Former soldier colleague of Ben Roberts-Smith says never used term blooding the rookie

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Former soldier colleague of Ben Roberts-Smith says never used term blooding the rookie

A former elite soldier colleague of the war veteran Ben Roberts-Smith told a Sydney court he never used the term blooding the rookie or killing anyone taken prisoner in Afghanistan.

Roberts-Smith is suing The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times for defamation over stories that he claims contained false allegations of unlawful killings, bullying and domestic violence.

After 11 weeks of evidence from publisher Nine Entertainment's witnesses, Roberts-Smith's lawyers called their first soldier witness.

The former Special Air Service Regiment SAS patrol commander, named Person 5, said it was an easy choice to assign Roberts-Smith as his second-in charge for a 2009 deployment to Afghanistan after seeing how capable he was.

The Federal Court has previously heard of allegations of blooding junior soldiers, a term that refers to when someone records their first kill during a mission.

Person 5 said the first time he heard the term blooding the rookie was when he read it in newspapers.

Arthur Moses SC, the barrister of Roberts-Smith, asked the witness.

A previous witness, Person 24, told the court before an April 2009 mission, Person 5 was in a jovial manner dancing a bit of a jig as he said we are going to blood the rookie, which he understood to be referring to a colleague codenamed Person 4.

Person 5 said the first time he heard someone alleging he used that term was in May 2018, days before he left the SAS.

Have you ever ordered a member of the Australian Defence Force under your command to kill a person under confinement? Moses asked.

The court has previously heard about the 2009 mission, at a Taliban compound called Whiskey 108, two Afghan men were found hiding inside a secret tunnel.

According to Nine's defence documents, one of the men who then became PUCs Person Under Control was allegedly executed at Person 5's direction to blood Person 4.

One of the men, who had a prosthetic leg, was shot dead by Mr Roberts-Smith outside the compound, previous witnesses said.

Person 5 told the court that one of his colleagues, Person 35, was sent into the tunnel but returned after no more than a couple of minutes, and it's clear at which point the compound is deemed secure.

The witness said he had a meeting with other patrol commanders but then heard gunshots and when he ran out he saw Roberts-Smith and Person 4 near a corner of the building.

He said that Roberts-Smith told him they'd engaged two squirters referring to people who try to leave the scene.

I said ''are they KIA killed in action he said ''yes', Person 5 told the court.

Roberts denies all wrongdoing and has told the court a man he killed that day was an armed insurgent coming around the corner of the compound.