Goondiwindi man has "offended and insulted" veterans after impersonating a returned serviceman

Theses are the replica medals worn by Kenneth Franks at the Dawn Service in Goondiwindi on Anzac Day.
Theses are the replica medals worn by Kenneth Franks at the Dawn Service in Goondiwindi on Anzac Day.

He served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and received the American Bronze Star.

Except none of it was true. Instead he lied to men who had served in Vietnam and other war zones and who had returned home safely to march in Anzac Day parades.

A 49 year-old Goondiwindi disability pensioner has pleaded guilty to impersonating a returned soldier at the Goondiwindi Anzac Day Dawn service on April 25.

Kenneth Edward Franks told the Goondiwindi Magistrate’s court he was “very remorseful” and that he’d been trying to “honour a friend” who’d passed away.

“I did it the wrong way,” he told Acting-Magistrate, Robert Walker on Thursday.

The Magistrate told Franks he had “offended and insulted” veterans who had put themselves “in jeopardy in the service of their country, exposed to serious physical risk”.

“You said it was to honour a friend but you may now recognise you have done the opposite of honouring your friend.”

Earlier police Prosecutor, Sgt Ken Wiggan said police had received a complaint from a returned serviceman after Anzac Day 2018.

They spoke to a number of returned servicemen who said they had talked to Mr Franks “a number of times and been told  a number of stories” about his military service.

Police raided Mr Franks’ home on Wednesday where they took possession of 10 military medals ranging from service medals in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia to the American Bronze Star.

“Anyone who has served (in the military) takes a very dim view of this,” he said.

“I am very sorry for what I’ve done,” Mr Franks responded later.

“I didn’t think it was an offence. I know I lied and it was the wrong thing to do,” he said.

He was fined $1000 and the medals were confiscated. They were replicas.