The 40k cuppa The Sydney lockdown has brought the Ben Roberts-Smith defamation trial to a temporary ceasefire, as the former soldier has had to have a COVID-19 test and is awaiting the result. The matter has been adjourned until 2.15pm today. His counsel, Arthur Moses SC, told Justice Besanko this morning that Roberts-Smith had been notified by the NSW Health Department that he had been in a venue in Sydney on Thursday at the same time as a COVID-positive person.
Accordingly, he had a test on Sunday and the result is pending. Moses, who had his own starring role on Friday night with the revelation of his relationship with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, did not mention which particular venue had triggered the test. However, it’s thought that he may have stopped off at the food court at the nearby MLC Centre for a coffee on the way to court and used his phone to check in.
There are three senior counsel currently sitting at the bar table -- Moses, Bruce McClintock SC, and Nicholas Owens SC, all of whom are thought to charge about $20,000 a day to appear in court. So this morning’s four-hour adjournment will cost their clients about $40,000. Let’s hope the test comes back negative.