Ben Roberts-Smith, General Manager of Seven Brisbane and recipient of the Victoria Cross, has denied allegations of bullying, intimidation and domestic violence published by Fairfax Media today.
“The article published about me in Fairfax newspapers today contains a catalogue of lies, fabrications and misrepresentations. It is the culmination of many months of malicious and highly damaging allegations, all of which will be vigorously defended,” he said in a statement issued by Seven West Media.
“I do want to say today that I unequivocally deny any physical abuse of any woman at any time ever, and that I have not at any stage been interviewed by Police about any purported complaint by any woman.
“I am deeply troubled that alleged evidence given on oath before the IGADF inquiry has been canvassed in the press and that SMH has allegedly accessed it. Not only is it illegal, it is unfair to people who haven’t given evidence and it has the potential to undermine the fairness of the inquiry.
“If and when I am given the opportunity to defend each specific allegation, I am very confident that direct witnesses will categorically demonstrate the falsity of them all.”
Fairfax claims to have interviewed dozens of people over nearly a year in the lead-up to its publication.
But Roberts-Smith is now instituting defamation proceedings in the Federal Court against Fairfax and the journalists who wrote the articles.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told media today, “I am aware of the allegations, complaints have been made to police and they will be dealt with appropriately.
“I can’t make any comment on the specific matters because they are being dealt with by the police.”
Roberts-Smith, 2013 Australian Father of the Year, was recruited to Seven in 2015, later becoming General Manager of Seven Queensland then General Manager of Seven Brisbane.