Sunday 2009

The court heard that the complex, known as Whiskey 108, hid an unusual tunnel underneath.

Nine claims that two men emerged from the tunnel – one with a fake leg, the other an elderly one – and both were detained by the SAS.

The newspapers say that Mr. Roberts-Smith instructed a junior soldier, known as Man 4borrow a silencer from another SAS soldier to headshot an elderly Afghan inside the compound.

The newspapers and some SAS witnesses also allege that Mr. Roberts-Smith executed an Afghan with a fake leg by dragging him outside Whiskey 108 and machine-gunning him with a Minimi.

“I think it was a show execution (Mr. Roberts-Smith) wanted people to see that someone was going to be killed there in front of everyone,” a SAS Person 24 soldier told the court in his testimony earlier this year .

Mr Roberts-Smith denies anyone was found in the tunnel and insists no one was executed.

His lawyer said on Monday that Ninth’s story failed to answer two glaring contradictions.

First, according to the lawyer, the tunnel area was very busy, but only one SAS witness claimed to have been nearby when Man 4 allegedly executed an elderly Afghan.

“This tunnel yard was an enclosed space where all these people were at that time,” Mr. Moses said.

“There were more people there than at the mall on Rundle Street on Saturday afternoon, but no one saw it? Nobody heard?

The second controversy, according to Mr. Moses, was that Nine claimed that Mr. Roberts-Smith tried to cover up one execution with a silencer, but brazenly executed a second Afghan with an extremely loud Minimi machine gun.

“There is an inconsistency in Nine’s case that has more holes than Swiss cheese,” Moses said.

Person 4 refused to testify about Whiskey 108, but testified under a immunity certificate about his alleged involvement in the second decisive raid in 2012.

Person 4 told the court that he saw Mr. Roberts-Smith push a farmer off a steep cliff into a dry creek bed in the city of Darvan in September of that year.

The SAS soldier claims that he and his best friend, Man 11, dragged an injured farmer across the creek before being executed by Man 11 in front of Mr. Roberts-Smith.

Nine claimed it was a murder and a cover-up that came to light after an emotionally distressed Man 4 told the senior soldiers about it, who went to the media.

The court heard that one of Ninth’s central sources is a senior SAS soldier known as Man 7, who, among many others, shared accusations of hitting a rock.

Man 7 told the court that he was having serious problems with awarding Mr. Roberts-Smith the most prestigious military award – the Victoria Cross.

Mr. Moses said on Monday that Man 7 used Man 4 as a “pawn” to overthrow Roberts-Smith.

The attempt to take down Mr. Roberts-Smith resulted in the unstable Man 4 also being framed as the killer, the lawyer told the court.

“(Man 4) is an Australian hero,” Moses said.

“He had many problems and difficulties, but Face 7 used him as a weapon in the war he sought to wage against Mr. White. Robert Smith over the Victoria Cross.

Other witnesses, according to Mr. Moses, gave false testimony and by the time they finished testifying were “making up lies.”

The closing arguments continue.

Originally published as Roberts-Smith case ‘more holes than Swiss cheese’