News

Ben Roberts-Smith‘s witness Person 11 questioned about alleged execution


Ben Roberts-Smith is suing Nine for defamation. Picture NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard
Ben Roberts-Smith is suing Nine for defamation. Picture NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard

Afghan Prisoner 1, 3 and 4 were questioned and photographed after being pulled from a ute carrying IED componentry – now an SAS soldier has denied claims a photograph of a dead man shows the missing Prisoner 2 was executed by Ben Roberts-Smith.

Ben Roberts-Smith is suing Nine newspapers over a series of articles claiming he participated in illegal executions of Afghan prisoners while deployed with the SAS.

The Victoria Cross recipient steadfastly denies the claims and has called an SAS soldier, known as Person 11, to testify about their missions in Afghanistan.

Read Next

Person 11 has repeatedly been accused by Nine’s barrister of lying to protect his close friend, Mr Roberts-Smith, because both are accused of jointly conducting or covering up war crime killings.

The former SAS soldier denies the allegations and has said the truth will clear their names.

In late 2012, the court has heard, Mr Roberts-Smith’s SAS patrol stopped a Toyota HiLux near the town of Fasil.

Nine claims the SAS discovered IED componentry in the HiLux and detained the ute’s occupants before Person 11 and Mr Roberts-Smith took them away for questioning in a nearby compound.

An SAS squadmate of Ben Roberts-Smith has denied the Victoria Cross recipient executed prisoners.
An SAS squadmate of Ben Roberts-Smith has denied the Victoria Cross recipient executed prisoners.

Nine’s barrister, Nicholas Owens SC, showed Person 11 three sets of photographs purporting to show Afghan detainees, known as PUCs, who had been captured at Fasil.

The court heard the men were photographed with labels bearing “GB”, the initials of their SAS captors’ patrol Gothic Bravo, and a number.

Person 11 agreed the prisoners photographed at the Australian base in Tarin Kowt were labelled GB1, GB3 and GB4.

There were no photographs of prisoner GB2, Nine’s barrister said.

“The reason there is no photograph of the second PUC from Gothic Bravo is that he was murdered by Mr Roberts-Smith in the compound,” Mr Owens said.

“I disagree with that,” Person 11 replied.

Mr Owens showed Person 11 a photograph of another unlabelled man, shot dead on the ground, and suggested that was the fate of prisoner GB2.

“It’s correct that the fourth PUC handed to you, in addition to the ones I’ve shown you, is the one deceased in the image I showed you a moment ago?” Mr Owens asked.

“I reject that, Mr Owens,” Person 11 responded.

Mr Roberts-Smith’s legal team said prisoner “GB2” was released and that’s why he was not photographed alongside others after a 2012 mission.
Mr Roberts-Smith’s legal team said prisoner “GB2” was released and that’s why he was not photographed alongside others after a 2012 mission.

Mr Roberts-Smith’s legal team has another explanation for GB2 not being photographed at Tarin Kowt after the mission – he was released unharmed at Fasil.

Person 11 said he did not recognise any of the PUCs in the images and had no memory of being tasked with handling any prisoners at Fasil.

The SAS soldier who claimed he detained the men at Fasil, Person 16, told the court Mr Roberts-Smith later boasted of killing one of the prisoners – a teenage boy.

Person 16 told the court the young Afghan was “shaking like a leaf” after they were detained by the road side and led away by Mr Roberts-Smith.

Person 16 said he later asked Mr Roberts-Smith what happened to the scared teenager.

“I shot that c*** in the head,” Person 16 claims Mr Roberts-Smith responded.

“(I) blew his brains out, it was the most beautiful thing I‘ve ever seen.”

The Federal Court defamation trial is nearing the end of evidence in Sydney. Picture NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard
The Federal Court defamation trial is nearing the end of evidence in Sydney. Picture NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard

Mr Roberts-Smith totally denies he killed any detainee and his lawyers say the quotes falsely attributed to him are the words of an “ostentatious psychopath” akin to a line from the film Apocalypse Now.

Person 11, earlier on Thursday, denied he witnessed Mr Roberts-Smith order another execution just a few weeks earlier in 2012.

Nine claims Person 11 was standing behind Mr Roberts-Smith as he questioned a detained Afghan in the village of Chernatu.

Another SAS soldier has told a court he kicked a wall which dislodged a weapons cache nearby and, when Mr Roberts-Smith saw what happened, he ordered an Afghan commander to have the detainee shot dead.

Person 11 denied he witnessed any questioning, cache or execution at Chernatu.

There was nothing about the mission that stuck in his mind, he said, other than a military working dog which was injured earlier in the day.

The trial continues.

Sydney

Former AAP newswire crime and regional NSW reporter.

Read Next



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

close