CM – Roberts-Smith threatened to sue ex, the court hears

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Ben Roberts-Smith threatened to sue his ex-wife when she tries to testify in his upcoming defamation battle against the decorated ex-soldier.

The recipient of the Victoria Cross is suing The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald over reports of committing war crimes and slapping his mistress in the face while serving in Afghanistan.

He says reports alleging bullying and intimidation and killing six Afghans outside of combat portrayed him as a criminal.

The federal court was told Thursday that Mr Roberts-Smith had sent a legal letter to his ex-wife Emma Roberts who was expected to testify on his behalf, who will now appear as a witness for the newspapers at his upcoming trial.

« (Mr Roberts-Smith) threatened her with an injunction and threatened to sue her for damages, » Nicholas Owens, SC, attorney, who worked for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, told the court.

The court was told that Ms. Smith’s evidence related to allegations that Mr. Roberts-Smith buried a USB drive in a pink plastic children’s lunch box in his backyard.

One report alleged that the USB contained classified documents and videos that could relate to alleged war crimes.

The court was informed that it was alleged that Mr. Roberts-Smith removed the USBs from his property on or about June 5th.

Mr Owens told Justice Anthony Besanko that Mr Roberts-Smith essentially admitted the drives were there because he told the Attorney General that they contained « national security information ».

Mr Roberts-Smith’s attorney Bruce McClintock SC said Mr Roberts-Smith needed to notify the attorney general because the drives contained pictures of other SAS soldiers.

The court was told that the pictures were taken at the Fat Ladies Arms, an unauthorized military bar in the Australian special forces unit.

Mr. McClintock advised the court that Mr. Roberts-Smith would testify in court and was anxious to defend himself against the allegations against him.

« My client wants to take the stand to expose the lies they are told … he is eager to do so, » said McClintock.

Mr Roberts-Smith resigned from his role as General Manager of Channel 7 Queensland this week to focus on his upcoming litigation.

In an email to staff on Monday, James Warburton, chief executive officer of Seven West Media said Mr. Roberts-Smith would be on vacation until the completion of his eight-week trial, which is slated to begin June 7th.

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