1 Mar 2017

Crown questions cause of veteran's eye damage

7:58 am on 1 March 2017

A veteran seeking compensation for an injury from a cobra attack during the Malaysian conflict did not mention the incident to authorities for almost 30 years.

Malayan conflict veteran Pat Edwards

Pat Edwards Photo: RNZ / Anne Marie May

Pat Edwards says his eyesight has progressively deteriorated since a cobra spat venom in his eyes while he was on patrol during the Malaysian Emergency.

The guerrilla war was fought between Commonwealth armed forces, including 4000 New Zealand servicemen, and the Malayan National Liberation Army, between 1948 and 1960.

His lawyer has asked the High Court in Wellington to declare her client's pension backdated to the date of the injury or to his first application in 1966.

Crown lawyer Rachel Roff told the court Mr Edwards had applied for the pension for disabled soldiers six times, and had not mentioned the venom until the fifth of those, in 1994.

The Crown also argued his eye condition had been caused not by cobra venom but by retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease.