News Ben Roberts-Smith COVID-19 test interrupts defamation trial

Ben Roberts-Smith COVID-19 test interrupts defamation trial

Ben Roberts-Smith's self-isolation following a COVID test has interrupted his cross-examination. Photo: AAP
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Ben Roberts-Smith’s high-profile defamation trial was adjourned as the war hero waited on the outcome of a COVID-19 test.

On Monday, the Federal Court trial in Sydney was told that Mr Roberts-Smith, 42, had the COVID-19 test on Sunday after attending a CBD venue on Thursday.

“The applicant was required to undertake a COVID test yesterday,” his barrister, Arthur Moses SC, told the court.

Justice Anthony Besanko adjourned proceedings until 2.15pm.

It was told that Mr Roberts-Smith has been self-isolating since the test.

The ABC reported that after lunch, Mr Moses informed the court Mr Roberts-Smith had received a negative result and was told he no longer had to isolate.

The court resumed for an afternoon sitting from 3.30pm.

The VC winner has completed his evidence in chief and was due on Monday morning to recommence in the witness box under cross-examination from the respondents’ barrister Nicholas Owens SC.

Mr Roberts-Smith, 42, is suing three newspapers over reports from 2018 critical of his military deployments in Afghanistan where he did six tours from 2006 to 2012.

The former SAS corporal denies all the claims against him, while the publishers advance a truth defence.

Other witnesses expected to appear include ex-SAS soldiers, Afghan villagers as well as federal MP Andrew Hastie and former Liberal politician Brendan Nelson.