RED DEER, Alta. – A man who posed as a U.S. Marine veteran during Remembrance Day ceremonies in central Alberta has pleaded guilty to unlawful use of military uniforms and medals.
A third charge against Peter Toth, 59, was dropped.
Toth was sentenced Wednesday in Red Deer to 18 months of probation and 200 hours of community service.
Court heard that he has since destroyed the uniform and military decorations.
His lawyer said Toth has struggled with depression, understands that what he did was wrong and feels remorse.
Last November a group called Stolen Valour Canada began looking into a report of a man claiming to be a former U.S. Marine who attended ceremonies on Nov. 11 at schools in Red Deer.
A picture taken at one event shows Toth dressed in a desert camouflage uniform festooned with military medals and ribbons.
Stolen Valour officials said he was wearing rank badges in the wrong place, incorrect insignia and claimed to have been wounded in Afghanistan in 2005 despite saying he had retired from the military in 1985.
Outside court, Gord Swaitkewich, a former soldier who is a spokesman for Stolen Valour Canada, said justice has been served.
“It was a little bit of a process but any win is a win,” Swaitkewich said.
Swaitkewich said his next order of business is to get the veterans license plate from Toth’s vehicle removed.
“He is not a veteran, he has no legal right to have that plate.”
Robert Dale, a retired sergeant, said he was also gratified with how the case turned out.
“We’re not going to stand by for somebody stealing valour from our fallen,” Dale said.
“He claimed he was in Afghanistan? We lost 185 people in Afghanistan and for him to do what he did is like him desecrating their graves and we’re not going to stand for it.”
Dale said they hope the publicity of Toth’s case will send a message to the public that soldiers deserve respect. (RD News Now)