EXCLUSIVE: Ben Roberts-Smith has been purchasing at Woolies and exercising within the park with a brand new blonde coach as he waits for Monday’s resolution on whether or not the Covid-19 lockdown will critically delay his trial.
The warfare hero and the coach did a lunchtime session at Redfern Oval on Saturday, skipping below a vibrant blue sky.
Requested how he’s dealing with Sydney’s prolonged lockdown, the ex-soldier merely instructed news.com.au: “Coaching.”
The towering determine has grow to be a well-known sight across the inside southern suburbs of Sydney as town’s Delta pressure outbreak has shut down court docket hearings of his trial.
Additionally noticed stocking up at Dan Murphy’s in Alexandria, the 203cm-tall Victoria Cross recipient has fortunately posed with locals for selfies.
A essential resolution in regards to the pressures on trial witnesses and sittings might be made on Monday by Justice Anthony Besanko in a NSW Supreme Courtroom video-link listening to.
Coinciding with Sydney’s Delta outbreak has been the Taliban’s comeback in Afghanistan after the allied troop withdrawal, which might have an effect on the testimony of 4 Afghan villagers.
Mr Roberts-Smith, who usually resides in Queensland, has been residing in southern Sydney following the beginning in June of his defamation trial in opposition to the 9 media group.
Final week Mr Roberts-Smith’s barrister Bruce McClintock, SC, advised the hearings might need to be moved to Adelaide, or to Perth.
Mr Roberts-Smith is suing 9 media and three journalists for articles revealed in three newspapers from the second half of 2018.
He says the stories falsely declare he dedicated a number of warfare crimes, bullied different troopers and that he assaulted a girls with whom he was having an affair.
Trial witnesses testifying for either side embrace SAS troopers, lots of whom reside in Western Australia, the place at the moment a “onerous border” with NSW is in place.
Different witnesses, together with Mr Roberts-Smith’s ex-wife, her schoolfriend Danielle Scott, and the soldier’s ex-mistress Individual 17 reside interstate and can be topic to quarantine.
9 media’s attorneys advised the 4 Afghan witnesses might journey to Kabul to testify by way of audio-visual hyperlink (AVL) from the workplace of an area authorized agency for as much as every week from July 26.
Previous to the present prolonged lockdown, this was the date when the trial was meant to renew.
Nevertheless, Mr McClintock stated on July 14 that the Sydney courtroom listening to, wherein the Afghan witnesses would seem by way of AVL, was “imperilled by the Delta outbreak”.
“There must be an in-person listening to in closed court docket in Sydney that might contain at the very least 20 folks,” he stated.
“We would want eight folks at the very least want and an interpreter. Social distancing can be not possible.
“If one individual carries the virus, everybody has to isolate.”
The Afghan testimony is additional sophisticated by the very fact the principal Pashto language interpreter might be translating by way of AVL from Ontario, Canada.
Final week, Mr McClintock stated the US lawyer in Kabul, Thomas Kraemer, from whose workplace the 4 Afghans would seem, had stated town was “comparatively protected”.
He stated Mr Kraemer had confirmed “not one of the bigger cities are in jeopardy” of Taliban assault.
Earlier than the present Covid-19 lockdown, the anticipated three-month trial ran for simply over three weeks, throughout which Mr Roberts-Smith spent virtually every single day within the witness field.
With a short adjournment because the SAS veteran was examined for Covid-19 after visiting a metropolis fitness center scorching spot, he spent most of his time below cross-examination by 9’s attorneys.
Nicholas Owens, SC, instructed Justice Besanko that however the size of Sydney’s lockdown, different states and particularly Western Australia tended to delay opening borders even after NSW had relaxed them.
Barristers concerned within the Ben Roberts-Smith trial, together with one among his attorneys Arthur Moses, SC, are engaged in different proceedings which might conflict with this trial if its timetable is drawn out.
Mr Moses will cross-examine the 21 SAS troopers and former comrades of Ben Roberts-Smith who’re as a result of give proof in opposition to him.
Mr Roberts-Smith is suing over articles revealed in three newspapers which then belonged to the now defunct Fairfax Media.
The articles allege he was concerned in six warfare crimes from 5 Afghanistan missions between 2009 and 2012, in addition to a home violence assault in March 2018.
The alleged warfare crimes included claims Mr Roberts-Smith personally murdered unarmed Afghans, was complicit of their homicide or allegedly ordering novice troopers to take action in acts described as “blooding the rookie”.
Mr Roberts-Smith, who denies all of 9’s claims, instructed the Federal Courtroom in June: “I’ve by no means killed an unarmed prisoner.”
The 2 predominant incidents 9 alleges are the 2012 capturing on the village of Darwan of a person 9 alleges Mr Roberts-Smith kicked off a cliff, and the 2009 capturing of a person with a prosthetic leg at a Taliban stronghold referred to as Whiskey 108.
The prosthetic leg was taken by one other soldier again to the Australian SAS headquarters at Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan the place it was put in within the troopers’ bar, the Fats Woman’s Arms.
Troopers had been photographed consuming beer from it, though Mr Roberts-Smith stated he had by no means achieved so.
Mr Roberts-Smith denies the lads shot had been unarmed or had been disarmed after being made an individual below management – referred to as a PUC – once they had been killed.
The unique tales 9 revealed didn’t identify him, however described an tall Australian SAS soldier dubbed Leonidas, a Spartan warrior.
Mr Roberts-Smith has the tattoo of a Spartan helmet on his proper ribcage and former Australian Warfare Memorial director Dr Brendan Nelson, instructed the court docket he was “immediately recognisable” because the Leonidas determine.
Mr Roberts-Smith can be suing over articles which did identify him as having allegedly punched the lady, Individual 17, within the face at a Canberra resort.
He vehemently denies assaulting Individual 17, or “any girl” and says she grew to become intoxicated at a operate they attended with then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
He says Individual 17 then fell down stairs and injured her left eye within the fall.
9’s defence will even name as a witness John McLeod, the personal eye he engaged to tail Individual 17 when she claimed to be attending a Brisbane abortion clinic for a being pregnant termination.
Mr Roberts-Smith’s attorneys indicated that in the event that they gained their case they might be in search of a file, uncapped sum of damages to compensate for his lack of earnings and a “destroyed” status.
Previous to 9’s marketing campaign of articles, the soldier had solid a profession as a public speaker and labored alongside anti-domestic violence advocate Rosie Batty.
Mr Owens for 9’s defence stated the alleged six murders concerned “individuals who have been unambiguously positioned below the management of the Australian armed forces”.
He stated that “below the Geneva Conventions as soon as an individual has been positioned below management … irrespective of if he stands out as the most brutal, vile member of the Taliban ever, an Australia soldier can’t kill them”.
“To take action is homicide,” he stated.
Requested by Mr McClintock what his response was to being described by Mr Owens as “a mass assassin”, Mr Roberts-Smith stated he was each offended and unhappy.
“I spent my life combating for my nation. I did the whole lot I probably might to make sure I did it with honour,” he stated.
“I listened to that … and it breaks my coronary heart truly. It’s devastating, fairly frankly.”