When some of the SAS witnesses Nine Entertainment subpoenaed refused to give evidence about alleged war crimes on the grounds of self-incrimination it was game, set and match as far as proving war crimes had been committed in Afghanistan.
After that it only had to be proven that Ben Roberts-Smith had committed war crimes which numerous witnesses had already accused Roberts-Smith of doing.
Any chance Roberts-Smith had of winning the defamation case against Nine’s papers relied on the witnesses he called to support him, in denying he had committed war crimes, being more credible than the witness Nine called accusing him of war crimes.
Ben Roberts-Smith’s whole case crashed once it was shown that Roberts-Smith and four of his witnesses colluded in giving false evidence about an Afghan soldier dubbed “Person 12” shooting a dog and being banned from patrolling with Australian soldiers.
“The evidence over the dog is potentially critical because the newspapers allege that Person 12 was present during a later Australian mission to Khaz Uruzgan in October 2012, and that Roberts-Smith ordered him to command one of his subordinates to kill a prisoner. Roberts-Smith told the court the allegation cannot be true because Person 12 wasn’t there.” (Click here to read more)
It turns out that Person 12 never shot the dog nor was he banned from patrolling with Australian soldiers and Ben Roberts-Smith later conceded that in court.
But it got worse when one of Ben Roberts-Smith’s witnesses in effect admitted he was coached by Ben Roberts-Smith’s lawyers. The Guardian Reported:
Another soldier, Person 27, told the court, “I never had direct knowledge of who shot the dog.” He said he was told Person 12’s name by Roberts-Smith’s lawyers, and they had written Person 12’s name in his outline of evidence.
Owens asked Person 27: “When is the first time that you can recall anybody telling you that Person 12 was the person who shot the dog and injured Person 57?”
“When I met with Ben’s lawyers,” Person 27 said. Asked who had first used the name of Person 12, Person 27 said: “Ben’s lawyers.”
He told the court after a teleconference with Roberts-Smith’s lawyers he was sent an outline of his proposed evidence before the court “which I was to correct”.
Nick Owens SC, acting for the newspapers told the court it was “utterly inconceivable that five people would make the same, precise, demonstrably false error” by innocent coincidence, and that the erroneous evidence represented a “fraud”.
“The fraud is the collusion between witnesses … multiple witnesses colluding together in relation to the evidence they will give at trial.” (Click here to read more)
I highly suspect the person who coached Person 27 was Justine Munsie from Addisons lawyers who also ran Kerry Stokes 4 SLAPP Lawsuits against me from 2014 to 2022.
I published an article in July 2022 titled “Nine accuse Ben Roberts-Smith of lying under oath, colluding with witnesses, intimidating witnesses and destroying evidence” which outlines some of Munsie’s handiwork in fabricating witness statements etc.
Justine Munsie wrote an affidavit for one of Ben Roberts-Smith’s witnesses in the defamation matter (Click here to see the affidavit) and her law firm, Addisons, is listed as one of the law firms representing at least one witness. (Click here to read the article)
But whoever the lawyer was who coached Person 27 is not important as far as the defamation case in concerned, but the fact that Person 27 admitted he was coached is.
Once it was proven that Ben Roberts-Smith and four of his witnesses had colluded to give false evidence, with the help of the lawyer who coached Person 27, then their credibility was destroyed.
Then add the witness collusion and lawyer witness coaching to the other allegations and evidence against Ben Roberts-Smith such as:
- Destroying evidence by burning his laptop.
- Asking his ex-wife to lie about his affair or she would lose the children.,
- Intimidating witnesses such as the false complaint to the AFP about Person 6 having weapons who then raided Person 6’s house.
- Sending threatening letters from a Channel Seven office.
- His meetings with former AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty to get inside information from the AFP about the AFP’s investigation into his alleged war crimes.
The list of things that Ben Roberts-Smith did in Australia trying to manipulate the result of the defamation court case is a mile long and almost all of it was exposed in court during the trial. It resulted in Ben Roberts-Smith and his witnesses having no creditability and meant the judge could not possibly find in Ben Roberts-Smith’s favour.
