The Truth Defence: Ben Roberts-Smith and the Media
Douglas Guilfoyle | Daniel Joyce | Chris Masters | Geraldine Doogue
From the treacherous battlegrounds of Afghanistan to the frontlines of the Federal Court, the 110-day defamation trial of Ben Roberts-Smith emerged as a monumental test case, examining the very essence of truth as defence in an Australian defamation trial.
This trial marked the first time an Australian court scrutinised allegations of war crimes committed by Australian troops, and highlighted the financial and emotional costs of pursuing an uncomfortable truth in the newspaper. But what comes next?
Join investigative journalist Chris Masters, UNSW Sydney legal experts Douglas Guilfoyle and Daniel Joyce, and host Geraldine Doogue as they unravel the remarkable story of Ben Roberts-Smith, examine the highly anticipated trial of the century, and unpack what it means for journalism and justice in Australia.
Chris Masters’ new book Flawed Hero: Truth, lies and war crimes is available here.
LIVE EVENT & VENUE INFORMATION
The Science Theatre is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington Campus. Please note this is a live event only, and will not be available via livestream.
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Professor Douglas Guilfoyle is an international legal scholar and specialist in international criminal law and the law of the sea in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences at UNSW Canberra. His publications include a textbook, International Criminal Law, and articles on command responsibility and the future of the International Criminal Court. He has acted as a consultant to governments and international organisations and taught at Monash and University College London before joining UNSW. In 2024 he will be the visiting Lieber Scholar at West Point.
Dr Daniel Joyce is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law & Justice, UNSW Sydney. He specialises in international law, media law and human rights. Daniel is an Affiliated Research Fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute at the University of Helsinki, an Associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute, and a member of the Allens Hub for Technology, Law & Innovation. His monograph Informed Publics, Media and International Law was published by Hart in 2020.
Chris Masters is one of Australia's best-known, highly respected, and most influential investigative journalists. His stellar career has won him five Walkleys, including a Gold Walkley, and he has produced over 100 investigative reports, mostly for Four Corners. Masters remains at the top of his game: relentlessly, fearlessly and doggedly determined to expose the truth. Masters is Australia’s unofficial Afghanistan war historian and spent a total of three months embedded with Australian soldiers in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2010, including with special forces in 2011. He is the author of the bestselling Jonestown, Uncommon Soldier and No Front Line. His newest book is Flawed Hero: Truth, lies and war crimes which tells the shocking story of the case against Australia’s most highly decorated living soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, and the defamation trial of the century.
Geraldine Doogue (Chairperson)
Geraldine Doogue is a renowned Australian journalist and broadcaster with experience in print, television and radio. She currently presents ABC RN’s Saturday Extra which specialises in foreign policy, regional issues, agenda-changing commentators, good books, and has been a reporter for The West Australian, The Australian, 2UE, Channel 10 and the Presenter/Creator of ABC RN’s Life Matters.
During her career with both the ABC and commercial media she has won two Penguin Awards for excellence in broadcasting from the Television Society of Australia and a United Nations Media Peace Prize. In 2000 Geraldine was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for social and cultural reporting. In 2003, she was recognised with an Officer in the Order of Australia for services to the community and media. Geraldine tackles a wide range of subjects with rigour, optimism, humour and warmth.