Best form of defence
Another case of mounting fascination is also in the Federal Court, where Ben Roberts-Smith is facing off against the Fairfax press and three journalists over articles in mid 2018 that alleged misconduct, bullying and intimidation by the decorated soldier while he was serving in Afghanistan. The media organisation also alleged he was involved in an incident of domestic violence.
Roberts-Smith is one of a number of soldiers being investigated for their actions in Afghanistan by the inspectorgeneral of the Australian Defence Force.
Normally, the defamation business would be enough for media organisations to link arms in common cause against attacks on their journalism, journalists and bank accounts. But not The Catholic Boys Daily, which hoots with glee when Fairfax is dragged into court to defend its reporting. The most recent instance was a front-page article in The Weekend Australian, which made the overwrought claim under the headline: “War widow to Roberts-Smith’s rescue as Fairfax cries murder”.
Ms Leigh Locke-Thomas, the widow of a sergeant from the Special Air Service Regiment, says it was actually her
husband who was involved in a fracas at the Ocean Beach Hotel in Cottesloe and not Roberts-Smith as claimed by Fairfax in its defence pleadings.
With devastations like that, Fairfax may as well just run up the white flag.