Australia Tempers flare in Roberts-Smith trial as lockdown bites and disrupts
Willow Smith shaved her head on stage during a punk rock performance of 'Whip My Hair'
Smith recently revealed to her mother and grandmother that she struggled as a child when "Whip My Hair" first debuted. She said she practiced self-harm after the song became a sensation. "[I] Totally lost my sanity for a moment there. I never talk about it because it was such a short, weird point in my life, but you have to pull yourself out of it," Smith said. "I honestly felt like I was experiencing so much emotional pain, but my physical circumstances weren't reflecting that.
Seven and a half weeks into the Ben Roberts-Smith defamation hearing, tempers are flaring. The continual delays in the trial caused by the Sydney lockdown are starting to wear down all participants.
No one has yet uttered the legal maxim “justice delayed is justice denied”, but they will — this case could drag out for months.
Former SAS soldier Roberts-Smith is suing The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times over a series of reports which he says depicted him as a war criminal and a murderer. He denies all allegations, and the newspapers are relying on the defence of truth.
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A week ago, hours ahead of England’s brutal defeat in the Euro soccer championship, a viral video showed a man inserting a lit flare into his butt crack and celebrating as red smoke billowed around his pale buttocks. If you were on the lookout for a decent analogy for what Prime Minister Boris Johnson has undertaken this Monday, that eyeball-scorching scene of one man’s fleeting euphoria caused by an entirely unnecessary act that could have blown his own ass out of action forever is just the job.
This morning there was a case management hearing in the Federal Court largely concerning the timetable for SAS witnesses — most of whom, because they are based in WA, would be subject to the restrictions of the Sydney lockdown. Most of this group have indicated they do not want to travel to NSW and be subject to quarantine.
This morning Roberts-Smith’s counsel Arthur Moses SC complained in strong terms about the delays.
“My client has been subjected to serious allegations, thrown around like confetti, for some years,” he said. “The least these witnesses can do if they give evidence against him is comply with the subpoena or give a reason why they can’t.”
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The war veteran's barrister has suggested the trial might be moved to Adelaide or Canberra to avoid a worsening COVID-19 outbreak in NSW.
Moses said that having to do a 14-day quarantine may be the price they paid for attending in person.
“My client suffers prejudice every day … because the respondents continue publishing articles, as late as yesterday, making all sorts of assertions against him.
“He cannot continue a situation where he’s being used as a human pinata by the respondents. There has to be a day of reckoning in terms of these allegations. They have to be established or proven to be untrue.”
Yesterday the court heard from an Afghan witness, Mohammed Hanifa Fatih, who said he and his family’s living expenses were being met by the newspapers.
The hearing is currently in closed court and will resume shortly.
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Australia's pandemic focus shifts north as south-east Queensland joins Sydney in lockdown .
In the lead-up to the weekend, the nation's pandemic focus was almost solely on New South Wales. But a day after just a single case was recorded in Brisbane, the entire south-east of Queensland was again in lockdown.In the midst of an extended lockdown on the back of an outbreak of the delta variant, the state had reported a record number of new cases on Thursday, with 239 cases confirmed.