Ben Roberts-Smith, the disgraced SAS soldier who just lost a defamation case after the Federal Court judge made findings which branded him a war criminal, was farewelled quite emotionally by Channel 7 after he stepped down from his role for the network. Despite civil findings he committed multiple atrocious murders of unarmed civilians in Afghanistan.
Roberts-Smith — the most decorated living soldier in Australia — launched the lawsuit after the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Canberra Times (the first two being Nine publications, much like this one) reported that he had committed war crimes while serving in the army.
At the time, the 44-year-old was retired and working as the General Manager of Seven Queensland, but given his pretty humiliating loss, he resigned today.
What’s weird, though, is the way the network responded to his resignation.
“We thank Ben for his commitment to Seven and wish him all the best,” Seven CEO James Warburton said in an email to staff on Friday morning, per news.com.au.
I wish him a very “rot in hell”, but I digress.
“The judgment does not accord with the man I know,” Chairman of Seven West Media Kerry Stokes said in his own statement.
“I know this will be particularly hard for Ben, who has always maintained his innocence. That his fellow soldiers have disagreed with each other, this outcome will be the source of additional grief.
“I haven’t had a chance to have a discussion with Ben as yet, but I will when he has had a chance to fully absorb the judgment.”
Ah yes, it’s going to be SO hard for Ben. Nevermind what the families of his victims have gone through all these years.
In case you haven’t been across this story, a Federal Court judge ruled on Thursday — after more than 100 days of harrowing testimonies and fresh allegations — that Nine did not defame Roberts-Smith by calling him a “war criminal”, a “murderer” and a “bully” because it had proved these claims to be true.
After assessing all the evidence, the judge said he found it to be substantially true that Ben Roberts-Smith:
- Murdered an unarmed man by kicking him off a cliff and ordering soldiers to shoot him.
- Committed murder by pressuring a newly deployed and inexperienced SAS soldier to execute an elderly, unarmed Afghan man to “blood the rookie.”
- Committed murder by machine-gunning a man with a prosthetic leg.
- Was so callous and inhumane that he took the prosthetic leg back to Australia and encouraged other soldiers to use it as a novelty beer-drinking vessel.
- Authorized the execution of an unarmed Afghan by a junior trooper.
- Assaulted three unarmed Afghan men on separate occasions.
- Bullied a fellow soldier with threats of violence.
- Broke the moral and legal rules of military engagement.
- Disgraced his country and the Australian army by his conduct.
Image source: Getty Images / Sam Mooy