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Ben Roberts-Smith tells defamation trial Victoria Cross ‘put a target on my back’

Ben Roberts-Smith has informed a courtroom that a Victoria Cross for his actions in Afghanistan in 2010 “put a target” on his again for different troopers to undermine him.

Mr Roberts-Smith on Friday resumed giving proof at his Federal Court defamation trial launched in opposition to the publishers of the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times.

The former soldier is suing the retailers over media studies from 2018 associated to his army service in Afghanistan that he says depict him as a legal who breached the ethical and authorized guidelines of army engagement.

The embellished veteran denies all allegations in opposition to him, whereas the publishers put ahead a reality defence.

In his second day within the witness field, Mr Roberts-Smith recounted particulars of the SAS motion on the Battle of Tizak for which he was awarded the VC, Australia’s highest army honour.

The courtroom was informed he and different SAS troopers had been pinned down on June 11, 2010 when the previous corporal determined to threat his life and have interaction machine weapons, killing a number of insurgents.

Seventy-six insurgents had been killed, which Mr Roberts-Smith described as “extremely significant” within the context of the Afghanistan battle.

“Everybody fought with bravery, everybody fought with gallantry,” he stated.

He choked again tears when recalling that one of many killed insurgents was aged about 15, including that was a part of the battle that he struggled with regardless of it falling inside the guidelines of engagement.

Barrister Bruce McClintock is representing Ben Roberts-Smith.

Barrister Bruce McClintock is representing Ben Roberts-Smith.


He rejected particulars of the battle given by one other SAS soldier, codenamed individual seven, whose account queried the heaviness of machine gunfire at Tizak.

“On the day he wasn’t there, he didn’t see it.”

Mr Roberts-Smith later stated of individual seven: “He could not get over the fact I had a Victoria Cross”.

The courtroom was informed the award of the VC to Mr Roberts-Smith modified the perspective of some fellow troopers in direction of him and have become his “cross to bear”.

“It put a target on my back,” he informed the courtroom.

He stated the award made him a “tall poppy” and “broadened” assaults on him from different troopers who needed to undermine him out of “pure spite”.

“You take it on the chin and you keep moving forward,” he stated.

The courtroom heard on a 2012 deployment different troopers “white-anted” the struggle hero together with by writing “childish things” on a board to stir resentment resembling: “RS just trying to get another medal”.

In his proof Mr Roberts-Smith additionally denied saying in Afghanistan that he needed to choke somebody and watch the life “drain out” of his eyes.

“That is not how I speak,” he stated.

Mr Roberts-Smith has beforehand labelled the claims in opposition to him as devastating, saying he spent his life preventing for his nation and did all the things he may to behave on the sector of battle with honour.

The former SAS corporal has on the trial denied that he killed a captured Afghan rebel, bullied one other SAS soldier, or punched and kneed a detained Afghan male.

He has additionally disputed assertions he drank from the prosthetic leg of a killed rebel, however has stated he would not have a drawback with “gallows humour” as a technique to desensitise from horrors of fight.

The judge-alone trial, set to run for 10 weeks, is anticipated to listen to testimony from 21 present and former SAS members in addition to a quantity Afghan villagers.

Mr Roberts-Smith’s proof is anticipated to maneuver to closed courtroom later on Friday.

The trial continues earlier than Justice Anthony Besanko.

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Monday, June 21, 2021
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Updated on June 21, 2021 1:59 pm

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