Local media plays role in outing phoney soldier

Photo by Marianne Curtis

At an event in Niverville back in 2009, Josh Tuckett presented himself as an 18 year old corporal heading out on his first tour of duty to Afghanistan. 

By Marianne Curtis

An article in the Dawson Trail Dispatch from a few years ago was used as evidence in a recent trial where a young man posing as a soldier admitted to being a phoney.

The story entitled “Local Heroes Welcomed Home” appeared on the front page of the January 2009 issue. The story focused on three Niverville area soldiers who recently returned home after serving a tour in Afghanistan. Despite being a community of conscientious objectors Canada Awakening Ministries hosted an event attended by over seventy people who celebrated the safe return of the local heroes.

Also in attendance was Josh Tuckett who claimed to be a corporal on the verge of deployment. Tuckett and his fiancé were both wished well as the community and the returning soldiers empathized with his plight as he prepared for his alleged service to his country. However this all turned out to be a hoax on the part of Tuckett.

On August 8, Tuckett was in a Winnipeg courtroom after being pleading guilty to impersonating a member of the military by wearing a uniform without authorization. The 21 year old was arrested last November after he attended a military even in full uniform. He claimed to be a corporal that served in Afghanistan and Haiti and that he was stationed in Alberta. He was arrested after he presented a false name and identification number.

Provincial court judge Patti Umpherville heard how Tuckett spent more than two years pretending to be a soldier; even fooling his own family members and fiancé.

Tuckett admitted to the charade and claimed he purchased the uniform while volunteering for the cadets and playing on a paintball team. He also admitted he told family members that he was a full-fledged soldier and was suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.

Umpherville was told that Tuckett does not suffer from any mental disorders nor did he gain anything from the charade other than attention and recognition.

Tuckett later admitted to investigators he had attended several similar events over the past few years as part of the hoax.

“I apologize for my actions. I guess I never gave it a good thought what I was doing,” Tuckett told court during the hearing. When asked by the judge his ruse was to gain attention, Tuckett replied “A little bit, yes.”

The maximum sentence for impersonating military personnel is six months behind bars. However that sentence is normally imposed in cases where the deception is used for a more sinister purpose.


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