Ben Roberts-Smith says ADF documents don’t show teenager executed

Nine newspapers allege that Ben Roberts-Smith executed a captured teenager at a remote outpost in Afghanistan, but that brutal accusation appears to have been dealt a devastating blow after a court heard official military documents showing the young Afghan was released alive.

The elite soldier’s legal team also stated that he was the victim of a man desperate to save a relationship.

Mr. Roberts-Smith sued nine newspapers for libel, saying they falsely accused him of killing six unarmed Afghans while serving with the SAS.

Nine insists that the 2018 articles on the recipient of the Victoria Cross are correct.

One of the allegations is that a group of four Afghan men were pulled over while driving a HiLux vehicle with improvised explosives near the city of Fasil, and its occupants were detained by the SAS.

Mr. Roberts-Smith denies Nine’s claim that he executed a teenager from the group with a pistol and boasts that the headshot was “the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

Nine showed the court photographs of other prisoners, which were numbered, at the Australian base at Taryn Kovt, and one prisoner’s number was missing.

The missing photograph of a prisoner was said to indicate that one detainee was executed by Mr. Roberts-Smith.

But during Tuesday’s final presentations, Mr. Roberts-Smith’s lawyer, Arthur Morses SC, said Australian Defense Force documents made for this SAS mission tell a different story.

“This is a serious charge … of murder, which was proposed in this case, creates a problem for (Nine); there are no eyewitnesses who saw this alleged execution,” Mr. Moses said.

“Contemporary Defense Force documents that we prevented in our files confirm the release of a male teenage prisoner.”

“And that explains why there is no photograph of him taken in Taryn Kovt.”

The documents were not released to the public and were shown to Judge Anthony Besanco in a closed court session, away from the public, including members of the media.

Mr. Moses said the documents mean there was only one single voice left in Nine’s case to support the Fasila murder charge – an SAS soldier known as Person 16.

The 16 man, in testimony earlier this year, told the court that he helped detain Afghans.

The young Afghan was “shaking like a leaf” before Mr. Roberts-Smith took him away, Person 16 testified.

Person 16 said he later asked Mr. Roberts-Smith what happened to the frightened teenager.

“I shot that shit in the head,” says Man 16, Mr. Roberts-Smith replied.

“(I) blew his brains out, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Mr. Roberts-Smith dismissed the allegation outright, and his legal team called him the words “ostentatious psychopath.”

Mr Moses said on Tuesday that Nine only relied on Man 16’s words because “there was nothing else” to prove the murder charge.

The court also heard that Roberts-Smith had an explosive affair with a woman known as Face 17, whom he accuses of physical abuse.

Mr. Roberts-Smith denied ever touching Face 17 and said he only saw the woman when separated from his wife.

Person 17 testified to the court that she ran into Mr Roberts-Smith’s wife at the family home after seeing him off at Queensland Airport.

One of Mr. Roberts-Smith’s lawyers, Matthew Richardson, S.K., said it was not the behavior of a woman intimidated by her physically abusive partner.

“This was a deliberate act that could not have been done for any other reason than to destroy his reputation… this is not the act of someone in love, but the act of someone intending to cause harm,” said he.

The final submissions in Federal Court continue this week, representing the final attempt by both legal teams to convince Judge Besanco at the end of a long trial.

Originally published as Lawyers for Ben Roberts-Smith make explosive statements during trial

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