A military lawyer who blew the whistle on alleged war crimes by Australian troops has a few "tricks up his sleeve" for when he faces trial next year.
David McBride returned to the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday for the latest in a string of preliminary hearings.
The registrar mapped out two pre-trial application dates for October 25 and December 9, with McBride expected to face a 10-day trial in March or April next year.
The 55-year-old admits he's getting nervous about the impending trial, as he could face the rest of his life in prison.
McBride says there's a "slim chance" he will be acquitted.
"But I've got a few tricks up my sleeve. It's worth having a go," he told reporters outside court.
"I might fail, but I'll be happy in jail if I've tried."
The case will return to the ACT Supreme Court on November 7 after the first pre-trial application for further directions.
Crown prosecutors and the 55-year-old both filed their briefs on Thursday, including witnesses they intend to call at the trial.
Defence and federal police officials are expected to appear.
McBride only intends to call on himself as a witness, but says he may include others later in the trial to support his statements.
The former lawyer has been committed to stand trial charged with theft of commonwealth property, three counts of breaching the Defence Act and unauthorised disclosure of information.
He argues it was his duty to the people of Australia to leak the documents.
"When I'm down and I'm thinking about the trial, I think, "well, you're proud of yourself. You've done the right thing'," he said.
McBride also wants the documents to be declassified, arguing they don't pertain to current national security considerations.
A crowd of supporters gathered outside the Canberra court before his brief directions hearing was adjourned, with a handful approaching McBride to thank him for speaking out.
McBride leaked classified documents in 2017 to ABC journalists, who went on to produce a series called The Afghan Files.
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 the stories and the two journalists involved are also being pursued by federal police for publishing the documents.
The broadcaster is seeking involvement in McBride's case.
Australian Associated Press
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.