Ex-wife’s call ahead of court battle

The former army lawyer will learn his fate on Tuesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

The ex-wife of a former military lawyer possibly facing prison for leaking information has spoken of the immense cost his five-year legal battle has had on her family.

Whistleblower David McBride will be sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to stealing and disclosing sensitive classified military information to ABC journalists.

Prosecutors want him to serve at least two years in prison.

Sarah McBride said her ex-husband remained in “good spirits” despite the enormous impact the entire ordeal has on her two teenage daughters, who are aged 16 and 18.

“I think the biggest concern is having to actually tell the girls. His children mean the world to him and he doesn’t want to he doesn’t want them to worry,” she said.

David McBride and one of his daughters at the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra last week. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“Fortunately, David and I have a really strong relationship and a huge amount of respect for each other that we have co-parented and navigated this well together.

“But it’s just the level of frustration that it’s come to this. I expect (Tuesday) will be a rollercoaster of emotions.”

McBride leaked the classified documents on which the series of reports published by the ABC in 2017 titled the Afghan Files were based.

The landmark Brereton inquiry later found evidence that Australian forces had unlawfully killed 39 Afghans during the war.

At a hearing last week, McBride’s lawyers asked for leniency on the basis that he leaked the information with “honourable” intentions and a sense of personal duty.

McBride potentially faces prison for taking documents between 2014 and 2015. Picture: NCA NewsWire /Martin Ollman

The Commonwealth argued he shared confidential documents for personal vindication.

After years of delays due to the pandemic and court disagreements, Sarah, 50, said her family were “exhausted” after the long court ordeal.

She said she and her ex-husband’s main priority ahead of Tuesday’s sentencing was to be there for two teenage daughters.

“I’m very conscious of breaking the news to them before them hearing it second hand, so that will be the first point of call when we get out of the courtroom,” Sarah said.

“It’s really about protecting them and making sure they are okay.”

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