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Crime, Defence

Monash Expert: What is the possibility of Ben Roberts-Smith being prosecuted for war crimes following the defamation case?

Monash University < 1 mins read

A Monash University expert in war crimes prosecution is able to comment on whether Ben Roberts-Smith could be prosecuted for war crimes following the recent defamation case. 

Dr Monique Cormier, Senior Lecturer, Monash University Law
Contact: +61 3 9903 4840 or

Read more of Dr Cormier’s work at Monash Lens

The following can be attributable to Dr Cormier:

“The unfavourable outcome of the defamation proceedings for Ben Roberts-Smith is not necessarily an indication that criminal charges will follow. Although Justice Besanko’s findings that the imputations that Roberts-Smith committed war crimes were ‘substantially true’ will no doubt raise expectations that the next logical step would be for such serious allegations to be prosecuted.

“The ongoing investigation by the Australian Federal Police and the Office of the Special Investigator has already led to one former SAS soldier being charged with a war crime; it seems likely that there will be more charges to come. 

“Any decision to proceed with criminal proceedings against Ben Roberts-Smith will be based on whether there are reasonable prospects of securing a conviction, which requires sufficient evidence to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt. This is a significantly higher standard of proof than the balance of probabilities standard applied in the defamation case.”

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For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or 

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