Roberts-Smith isolating after Covid contact

By | June 21, 2021

Ben Roberts-Smith is in self-isolation after a visit to a potential Covid-19 exposure site, forcing a halt to his high profile defamation trial.

The elite soldier was not in court on Monday morning but his barrister, Arthur Moses SC, told the court Mr Roberts-Smith had been contacted by NSW Health on Sunday.

Mr Roberts-Smith was told he visited a venue in the Sydney CBD on Thursday around the time of a positive coronavirus case and must be tested.

He was tested on Sunday evening, Mr Moses said, but there was yet to be a result by the time court opened at 10:15am.

“The advice from the department of health is, until the test result comes in, he was to remain self isolated until that time,” Mr Moses said.

The court heard lawyers could not agree whether Mr Roberts-Smith could give evidence over videolink so the trial had to be halted.

The court will reopen if and once Mr Roberts-Smith returns a negative result.

The court was able to deal with administrative subpoena issues related to one of Nine’s key witnesses.

Mr Moses told the court private investigator John McLeod is reluctant to appear at the trial.

Last week Mr Roberts-Smith told the court he hired Mr McLeod to follow a woman he was trying to break up with.

Mr Roberts-Smith said the woman, known as Person 17, had told him she was pregnant but he did not believe her.

The soldier said he paid Mr McLeod to follow Person 17 to an abortion clinic to verify her story.

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The court had previously heard there was difficulty contacting Mr McLeod because he would not answer his door at his home in northern NSW.

Justice Anthony Besanko approved a request to nail the court summons to Mr McLeod’s door at the start of the trial.

Justice Besanko adjourned the trial until the afternoon.

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