VC winner accuses Nine of trying to influence investigation

 

Australia's most decora­ted war hero has accused Nine newspapers of writing false stories  about him to try to improperly influence an ongoing investigation into all­eged war crimes.

Victoria Cross recipient and Sunshine Coast resident Ben Roberts-Smith said: "It is very troubling that yet again Nine has published untrue allegations from unnamed sources about me."

A report in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald and The Age claimed the Australian Federal Police had referred the Afghanistan veteran to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to consider possible charges for ­alleged war crimes.

Lawyers acting for Mr Roberts-Smith issued a statement saying they had received confirmation from AFP investigators that no brief of evidence had been submitted and that the investigation is ongoing.

 

 

‘False stories’... Afghanistan veteran Ben Roberts-Smith. Picture: Toby Zerna
‘False stories’... Afghanistan veteran Ben Roberts-Smith. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

"I have consistently maintained my innocence to any such allegations," Mr Roberts-Smith said. "However, today's overreach by Nine is able to be exposed as false because the AFP has confirmed that what they have published in relation to a referral to the CDPP is not true.

"I can only speculate about where Nine is getting these claims from but I am very troubled as to whether the motivation ­behind these completely ­untrue stories that have been published by Nine is to attempt to improperly influence the ongoing investigations of both the Inspector-General of the ADF and the AFP," he said.

A spokeswoman for the AFP refused to go into detail. "Consistent with our usual ­approach to protecting the ­integrity of ongoing investigations, we do not disclose specific details," she said.

A spokeswoman for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age said: "The story about a brief of evidence being passed on to the CDPP was confirmed by multiple sources. We stand by it."

The story repeated claims that Mr Roberts-Smith kicked a defenceless prisoner off a cliff during a tour of Afghanistan in 2012. It said special forces soldiers had come forward with stories about him murdering other civilians.

 

Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG, with the Australian Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan. Picture: Supplied
Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG, with the Australian Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan. Picture: Supplied

 

 

"Regrettably, these false ­assertions have been published for some time by Nine," Mr Roberts-Smith said. But he said secrecy obligations placed him in the "invidious position" of not being able to publicly present the facts that showed them to be fake. "There have been dozens of stories now over several years falsely accusing me of being a war criminal, a murderer and a domestic abu­ser," he said.

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith said: "It is very troubling that yet again Nine has published untrue allegations from unnamed sources about me."

A report in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald and The Age claimed the Australian Federal Police had referred the Afghan veteran to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to face possible charges for alleged war crimes.

Lawyers acting for Mr Roberts-Smith issued a statement saying they had received confirmation from AFP investigators that no brief of evidence had been submitted and that the investigation is ongoing.

"I have consistently maintained my innocence to any such allegations," Mr Roberts-Smith said. "However, today's overreach by Nine is able to be exposed as false because the AFP has confirmed that what they have published in relation to a referral to the CDPP is not true.

"I can only speculate about where Nine is getting these claims from but I am very troubled as to whether the motivation behind these completely untrue stories that have been published by Nine is to attempt to improperly influence the ongoing investigations of both the Inspector-General of the ADF and the AFP," he said.

A spokeswoman for the AFP refused to go into detail. "Consistent with our usual approach to protecting the integrity of ongoing investigations, we do not disclose specific details," she said.

A spokeswoman for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age said: "The story about a brief of evidence being passed on to the CDPP was confirmed by multiple sources. We stand by it".

The story repeated claims that Mr Roberts-Smith kicked a defenceless prisoner off a cliff during a tour of Afghanistan in 2012. It said special forces soldiers had come forward with stories about him murdering other civilians.

"Regrettably, these false assertions have been published for some time by Nine," Mr Roberts Smith said. But he said secrecy obligations placed him in the "invidious position" of not being able to publicly present the facts that showed them to be fake.

"Today's story has been proven to be false," he said. "There have been literally dozens of stories now over several years falsely accusing me of being a war criminal, a murderer and a domestic abuser.

"I am extremely confident that these allegations will all be proven to be totally false and from the evidence in the defamation proceedings, Nine know them to be false," he said.

Originally published as VC winner accuses Nine of trying to influence investigation



BORDER MAYHEM: Huge traffic jams as people flock to QLD

Premium Content BORDER MAYHEM: Huge traffic jams as people flock to QLD

IT’S 11 hours since the QLD border bubble officially extended

What decision could mean for ‘intentional’ rural community

Premium Content What decision could mean for ‘intentional’ rural community

LANDOWNER’S consent is an “essential requirement for the determination of any...

Local businesses get set for QLD customer boom

Premium Content Local businesses get set for QLD customer boom

WITH the Queensland border reopening, many tourism businesses are keen to welcome...