A former Otaki RSA president has pleaded guilty to wearing medals he was not entitled to.
Don Moselen wore Vietnam War medals at Anzac Day services despite not serving in the conflict. He was charged after veterans made an official complaint to national RSA headquarters in 2010.
Angry veterans wearing medals they had earned filled Levin District Court today as Moselen stood before Judge Gregory Ross.
Moselen's lawyer Daniel O'Neil told the court his client pleaded guilty to wearing medals he was not entitled to, but not guilty of using a document, namely an Otaki RSA cheque.
Judge Ross said the charges were closely linked and remanded Moselen to reappear next month.
It is the first time time anybody has been charged under the 1918 Military Decorations & Distinctive Badges Act with falsely wearing a medal. The maximum fine of $500 has remained unchanged since 1918.
Local Vietnam veterans were joined by others from Wanganui, Blenhiem and Hawke's Bay for Moselen's brief appearance.
Outside court former war correspondent Chris Turver, who served in Vietnam, said: "For someone to try to pass themselves off as a soldier is one of the most demeaning things that could happen to someone who had served in Vietman."
Vietnam Veterans Outreach Group spokesman Ian Barnes said Moselen's actions had affected him and other veterans and their families.By Peter Franklin of the Horowhenua Chronicle