Hearings in Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against three major newspapers, The Age, The Canberra Times and The Sydney morning herald, have come to a close.
The case was heard for more than 100 days, and according to SMH, it cost more than $25 million.
Justice Anthony Besanko, the judge presiding over the highly publicised case, has reserved judgement. Instead, he will deliver a written ruling at a yet-to-be-announced date.
If you’ve been following the case, you’ll know it has seen plenty of allegations made, from war crimes to alleged fake pregnancy scandals.
There have been 41 witnesses called to the court. While lots of witnesses mean you begin to get a complete picture of the situation, so many accusations are thrown around it all becomes very complicated to follow and very expensive, thanks to the legal time involved.
It is now Justice Besanko’s role to wade through all the information and decide if a media publication’s truth defence stands up.
The SMH reported that in closing arguments, Robert-Smith’s Senior Council Arthur Moes argued that the newspaper reporting was based on “mere suspicion, surmise and guesswork”, not the truth.
Meanwhile, the media outlet’s representation of Nicholas Owens SC argued that Robert-Smith had a “motive to kill.”
Now we await a verdict. However, it is worth noting that what makes the case even more interesting is that rumours are that Kerry Stokes is footing the legal bill for Roberts-Smith.
Stokes, of course, is Seven’s chairman, and all of the papers Roberts-Smith is suing are owned by Nine.
This defamation case follows a string of defamation cases that have seen media companies lose out. From Rebel Wilson’s case against Baurer Media to Geoffrey Rush being awarded nearly $2.9 million in damages after winning his defamation case against News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph.
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