Ben Roberts-Smith QUITS Channel Seven – where he was a senior executive – after losing defamation ‘trial of the century’ bankrolled by its billionaire owner… as Australian War Memorial ‘reconsiders’ soldier’s famous display
- Ben Roberts-Smith loses defamation case against Nine
- Judge found he had committed war crimes in Afghanistan
- Ex-soldier quit his senior role with Seven Network
Ben Roberts-Smith has resigned from his senior role at the Seven Network after he lost his landmark defamation action against Nine newspapers.
Mr Roberts-Smith had been general manager of Seven Queensland since 2015 and his court case was bankrolled by Seven West Media owner Kerry Stokes.
Federal Court Justice Anthony Beskanko dismissed Mr Roberts-Smith’s action on Thursday after finding Nine’s war crimes allegations against him were substantially true.
Justice Besanko found the 44-year-old had been complicit in the murders of three prisoners while serving with the Special Air Service in Afghanistan.
Daily Mail Australia has also learnt the Australian War Memorial will now reassess its display honouring the Victoria Cross and Medal for Gallantry recipient.
Seven’s managing director and chief executive officer James Warburton told staff Mr Roberts-Smith has offered his resignation, according to Guardian Australia.
Ben Roberts-Smith has resigned from the Seven Network after he lost his defamation action against Nine Newspapers
‘As you’re all aware, the judgement in the defamation case was handed down yesterday,’ Mr Warburton said in an email.
‘Ben has been on leave whilst the case was running, and today has offered his resignation, which we have accepted.
‘We thank Ben for his commitment to Seven and wish him all the best.’
Australia’s most decorated living soldier was not present in court when Justice Besanko made his decision on Thursday.
Instead he was photographed 4,000km away, sunbathing in swimmers on a lounger by the pool at a luxury $500-a-night resort in Bali.
Mr Stokes was reportedly blindsided by the absence of Mr Roberts-Smith who had a meteoric rise through the ranks of Seven after leaving the army.
Seven West Media owner Kerry Stokes 9above) bankrolled the court case brought by Mr Roberts-Smith who had a meteoric rise through the ranks of Seven after leaving the army
The billionaire said after Justice Besanko’s ruling he had not had ‘a chance to have a discussion with Ben as yet, but I will when he has had a chance to fully absorb the judgement.’
Since Thursday’s decision there have been calls for the removal of a display of Mr Roberts-Smith’s medals and uniform from the Australian War Memorial.
Memorial chairman and former federal Labor leader Kim Beazley addressed the future of the display on behalf of the AWM Council.
‘The Memorial assists in remembering, interpreting and understanding Australia’s experience of war and its enduring impact,’ Mr Beazley said. ‘This includes the causes, conduct and consequences of war.
The Australian War Memorial has told Daily Mail Australia it will now reassess how it honours the Victoria Cross recipient. Roberts-Smith’s uniforms are pictured at the memorial
‘The Memorial acknowledges the gravity of the decision in the Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG defamation case and its broader impact on all involved in the Australian community.
‘This is the outcome of a civil legal case, and one step in a longer process.
‘Collection items relating to Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, including his uniform, equipment, medals and associated art works, are on display in the Memorial’s galleries.
‘We are considering carefully the additional content and context to be included in these displays.
‘The Memorial acknowledges Afghanistan veterans and their families who may be affected at this time.’