17 years on ACC

Stuff reports:

A Hutt Valley man who was filmed walking around a supermarket while claiming he needed a wheelchair has lost a battle to get his payments back.

Wiremu Brightwell had appealed against a 2010 ACC decision, stripping him of his disability allowance.

But in Wellington District Court Judge David Ongley found he “probably wilfully exaggerated his symptoms and presented a severe disability that was not caused by his covered personal injury”.

Up until 2010, Mr Brightwell had cover for an injury from 1993, when he was hit on the side of his head by an exploding tyre and rim.

ACC medical adviser Martin Robb examined him in 2010, and told ACC that, in his opinion, Mr Brightwell was “malingering”.

“He did not appear to be in pain, but on entering the surgery in his wheelchair appeared to be very moribund, unable to operate the controls of his wheelchair,” Dr Robb said.

“Despite his apparently moribund state, he was able to answer questions quickly and appropriately with a clear but quiet voice.”

Although Mr Brightwell claimed to be largely bedridden, he had “good musculature with no sign of muscle wasting”.

Even if Mr Brightwell does need to be in a wheel chair (which is doubtful), there are jobs you can do from a wheelchair. Many wheelchair bound people can and do work.

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