Thu. Nov 17th, 2022

Ben Roberts-Smith denies burying any military files in his backyard but his wife photographed the patch of dirt where she allegedly unearthed a box of USBs filled with sensitive information.Mr Roberts-Smith is suing Nine for defamation over allegations he committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
Nine, earlier this year, claimed Mr Roberts-Smith buried USBs containing photographs from his tours in Afghanistan and mission information in his backyard.
The Federal Court, on Friday, released black and white grainy photos of a hose reel, next to an airconditioning unit, on top of what appears to be dirt and rocks.
The images were taken by Mr Roberts-Smith’s ex wife, Emma Roberts, and included in court documents related to her best friend – Danielle Scott.
Both women will testify against Mr Roberts-Smith saying he pressured his ex-wife to lie about the final months of their marriage.
Ms Scott’s court documents claim Ms Roberts suspected her husband had buried something in the backyard.
When Ms Scott was visiting, on March 16 2020, she and Ms Roberts began searching the property to see if they could find anything.
They found a rock beneath a hose reel and used a pitchfork to dig, court documents state.
“About 10-15cm down they found a lunch box which contained six USBs that had been placed in a plastic snap lock bag,” the documents say.
Ms Scott claims she copied the documents and the USBs were returned to their underground hiding spot.
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Three months later, Ms Scott’s documents claim, Ms Roberts took photographs of the hiding spot as Mr Roberts-Smith came to the home to “collect documents”.
Mr Roberts-Smith’s wife ultimately provided copies of the USBs to authorities, the court documents claim.
The court previously heard the USBs contained information and documents relevant to the decorated soldier’s time in Afghanistan.
Ms Scott, in her court documents, claims she had a conversation with the Roberts-Smiths in late 2018 in which the soldier said “the boys are sending me photos” or something similar, the court documents state.
Mr Roberts-Smith told the court in June that four or five USBs arrived at his home from mid-2019 until early 2021 but he didn’t know who had sent them.
“In the main, the photos (on the drives) were simply photos of the SAS operators themselves – the guys out in Afghanistan it was quite benign,” he said.
“There were lots of photos of the Fat Ladies Arms and parties.”
The Fat Ladies Arms is the SAS’s unofficial bar and the location where soldiers were pictured drinking from a prosthetic leg.
Nine alleges Mr Roberts-Smith murdered an arrested Taliban fighter with a prosthetic leg.
Mr Roberts-Smith denied that, saying he’d lawfully gunned down the armed insurgent and another SAS operator had taken the leg back to the base against his wishes.
Mr Roberts-Smith said he never drank from the leg himself but appears in photos with other men using the prosthesis in the bar.
The USBs also contained aerial surveillance images of the mission where the one-legged Taliban insurgent was shot.
Mr Roberts-Smith has launched a separate lawsuit against his former wife to try and ascertain if she or Ms Scott accessed his emails and leaked them to Nine in his defamation lawsuit.
The soldier’s barrister, Arthur Moses SC, said WhatsApp messages between Ms Scott and Ms Roberts showed they had access.
“Boom there it is,” Ms Scott wrote to Ms Roberts on WhatsApp last year.
Her message included an address for one of Mr Roberts-Smith’s lawyers.
“Holy f***ing god I love you” Ms Roberts responded.
Mr Moses, reading the messages to the court, said the women could only get the address through Mr Roberts-Smith’s emails.
The main trial is delayed until November.