Ben Roberts-Smith and his financial backers are continuing to fight against an order requiring them to hand over a slew of documents and communications as the battle over the estimated $25m legal bill rolls on.
The decorated former soldier sued The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times over a series of articles published in 2018 that accused him of war crimes.
In June, Federal Court Justice Anthony Besanko dismissed the proceedings after finding the six articles proved – on the balance of probabilities – the most serious imputations.
After a marathon trial, it has been estimated that the legal bill for both sides will top $25m.
Nine Newspapers sought a third-party order for costs from the Seven Network, its owner billionaire media mogul Kerry Stokes and his private company.
Nine Newspapers issued a series of subpoenas to uncover communications involving the Victoria Cross recipient’s financial backers in a bid to demonstrate their involvement in the trial.
Justice Besanko previously rejected a bid by Seven West Media chairman Mr Stokes, his private company Australian Capital Equity (ACE), Seven Network commercial director Bruce McWilliam and law firms Herbert Smith Freehills and Mark O’Brien Legal to have that series of subpoenas set aside.
However, the court was told last month that lawyers for the Seven Network and other parties were appealing the decision not to set aside the subpoenas.
They are yet to be granted leave to appeal that decision.
Justice Besanko previously suspended the subpoena orders, which would require the documents to be handed to Nine, as the appeal application progressed through the Federal Court.
On Friday, barrister Justin Williams SC, acting for Seven, told the court that he was seeking a further stay of the orders until later this month, pending an application to seek leave to appeal the subpoena decision.
Justice Besanko agreed to suspend his orders until September 12 when the matter will return to court.
Roberts-Smith has also appealed his defamation suit loss, arguing that Justice Besanko made factual errors in his findings.