SAS soldiers told commander that Ben Roberts-Smith not ‘fit and proper person’ to receive Victoria Cross, defamation trial hears

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A radical of SAS sergeants told SAS elder bid a decennary agone that Ben Roberts-Smith was unfit to beryllium awarded the Victoria Cross, alleging helium claimed battlefield kills made by different soldiers, and bullied and assaulted his comrades, the national tribunal has heard.

A serving large successful the SAS, anonymised earlier the tribunal arsenic Person 100 and giving grounds connected behalf of Roberts-Smith, told the tribunal that successful 2013, erstwhile helium was the SAS’s regimental sergeant major, helium was approached by 2 abstracted groups of soldiers who raised concerns astir Roberts-Smith not being “a acceptable and due person” to clasp Australia’s highest subject honour.

Roberts-Smith is suing the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times for defamation implicit a bid of ­reports helium alleges are defamatory and represent him arsenic committing war crimes, including murder.

The newspapers are pleading a defence of truth. Roberts-Smith denies immoderate wrongdoing.

But Person 100 said nary allegations of warfare crimes were raised, contradicting earlier grounds from soldiers who said they did study alleged warfare crimes, including murder, during the 2 meetings successful 2013.

At the 2013 meeting, 4 sergeants told Person 100 Roberts-Smith did not merit his Victoria Cross.

“I person concerns astir Mr Roberts-Smith being a acceptable and due idiosyncratic to beryllium awarded the Victoria Cross,” 1 soldier, known arsenic Person 7, told the meeting, according to Person 100’s testimony. “He has bullied maine and others, and had claimed to person carried retired actions that others believed they had carried out.”

One of the sergeants told the gathering Roberts-Smith’s reports of his enactment successful conflict were falsely inflated, the tribunal was told.

“I changeable an force combatant that Mr Roberts-Smith aboriginal claimed,” Person 43 told the meeting, according to Person 100’s grounds connected Monday.

The tribunal heard that 2 soldiers reported being physically assaulted, harassed, and bullied by Roberts-Smith. Person 100 said that 1 told him helium had been “bashed” by Roberts-Smith aft a failed mission, during which helium did not decently run his weapon, and was past “belittled” and humiliated for six years afterwards.

Person 100 told the tribunal those allegations of bullying would beryllium “followed up”. He said helium raised the complaints with the SAS’s commanding officer.

Roberts-Smith was awarded the VC successful 2011 for his actions during the 2010 conflict of Tizak.

The tribunal heard that 1 of the battlefield kills claimed by Roberts-Smith – an insurgent who was down a boulder – occurred astatine the extremity of the Tizak battle. Another worker besides claimed to person killed that insurgent, the tribunal heard.

Several soldiers contiguous astatine those meetings successful 2013 person told the tribunal they raised allegations of warfare crimes committed by Roberts-Smith with Person 100 during the meetings.

Person 18 said the regimental sergeant large was told of allegations Roberts-Smith had kicked a handcuffed captive disconnected a cliff during an SAS ngo successful Darwan, successful confederate Afghanistan, successful 2012, earlier ordering the antheral shot.

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“The RSM [regimental sergeant major] said, words to the effect of, ‘it was retired of his hands, it was mode implicit his head, helium honestly didn’t cognize what to bash with it’,” Person 18 told the court during his grounds successful March.

Person 100, a witnesser called by Roberts-Smith to springiness evidence, told the tribunal repeatedly connected Monday that nary soldiers raised immoderate allegations of warfare crimes with him during either of the meetings.

“I didn’t cognize astir warfare crimes allegations successful 2013.”

Under cross-examination from Nicholas Owens, SC, acting for the newspapers, it was enactment to Person 100 that helium was told of warfare crimes allegations but failed to act.

“You were told of allegations that successful 2012 a ‘PUC’ – idiosyncratic nether power – was kicked disconnected a cliff successful Darwan?”

“Incorrect sir,” Person 100 replied.

“You were told of warfare crimes successful 2009 [committed] astatine Whiskey 108,” Owens enactment to Person 100.

“Completely incorrect sir.”

Owens: “You didn’t study those allegations due to the fact that they progressive Mr Roberts-Smith.”

Person 100: “Incorrect. Because nary allegations were enactment to me.”

Person 100 denied helium had sought to support Roberts-Smith, and the estimation of the SAS regiment, by not decently investigating the allegations against Roberts-Smith.

The trial, earlier Justice Anthony Besanko, continues.