Kerry Stokes credibility
Billionaire Seven owner Kerry Stokes financed Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case, has so far stood by him although Roberts-Smith has resigned from Seven. Seven were initially paying for Ben Roberts-Smith but when exposed Stokes quickly transferred the cost to his private company.
Kerry Stokes ran the legal strategy, with his employee Bruce McWilliam overseeing the strategy on a day to day basis. It is also Kerry Stokes who will decide whether to appeal or not.
Nine Entertainment have flagged going after a third party for costs as well as Ben Roberts-Smith and that third party could only be Kerry Stokes and/or Seven. Nine have also flagged going for indemnity costs which is a higher rate than the normal costs which is about 70% of costs.
Nine will argue something along the lines that the matter should have never been filed or that Stokes should have stopped funding it when Roberts-Smith’s lies were exposed in court, so Kerry Stokes credibility is relevant.
Kerry Stokes has claimed that he believed Ben Roberts-Smith was innocent of war crimes which I have no doubt Stokes is lying. Stokes is morally and ethically bankrupt and he would not care about war crimes but even if he did believe Roberts-Smith was innocent there were numerous times throughout the court case which made it blatantly obvious that Roberts-Smith was lying, lying a lot and could not be believed and Stokes should have stopped funding the matter.
Kerry Stokes lied under oath just like Ben Roberts-Smith in the infamous C7 matter
In 2007 a judgment was handed down in the Kerry Stokes instituted matter Seven Network Limited v News Limited. It was a matter where Kerry Stokes’ Seven sued 22 parties which included News Corp, Channel 9, Channel 10, Foxtel, Telstra, Optus and the NRL etc claiming they colluded to destroy his pay TV business C7.
Stokes lost and Seven had to pay an estimated $200 million in total costs.
The C7 matter is relevant because Stokes knows the law well in this area and he would know he should have stopped funding the Ben Roberts-Smith case as soon as it became obvious there was no legitimate defamation claim.
It worth noting in the C7 matter Justice Ronald Sackville said, in relation to the evidence Kerry Stokes said on the witness stand, at paragraphs 393, 394 and the start of 396.
393 A trial judge in civil proceedings should exercise caution before pronouncing that a witness has given deliberately false evidence. Often it is necessary only to determine whether the witness’ evidence, insofar as it is relevant to the issues, should be accepted in whole, in part or not at all. It may not matter very much, for the purposes of deciding the litigation, whether a witness found to be unreliable has told deliberate untruths or has given unsatisfactory evidence for other reasons.
394 However, in this case a sustained and vigorous attack was mounted against Mr Stokes’ credit, including his honesty as a witness. I think it appropriate to observe that, although some of the particular attacks on Mr Stokes’ credit lacked cogency, there were occasions on which, in my opinion, he gave evidence that he knew was not true. One example was a particularly unconvincing denial that he did not share the objective of others within Seven of ‘ramping’ the price that News (through Fox Sports) would ultimately have to pay for the NRL pay television rights by outbidding Seven. Mr Stokes participated in a conference at which the objective was discussed and, on his own admission, said nothing to dissociate himself from the views expressed there. Mr Gammell gave evidence that everyone at the meeting agreed with the ramping objective. Internal Seven documentation makes it clear that ramping was, at the very least, a critical (if not the only) objective underlying the bidding by Seven for the NRL pay television rights. Mr Stokes’ evidence on this issue was not only implausible but, I must conclude, deliberately false.
396 Having said that, it is also appropriate to record my view that the unreliability of Mr Stokes’ evidence was, in part, a product of his reconstruction of events through the prism of self-interest, layered with more than a little wishful thinking.
What Justice Ronald Sackville said about Kerry Stokes’ lies in the C7 matter I expect will be very similar to what Justice Anthony Besanko says about the lies of Ben Roberts-Smith and his witnesses.
The costs matter will be set down for hearing in the next month or two and if Stokes refuses to pay what Nine want he might be required to give evidence which I am sure Stokes would have a fear of doing given the hiding he received from Justice Sackville after his last stint on the witness stand.
It was SAS soldiers who blew the whistle on Ben Roberts-Smiths crimes and SAS soldiers who told the truth at the defamation trial, because they knew right from wrong, that brought Ben Roberts-Smith down. We should all thank the SAS soldiers who blew the whistle and gave honest evidence.
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