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Canberra, June 15 – In an alleged war crimes case, Ben Roberts-Smith, a former soldier who is Australia’s most-decorated, on Wednesday said he will not apologise, adding that he was innocent and is proud of his actions in Afghanistan.
These were the former soldier’s first remarks after he lost a defamation case on June 1 against three newspapers — The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times — which reported claims that he had murdered unarmed prisoners and civilians while serving in Afghanistan between 2009-2012, reports the BBC.
The newspapers’ allegations that Roberts-Smith was actually a war criminal, a liar and a bully were “substantially true”, Federal Court Judge Anthony Besanko had said in his civil case ruling.
The case is the first time an Australian court has assessed accusations of war crimes by the country’s forces.
Speaking to Nine News on Wednesday, Roberts-Smith said he will consider filing an appeal, adding that “it’s a terrible outcome and it’s the incorrect outcome”.
Speaking as he returned to Australia for the first time since the judgement was delivered, he also said he would not apologise to those affected by his alleged crimes.
“We haven’t done anything wrong, so we won’t be making any apologies,” the BBC quoted the 44-year-old as saying to Nine News.
Roberts-Smith, who left the defence force in 2013, has not been charged over any of the claims in a criminal court.
He had spent the days leading up to the civil court ruling in Bali.
Before Kabul’s fall to the Taliban in August 2021, Australia maintained an operation of around 400 soldiers in Afghanistan