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Ben Roberts-Smith to appeal after landmark defamation lawsuit loss

Veteran Ben Roberts-Smith plans to appeal after losing a landmark defamation lawsuit against three newspapers.

The Victoria Cross recipient sued the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Canberra Times over an article published in 2018.

Last month, Judge Anthony Besanco dismissed the proceedings, finding there was substantial truth under civil standards in four allegations of unlawful killing and bullying in Afghanistan.

Lawyers for Roberts Smith filed a notice of appeal in federal court on Tuesday after receiving an extension to the normal start date.

In the full 730-page ruling, Judge Besanco said the former elite soldier was “… not an honest and credible witness in many areas.”

It also turns out that there are multiple reasons for lying, including financial motives to support a claim for damages, reputational restoration, and motives to resist the findings of an investigation against him.

Roberts Smith, who did not appear in court on the day of the judgment and was in Bali for the week, had previously said he did not agree with the verdict.

He told Nine he was “devastated” by the result.

“This is a terrible result, a wrong result,” he said as he flew to Perth.

Ben Roberts Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross in 2011.()

Nine’s managing director of publishing, James Chessel, said in a statement that he would oppose the appeal.

“We believe the federal court’s ruling is comprehensive and decisive,” he said.

“We will always defend journalism in the public interest.”

The question of who will pay the huge legal costs continues to be fought in the courts.

Earlier this month, Judge Besanco was reported to have accepted Roberts Smith’s compensation payments after March 2020, although disputes continued over who should bear the cost claims incurred before then. there is

Investigative journalist Chris Masters, the defendant in the case, previously said about $30 million was spent on his successful defense.

Publisher Nine Entertainment is seeking a third-party expense order against former employers of veterans Seven Network and Kelly Stokes’ private company.

The two companies had loan agreements with Roberts Smith at different times.

Nine recently secured a narrow victory in a lawsuit seeking a cost order, and a judge granted subpoenas to two law firms that were present in the Roberts Smith legal battle on behalf of both companies.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-07-11/nsw-ben-roberts-smith-to-appeal-after-losing-defamation-case/102587878 Ben Roberts-Smith to appeal after landmark defamation lawsuit loss

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