Concerns over further delays in war crime prosecution

A former SAS soldier faces a further wait to see the evidence of his alleged war crime as prosecutors sift through reams of sensitive material.

Oliver Jordan Schulz, 41, is accused of unlawfully killing a civilian while deployed in Afghanistan in 2012.

However, his lawyers are still waiting to see evidence against him.

Some material has been served, but crown prosecutor Georgina Westgarth told Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday the government needed more time to deal with national security issues before the full evidence could be shared with the defence.

A tranche of non-sensitive material was delivered in August, however other evidence, including sensitive material, would not be ready by the time Schulz was due to have his charge certified and his case moved to a higher court later in September.

Magistrate Margaret Quinn granted the prosecution an extension of time.

Schulz’s lawyer Karen Espiner told the court she was not in a position to object to the further delays.

“I am concerned at how long this process is taking,” she said.

Schulz is accused of approaching Dad Mohammad in a wheat field in Afghanistan's Uruzgan Province and then firing three shots at the 25- or 26-year-old while he was on his back with his hands and knees raised.

Mr Mohammad's father later complained to the Australian Defence Force, alleging his son had been shot in the head.

Schulz was arrested in March and released on bail a week later after a magistrate found he faced a high risk from Taliban attack if he remained behind bars.

His bail was continued on Tuesday and he will not be required to appear in court when the matter returns in November.

Schulz's arrest was the first time war crime-related murder charges were laid against a former or serving defence force member, investigators said in March.

Documents tendered in a Federal Court civil case in August confirmed approximately 40 active investigations were under way as part of the Australian Federal Police and Office of the Special Investigator joint probe.

The Operation Emerald investigation has been looking into the alleged commission of crimes stemming from breaches of armed conflict laws by defence members serving in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2016.

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