Alleged war criminal Ben Roberts-Smith confessed to several crimes in Australia when he gave evidence in his defamation case and his evidence on a number of other matters was implausible which could lead to more charges and that is even before any consideration is given to his alleged war crimes. So, why haven’t the federal police charged him?
Ben Roberts-Smith confessed crimes
Ben Roberts-Smith admitted in the witness stand that he had classified material on USB sticks:
The SMH reported:
Lawyer for the newspapers Nicholas Owens, SC, put to Mr Roberts-Smith that “highly classified” drone footage of a mission dubbed “Whisky 108” was among information sent to him on USB sticks. The “four or five” sticks were sent anonymously in the post, including to Mr Roberts-Smith’s workplace, Channel Seven.
“At some point you must have realised that at least some of the material on the USBs was classified or secret Commonwealth material?” lawyer for the newspapers, Mr Owens asked. “Yes,” Mr Roberts-Smith responded.
“And you agree, don’t you, that you are not authorised to retain secret or classified Commonwealth material at your home address?” Mr Owens said. “That’s my understanding,” Mr Roberts-Smith replied. (Click here to read more)
Ben Roberts-Smith also has admitted receiving leaked material from the Brereton inquiry into war crimes and the leaking and receiving of material from that inquiry could also be a crime.
Other potential crimes
There are numerous other possible criminal charges that Ben Roberts-Smith could face including attempting to have someone falsely charged with a crime:
A former soldier who war veteran Ben Roberts-Smith suspected of making damaging claims about him to the media had his home raided by police after a private investigator hired by the decorated soldier made a complaint about him to the Australian Federal Police.
Mr Roberts-Smith, a Victoria Cross recipient, conceded at his defamation trial in the Federal Court that he had told the private investigator that a former Special Air Service (SAS) comrade known as Person 6 had smuggled unregistered guns into Afghanistan in 2012 and still had one of the weapons in his possession in Australia.
He said during cross-examination that he told the private investigator, John McLeod, it was “fine with me” if he passed the information on to his contacts or friends in the Australian Federal Police (AFP). However, Mr Roberts-Smith insisted he didn’t “instruct [Mr McLeod] to do anything”.
Mr Roberts-Smith said he had come to regard Person 6 as his enemy in about 2010, and by 2017 he believed the soldier was part of a whispering campaign against him in the media. (Click here to read more)
Ben Roberts-Smith also used the same private investigator to spy on his alleged mistress which is not illegal but it goes a long way to showing the mindset of Roberts-Smith:
Former special forces soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has told a court that he hired a private investigator to follow a woman with whom he had been having a relationship to check whether she had an abortion because he suspected she was lying about being pregnant. (Click here to read more)
Should the AFP charge Ben Roberts-Smith now
It is standard procedure that if someone is facing criminal charges and there is a civil court case dealing with the same issues then the civil case will be stayed until the criminal charges are dealt with. By the police not charging Ben Roberts-Smith they are letting him dig a huge hole for himself with the defamation case. But do the police have a duty to charge him now?
That is what happened with Craig McLachlan who sued for defamation but when he was charged by the police the defamation case was stayed until the criminal matter was dealt with. McLachlan beat the criminal charge but with the evidence that came out during the trial and the damming judgment means it is unlikely McLachlan would win the defamation case which has gone nowhere since.
Maybe the police are hoping that Ben Roberts-Smith will win his defamation case and they will use that as a reason not to charge him. Or maybe the police are too worried about the political and media (Channel 7) backlash if they charge Roberts-Smith now and they are waiting for him to lose the defamation case so they can use that as some justification to charge him.
Alleged war crimes – Kerry Stokes paying the bill for Ben Roberts-Smith and others
It is well known that billionaire Channel Seven owner Kerry Stokes is paying Ben Roberts-Smith legal bills and this line popped up in a SMH article which shows that Kerry Stokes right-hand man Bruce McWilliam is running the court case:
Mr Roberts-Smith was contacted for comment through a public relations agency. The request for comment was forwarded to Channel Seven commercial director Bruce McWilliam, who did not provide a response on record. (Click here to read more) Mr McWilliam and his wife Nicky are friends with numerous NSW Supreme Court judges which makes me wonder if Mr McWilliam is friends with any judges of Federal Court of Australia where Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case is being heard.
Kerry Stokes is also alleged to being paying for the legal fees of other soldiers accused of war crimes who are giving evidence for Ben Roberts-Smith. War Crimes whistleblower David McBride tweeted the below: (Click here to see on Twitter)
Ben Roberts-Smith court case has been adjourned for a couple of weeks because it is being heard in Sydney, which is in covid lockdown, but it will start again on Monday (26/7/21) for at least a few days to hear from witnesses in Afghanistan. There has also been a request for the case to moved interstate so it can resume faster because Ben Roberts-Smith barrister claims the “mental health of witnesses” is deteriorating.
It has also been said that Ben Roberts-Smith mental health is not good, and his life is on hold until the case is finalised. But the case will almost certainly be appealed by whoever loses and might even make it to the High Court of Australia so the case could last another couple of years until all avenues of appeal are exhausted. And if Ben Roberts-Smith is charged with criminal offences then he will likely be in and out of court for years to come.
I have no doubt that in the future Ben Roberts-Smith will look back and realise one of the biggest mistakes he has ever made was listening to Kerry Stokes and suing for defamation because all he has done is expose himself to possible police charges other than the alleged war crimes.
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