The former special forces soldier’s personal life came under intense scrutiny on Friday during his defamation case against The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

War veteran Ben Roberts-Smith has rejected as disgusting a suggestion that he took nude photos of a then-unconscious woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair in order to blackmail her, as his personal life came under intense scrutiny during his high-stakes defamation case.
On the 14th day of his Federal Court defamation trial against The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Roberts-Smith was asked about the timing of his affair with a woman dubbed Person 17 and whether it was abusive and controlling to hire a private investigator to follow her to an abortion clinic. He rejected the suggestion.
Ben Roberts-Smith arrives at the Federal Court in Sydney on Friday. Masks are now compulsory in the courtroom.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer
He also denied he told his then-wife that she had to lie publicly and say the pair were separated when he embarked on the affair in 2017 or she would lose the children.
Mr Roberts-Smith is suing the newspapers over a series of reports, starting in 2018, that he says portray him as a war criminal and accuse him of punching Person 17 in the face after a formal dinner at Parliament House in Canberra. He denies all wrongdoing. The media outlets are seeking to rely chiefly on a defence of truth.
The former Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers ex-wife, Emma Roberts, is expected to give evidence for the media outlets, along with Person 17.
Mr Roberts-Smith told the Federal Court in Sydney on Friday that it was very sad his ex-wife had injected herself into these proceedings and she was very bitter.
He insisted he had never struck any woman, and I certainly didnt strike Person 17, and that she had fallen down a flight of stairs while intoxicated after the March 2018 dinner. He said he had tended to the woman in their room at the Hotel Realm in Canberra.
He would never would hit a woman, he said firmly, and an allegation that he punched her hard on the left side of her face was concocted. He denied saying words to the effect of its going to f—ing hurt more or Ill show you what f—ing hurt is.
Mr Roberts-Smith replied with a firm, no, and thats disgusting when asked by the newspapers barrister, Nicholas Owens, SC, if he took a photo of Person 17 as she lay naked and unconscious in their hotel bed after the alleged incident.