Thursday, March 23, 2023

‘Did we just witness an execution?’: Former SAS soldier describes alleged killing by Ben Roberts-Smith

The media outlets are seeking to rely on a defense of truth and allege Mr Roberts-Smith committed or was involved in six murders of Afghans under the control of Australian troops, when they cannot be killed under the rules of engagement. Mr Roberts-Smith has said any killings were carried out lawfully in the heat of battle.

Mr Roberts-Smith’s barrister, Arthur Moses, SC, put it to Person 24 that his evidence about the alleged killing was false.

“I wouldn’t be in a court of law giving that evidence if it was false. I’ve just sworn an oath, Mr Moses,” Person 24 replied.

Asked how he knew the man he saw was Mr Roberts-Smith, he said it was the soldier’s size and gait.

“I could not see his face; they were camouflaged. I couldn’t see face definition,” he said.

He said the Afghan man killed by Mr Roberts-Smith had a prosthetic leg, which was removed from the body by another soldier, Person 6.


Under cross-examination by Mr Moses, he agreed that he was in regular contact with Person 14. He was aware that Person 14 had given evidence in the case and said that he “gave him a welfare call on the night he was in here” in court for the first time.

“I just asked him how he was going; he was all right. He said it was tough. He mentioned that you went at him like a rabid dog,” he told Mr Moses. He said that he spoke to Person 14 again when he completed his evidence and “he was really, really relieved to be out of here”.

Person 24 told the court he had also witnessed a soldier known as Person 5, the commander of Mr Roberts-Smith’s troop, coming to the door of his patrol room before the Whiskey 108 mission “in a jovial manner, dancing a bit of a jig ” He said Person 5 said: “We are going to blood the rookie.”

He understood that to mean that “they were going to facilitate or put [a soldier known as Person 4] … in a position where he could get a kill under his name”, Person 24 said.

He said he witnessed Person 5 “screaming” at Person 4 to join him inside Whiskey 108 in 2009.

A serving SAS soldier dubbed Person 41 has previously told the court that he witnessed Mr Roberts-Smith grabbing an Afghan man inside that compound, kneeling him in front of Person 4 and directing him to shoot the man.

The trial continues.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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