An SAS soldier who accused Ben Roberts-Smith of knocking an Afghan villager off a cliff ten years ago suffers from numerous mental health problems and is taking a variety of medications that affect his memory.
This comes after the Federal Court heard that an SAS soldier could give any evidence of another alleged murder used against him in international prosecutions for war crimes.
Ben Roberts-Smith is suing nine newspapers and journalists for a series of articles alleging he killed six unarmed Afghans known as Prisoners (PUCs).
The award-winning SAS veteran denies all charges, while Nine claims the allegations are true.
Newspapers called several SAS witnesses to testify about two missions – a raid on a complex known as Whiskey 108 in 2009 and a raid on the village of Darwan in 2012.
Man 4, as a well-known recent SAS witness, told court he witnessed Mr Roberts-Smith kicked Afghan handcuffed Ali Yana by a steep fall into a dry creek at the end of a raid in Darwan.
Man 4 claimed that Mr Jan had his teeth knocked out when his head hit a rock and a few minutes later another SAS soldier shot dead an unarmed Afghan.
Man 4 told the court he was “shocked” to see the alleged killing of war criminals, and claimed that a radio had been placed on Mr Jan’s body.
Mr Roberts-Smith completely denied the allegations and said he helped another SAS soldier shoot the Taliban carrying the radio in a cornfield in Darwan.
His lawyer, Arthur Moses SC, on Tuesday began cross-examination of Person 4.
Man 4 during cross-examination told the court that last year he was fired from the Australian Defense Forces for medical reasons after retiring due to mental health.
Mr. Moses reviewed the list of diagnoses of mental health of Man 4 and about 10 medications prescribed to the former soldier.
The court heard that Person 4 had “memory impairment”, nightmares, annoying thoughts, and “reflections” and “memories”.
Man 4 told the court he was taking antipsychotic medication but stopped before being hospitalized in August 2021 because I was “in the fog all day”.
“The details of things have disappeared, but the big details are definitely not,” Man 4 told the court.
The SAS veteran and his psychiatrist talked about the consequences of testifying in a high-profile libel trial, and this could have dire consequences for his mental health.
Highly confidential medical information was leaked in court after Man 4’s lawyer, Ben Kramer, asked to close some of its parts.
Dr. Kramer has previously warned of the significant impact of testimony on humans 4.
But Mr Moses argued that on Tuesday the court should not “erase” the memory problem of Man 4 from a public record.
“He came here, made a statement about (Darwan) 2012, and I can’t publicly verify his memory of that statement,” Mr. Moses said.
“When I spent the afternoon questioning him about his health, the public didn’t find out about it anyway – it never happened.”
Judge Anthony Besanka hid the names of the diagnoses and medications of Man 4, but allowed Mr. Moses to question the SAS soldier about his memory and medical history.
Person 4 was expected to be asked about the 2009 Whiskey raid in 2009, in which Nine claims to have shot the captured Afghan in the head.
The court heard several conflicting allegations that Mr. Roberts-Smith either ordered the killing or was a silent accomplice when another soldier gave the order to Person 4.
Mr Roberts-Smith denied any allegations that he was involved in the “bleeding” of Man 4.
Man 4 objected to answering questions about the Whiskey 108 raid on Monday after his lawyer told the court that his “certificates of immunity” did not provide protection from harassment in international courts.
Judge Besanko was told that the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes war crimes, can use evidence to initiate or direct an investigation and prosecution, even if Australian courts cannot directly refer to the testimony of Man 4.
Person 4 again objected to answering a question about the Nine’s allegation of “blood,” but Judge Besanko said he would require an SAS soldier to answer that question Tuesday afternoon.
The hearing continues.