Prosecutors have charged a former Australian military lawyer and captain in Britain's elite Special Air Service in the leak of documents to journalists during 2014 to 2016.

"I saw something illegally being done by the government and I did something about it," said David McBride.  "I'm seeking to have the case looking purely at whether the government broke the law and whether it was my duty as a lawyer to report that fact," he added, making clear that "there's no question in that I've told the Federal Police I did give the classified documents to the Herald, to the ABC, and to Chris Masters".

Only the ABC acted on the information, producing in 2017 a report called "The Afghan Files: Defence leak exposes deadly secrets of Australia’s special forces".

McBride says he tried to report the wrongdoing through the usual channels, but met with no success, leaving him no choice but to contact the journalists.

The case is expected to be back in court in May.