Police feared one of Ben Roberts-Smith’s SAS witnesses in his defamation case was going to destroy evidence on his phone when they confronted him with a search warrant in a city hotel late on Tuesday night.

The former soldier, who hours earlier had finished giving evidence to the defamation trial, appeared “intoxicated, acting in a belligerent, unreasonable and aggressive manner”, court documents say.

Australian Federal Police officers approached the man at a city centre hotel in Sydney just after 11pm Tuesday night, informing him they were executing a search warrant.

“The accused attempted to enter the lift to leave the hotel and refused to hand over his mobile phone. When prevented from entering the lift, to prevent the destruction of evidence, being the mobile phone in his possession, the accused tensed up, clenched his fist, and shoved police to the body, constituting an assault.”

The man was arrested and taken into custody overnight.

He appeared before Sydney Central Local Court on Wednesday where he was bailed on a $10,000 surety. He faces two charges: obstruct, hinder, intimidate, or resist a commonwealth official; and cause harm to a commonwealth judicial or law officer.

The former soldier was allowed to fly out of Australia to another country where he lives, with conditions placed on where he is to reside.

A suppression order has been placed on the man’s identity, with the court directing he be referred to by the pseudonym Person X.

Earlier, Person X gave evidence, called by Roberts-Smith, as part of Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against three newspapers he alleges defamed him in a series of articles that accused him of committing war crimes, including murder. Roberts-Smith denies all wrongdoing.

The newspapers are pleading a defence of truth.

Source: The Guardian