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Ashmore man charged with impersonating a soldier

A MAN who dressed as an Australian Defence Force commando while buying food from a fast-food store has been arrested and charged after an eagle-eyed RAP officer noticed errors in his uniform.RAP Senior Sergeant Stewart Reid said the man was inside the Robina McDonalds store in an Australian Army uniform when a RAP officer noticed he was wearing badges in the wrong position and some aspects of his outfit were outdated.“The officer observed he had a badge that should only be worn in night field exercises and also had another badge in an incorrect position,” he said.“His beret was also the wrong colour and he was wearing a commando badge that was not the current issue.“He was however wearing a current Australian Defence Force shirt and pants and had the rank sleeve of private.” Sen-Sgt Reid said the officer, who is an Australian Defence Force reservist, waited for the man to leave the store before questioning him about his attire.“He was questioned in relation to his status and said he was in the process of discharging and went on to say he was just going to have drinks with mates and was previously a navy clearance diver for seven years,” he said.Police inquiries with the Australian Defence Force confirmed the 41-year-old Ashmore man had been discharged from the army in July last year and had only served as a recruit for two months.Sen-Sgt Reid said RAP had also spoken with the Navy who confirmed he had also never been a clearance diver.The man’s uniform was seized by police and he has been charged under the Commonwealth Criminal Code for impersonating a Commonwealth Officer, a charge that holds a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
He will be fronting the Commonwealth Court at the Southport Magistrates Court at 11am on May 18.There was no suggestion the man was attempting to gain anything from wearing the uniform and Sen-Sgt Reid said it was extremely disrespectful on the eve of Anzac Day.“It is disrespectful to our current and previous serving members of the Australian Defence Force and at the same time it is also a big eye opener as to how easy it would be for somebody to inappropriately gain access to a memorial service and be in proximity to current and previously serving members,” he said.

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