CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s most decorated living war veteran Ben Roberts-Smith quit his corporate job Friday after a civil court blamed him for unlawfully killing four Afghans, escalating calls for the tarnished national hero to be stripped of his revered Victoria Cross medal.
Roberts-Smith, who retired from Australia’s elite Special Air Service Regiment a decade ago, quit his job as state manager of Seven West Media after losing a landmark defamation suit Thursday against newspapers that had accused him of an array of war crimes.
The 44-year-old had taken leave since 2021 to focus on his federal court case, which has been financed by the company’s billionaire executive chair Kerry Stokes.
“Ben has been on leave whilst the case was running and today has offered his resignation which we have accepted,” chief executive James Warburton said Friday in a staff email.
“We thank Ben for his commitment to Seven and wish him all the best,” Warburton added.
Roberts-Smith has been fighting to salvage his reputation through a defamation suit in the federal court since Australian newspaper articles in 2018 accused him of an array of war crimes including culpability in six unlawful killings.
A judge dismissed the defamation claims on Thursday, finding the articles were substantially true. The judge also found Roberts-Smith was responsible for four of the six unlawful deaths he had been accused of...