Telstra records suggest Ben Roberts-Smith’s emails accessed by ex-wife’s friend, court told
Telstra records indicate a couple close to Ben Roberts-Smith’s former wife could have accessed the decorated soldier’s email account at least 101 times, a court has been told.
The former SAS soldier is fighting a defamation case against Nine newspapers over articles alleging he committed war crimes in Afghanistan and domestic violence, both of which he strongly denies.
He is also suing his former wife Emma Roberts in the Federal Court, alleging she accessed crucial emails related to the high-profile defamation stoush and the Brereton inquiry into war crimes in Afghanistan.
On Friday, his barrister Arthur Moses SC argued that Ms Roberts’ friend Danielle Scott and her husband should be joined to Mr Roberts-Smith’s case against his former wife.
He said Telstra records suggested an IP address registered to Ms Scott’s husband had accessed an RS Group Australia email “hosting account” at least 101 times between January 2020 and May 2021.
The hosting account was password protected, Mr Moses said, and once a person was logged into it, they could access the email account of any RS Group user such as Mr Roberts-Smith.
Ms Roberts has denied giving the password to Ms Scott.
Mr Moses said there were several issues at stake, including how the couple may have obtained the password to the hosting account, whether they accessed Mr Roberts-Smith’s emails, and whether any information was passed on to third parties.
Mr Roberts-Smith filed the case against his former wife after receiving a notice to produce documents in the Nine defamation case that he believed could not have been made without access to specific information.
Mr Moses said the “worst-case scenario” for Nine would be if it became apparent that privileged information had been passed on to their lawyers.
“There would be consequences that would flow from that … but we’re not at that stage yet,” he said.
He said if Ms Scott was not joined to the proceedings, she would have to be forced by subpoena to attend court and give evidence about the alleged email access and text messages she had exchanged with Ms Roberts.
As well, Mr Moses said, Mr Roberts-Smith would potentially file a fresh claim against Ms Scott and her husband if not permitted to add them to the case.
The court last week heard an application for Mr Roberts-Smith to cross-examine Ms Roberts over her claim that she did not give Ms Scott access to the account.
Justice Bromwich said on Friday he would hand down his decision on joining Ms Scott and her husband and the examination of Ms Roberts at a later date.
The high-profile defamation case has been temporarily halted amid Sydney’s coronavirus outbreak but is expected to resume in November.
Originally published as Telstra records suggest Ben Roberts-Smith’s emails accessed by ex-wife’s friend, court told
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