Imposter sits in on Australian defence meetings

 
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Canberra, Mar 15:  A truck driver who was once jailed for armed robbery posed as an army officer, mixed with the top brass and talked his way into high-level security meetings, an Australian court has been told.

Peter Bennett, 54, started his 10-month fantasy military career in September 2005 when he wore formal military dress to gain entry to an air force base dinner, where he chatted to Australia's air force chief, Air Vice-Marshal Geoffrey Shepherd.

Melbourne's Age newspaper said over the following months, Bennett joined meetings of Operation Acolyte, the defence force's security operation for last year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and was issued with a defence force identity card.

''To his boot straps, he was simply a cheeky civilian with a good tailor and a foot locker brimming with confidence that enabled him to parachute behind friendly lines,'' the Age said on Thursday.

A court official told Reuters Bennett had pleaded guilty in a local magistrate's court to impersonating a public official and making a false declaration.

He will re-appear in court on May 16 when the magistrate will be presented with a psychological assessment, the official said.

Bennett had tried to join the army in 1971, but was rejected as medically unfit to serve.

Reuters>

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