A senior SAS soldier who will likely be the final witness to testify in the protracted defamation trial launched by Ben Roberts-Smith has backed the war veteran on a key piece of evidence.

The serving elite soldier dubbed Person 81 began his evidence in the Federal Court on Wednesday nearly a year after the trial began.

He had risen through the ranks to captain and was heading the patrol to a Taliban compound known as Whiskey 108 in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province in 2009.

He ordered the patrol commanders to clear the compound after Australian troops had dropped a series of 500-pound bombs on it.

After the infrastructure had been “significantly destroyed” Person 81 entered and distinctly recalls an Afghan woman was sweeping, and body parts among rocket paraphernalia.

And while he does remember a secret tunnel was found, he is unsure of where he was and how he was told.

Defence barrister Arthur Moses SC, representing Mr Roberts-Smith, asked if anyone informed him if Afghan fighting-aged males were found inside the tunnel.

“No,” he said.

The 43-year-old denies all claims of wrongdoing.

The war hero is accused of throwing one of the men who had a prosthetic leg onto the ground and opening fire on his back

“It was an exhibition execution, he wanted people to see he was going to kill someone out there in front of everyone,” another soldier dubbed Person 24 previously told the court.

Another former SAS soldier testified that Mr Roberts-Smith forced the other prisoner to kneel and ordered his younger colleague to shoot him.

But the captain at the time denies ever seeing fighting-aged males coming out of the tunnel, nor did he see any prisoners taken captive.

And nobody in his troop told him unlawful activity had occurred that day, he said.

“What would you have done (if they had)?” Mr Moses asked.

“I would have reported it,” he said.

Most of Person 81’s evidence on Wednesday was concealed behind a closed courtroom.

He is due to resume his testimony on Thursday morning when the trial before Justice Anthony Besanko resumes.

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  • en passant June 3, 2022  

    WW1, WW2, Korea, Malaysia, Borneo, Vietnam, Somalia, Solomons, East Timor, Iraq – with not a single war crime committed. Yet in Afghanistan we are expected to believe our frontline soldiers spent their time committing murderous crimes never before seen in war? How good is that or ‘what are the chances’? All part of the New Woke Oz bringing down Australia.
    Our ‘Generals’ are more concerned with gender diversity and the climate con than conditioning our soldiers to the realities of war.
    I feel the need for a safe sace and another colouring book session to recover …

  • Bob Lange June 13, 2022  

    Not many years ago, the generals who commanded our soldiers had been real soldiers, not seat polishing yes-men interested in nothing but their own futures and after Military speaking engagements.

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