Afghan Files military whistleblower David McBride returns to court

A former military lawyer who leaked classified documents to ABC journalists at the centre of recent federal police raids has returned to court.

Afghan Files whistleblower David McBride

Afghan Files whistleblower David McBride Source: AAP

A military lawyer who blew the whistle on alleged war crimes by Australian troops will soon discover details of the charges against him.

Crown prosecutors have been given until 8 August to file their brief of evidence against David McBride, including witnesses they intend to call at his trial.

McBride will then be given a week to respond, before his case returns to the ACT Supreme Court on August 22.

The 55-year-old leaked classified documents to ABC journalists in 2017, who went on to produce a series called The Afghan Files.

David McBride is accused of theft of commonwealth property and breaching the Defence Act.
Source: AAP

The reports aired allegations of Australian soldiers carrying out unlawful killings in Afghanistan.

Recent raids at ABC headquarters in Sydney came off the back of those stories, with the public broadcaster launching separate legal action to declare the search warrants invalid.

The two journalists involved are also being pursued by federal police for publishing the documents.

McBride was committed to stand trial in May charged with theft of commonwealth property, three counts of breaching the Defence Act and unauthorised disclosure of information.

He appeared briefly before the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday for the latest in a series of preliminary hearings.

So far, the brief court appearances have largely centred on how sensitive information will be dealt with during his trial.

McBride last week agreed to journalists being kept out of the courtroom when secret information comes up.

Published 18 July 2019 at 10:10am, updated 18 July 2019 at 10:47am