Calls to drop war crimes leaking charges

Matt Coughlan
·1-min read

Independent senator Rex Patrick has called for charges against a military lawyer who blew the whistle on alleged war crimes by Australian troops to be dropped.

A disturbing report found credible evidence Australian soldiers murdered 39 people and tortured two prisoners in Afghanistan, rekindling calls to throw out charges against David McBride.

Senator Patrick said the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions should drop the legal action.

"Persecution of whistleblowers is not in the public interest. Mr McBride is a hero," he said.

He said Attorney-General Christian Porter should intervene to drop the charges if the CDPP did not.

Law Council of Australia president Pauline Wright is concerned by the findings.

"It is the belief of the law council that the charges against whistleblower David McBride should be reconsidered, given the report suggests that Australian soldiers may have been involved in war crimes," she said.

Mr McBride leaked classified documents to ABC journalists in 2017 leading to allegations of Australian soldiers carrying out unlawful killings in Afghanistan being aired.

A spokesman for the CDPP said it was inappropriate to comment while the matter was before the court.

"We note that each matter is assessed and prosecuted in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth which encompasses evidentiary and public interest considerations," he told AAP.