Medal-wearing war vets face accused military fake in court
WEARING their service medals, a dozen war veterans sat quietly in the back of the Maryborough court to face the man accused of pretending to be one of them.
The veterans gathered at the Maryborough Magistrate's Court where general manager of the local RSL, Craig Michael Lenihan, appeared for the first time.
Mr Lenihan is charged with falsely representing to be a returned soldier, sailor or airman and the improper use of service decorations.
He also faces a third drug-related charge.
Vietnam War veteran Gary Conyers said the veteran community took the allegations "very seriously".
"We are proud of our service overseas and really do not appreciate it when there are allegations that someone lied about time in the force," he explained.
"We put our lives on the line for the good of all Australians."
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, Denise Helliwell-Armstrong said the medals she and her colleagues pinned to their jackets and shirts were worn with pride.
"I come from a family with a long history of service and believe we have all earned our medals through sacrifice," she said.
Wearing a blue collared shirt and brown trousers, Mr Lenihan cut a forlorn figure on the opposite side of court, stepping outside several times before his case was eventually called up.
Proceedings wrapped up in a matter of minutes after duty lawyer Morgan Harris read out his name.
Magistrate Terry Duroux adjourned the matter until 21 January for mention.
Mr Lenihan remains on bail.
The Maryborough RSL has advised its staff their 51-year-old boss is currently on three month's stress leave and not to be contacted.
Maryborough RSL sub-branch president George Mellick was present for this morning's proceedings.