Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: So far from trivial

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  • Mark Walker,

    Yup, Tony Veitch has to go if anything like what has been said is true. Goddam it, it's just not OK.
    It's a great campaign and (as if the actions themselves didn't warrant it) the undermining of it alone should be cause enough to get him booted.
    Up until I heard the viciousness of the assault I was fence-sitting, probably because of the image he portrayed on screen - I liked the guy (or the image) but if he's done what it has been said, there is no longer any doubt in my mind.

    Mangawhai • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Possibly one of the most sickening things about the whole Veitch affair has been the "Your Views" crowd (not that we should have expected better) expressing opinions along the lines of "he's a good guy and it was ages ago, so we should forget about it". Talk about trivialising things.

    Combined with his comments about Serena Williams, I think it's fairly safe to draw from this that Veitch is a nasty piece of work who has no place on our screens. I can't help feeling sorry for his wife, though - no matter how much she knew, she probably never expected it to become so excruciatingly public.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Up until I heard the viciousness of the assault I was fence-sitting, probably because of the image he portrayed on screen - I liked the guy (or the image) but if he's done what it has been said, there is no longer any doubt in my mind.

    I wasn't horribly impressed by his description of it as "lashing out", either - if he'd punched her once, that would be apt. But pushing someone to the ground and kicking them so hard you break their back isn't "lashing out", it's - I don't even know if vicious is strong enough.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Jenkins,

    I'm not so sure he should be prosecuted. Isn't it up to the victim whether to make a complaint? She chose not to, and I think we should respect her choice.

    The police should investigate to make sure she wasn't coerced into anything, but surely they have better things to do than prosecute in a case that the parties involved have already settled independently.

    That said, I don't have any sympathy for him either, and won't lose any sleep if he never works in the media again. You do something as stupid as that, you gotta deal with the consequences.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Sorry to say, I've had a reliable source confirm the extent of the injuries.

    If truly contrite I'd like Veitch to volunteer for the campaign.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 547 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Gilks,

    Aren't there quite a few precedents for (sports-related) public figures getting away with domestic violence accusations relatively unscathed?

    I'm not making excuses for that little jerk, but Joe Public might well get confused. Yes the 'he's a good guy' comments over on Stuff are way dumb.

    Didn't [name under suppression redacted -- please try not to do this --RB] get dropped for dragging his partner out of the house by her hair? (I may be remembering the folklore and not the facts ...). He was later back playing top rugby in NZ.

    Upper Vauxhall, Dunedin • Since Apr 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm so glad you chose to talk about this, Russell. I have talked about it a lot to other people in the last couple of days, and some of the reactions have been stunning. This whole affair is just so wrong on so many levels. To visit violence of such force on a person, and to have no legal consequences for it? Are you kidding me? I'm left fairly speechless by the whole thing tbh. Where do you start? Of course the guy should be fired, of course there should be legal consequence. Bloody hell. And he convinced her to shut up about it - he broke her back, and panicked and it was hushed up. Wrong, wrong, wrong. He bashed the crap out of her, and excuses it in his statement as fatigue, being on medication etc. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It was a mutual agreement he says. More like she was scared shitless of him. Jesus.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    I can't help feeling sorry for his wife, though - no matter how much she knew, she probably never expected it to become so excruciatingly public.

    i'm assuming you're talking about zoe halford. if so, don't feel bad for her.

    with a mug like that she'll be on every [woman's] magazine from here to kingdom come in no time. her career is about to take off.

    tony's on the other hand should be sleeping with the fishes.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Gareth, that simply isn't the case. Criminal law is not private - the police are free to prosecute without a complaint from a victim. Consider the alternative - if a complaint was required, the attacker of someone left in a coma could never be prosecuted.

    The problem here is a lack of evidence. Saying "I lashed out" isn't the same as saying "I broke her back in 4 places". Absent a full confession from Veitch, or evidence from his ex, it'll be difficult to get a conviction.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 270 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm outraged.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Nine To Noon's discussion this morning was very interesting. The guy who works with violent men (can't recall his name) pointed out that one of the big issues in domestic violence is men attempting to conceal it, and thereby minimise his responsibility.

    Veitch did exactly that, when he really should have publicly taken responsibility. Perhaps there would have been a glimmer of hope of him maintaining his career. Not now, he's made too many bad choices.

    This is the option that Veitch, a sports journalist, has taken: the sportsman's path to redemption; the media conference confessional.

    It's an exercise in weaseling, as far as I'm concerned. He offered "no excuses", except the ones he goes on to state. FFS, I don't care how stress out you are, violence is a choice not a symptom.

    For better or worse, this sorry affair is going to be an example to violent men everywhere. I hope Veitch's employers considered this when deciding what action they are going to take.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 455 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Also - excuse me, settling criminal matters privately? Do you want to go back to the middle ages days of paying a blood price to pay off a murder?

    They are great, honking, very obvious public policy reasons that we don't allow people to contract out of criminal responsibility.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 270 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Aren't there quite a few precedents for (sports-related) public figures getting away with domestic violence accusations relatively unscathed?

    No, I think in general they've been prosecuted and dealt with in ways commensurate with the offence. The idea that All Blacks habitually get away with these things is hard to stand up.

    Didn't [name under suppression redacted -- please try not to do this --RB] get dropped for dragging his partner out of the house by her hair?

    This is the case I referred to in the post. The player's wife left the house in a nightgown after an argument, and he tried to drag her back to the house (not, so far as the details were reported, by the hair). It was an assault, but it barely compares with the current case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    His behaviour at the time was utterly reprehensible and inexcusable. Breaking someone's vertabrae like this is not just "lashing out" as far as I am concerned. His reaction in public has been less than commendable, and to me appears to be a self-erving attempt all about saving his career.
    I hope he is never on our screens again.

    I would really love to know how much and for how long TVNZ knew about all this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    You do something as stupid as that

    There are a lot of words I'd use to describe his actions, but 'stupid' seems rather too complimentary. 'Stupid' is locking your keys in the car or forgetting your mum's birthday... not breaking your girlfriend's back.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3628 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    Absent a full confession from Veitch, or evidence from his ex, it'll be difficult to get a conviction.

    surely the police can get access to her medical records from the hospital that treated her, confirm the date of the event and there is the proof they need? also, i would think they would be able to get a copy of the agreement - surely they can require vietch or his lawyers to provide them with it?

    the other worrying thing here is the alleged time lapse between when the injuries were sustained and ms dunne-powell reached the hospital. i would hate to think what might have been happening in that period of time.

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 129 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I would really love to know how much and for how long TVNZ knew about all this.

    Yes, Michael. In fact, we should demand to know. (ditto: Radio Network).

    If his employers knew (and it seems that at least some people did), then they should be resigning themselves. To cover this up was both morally indefensible and incredibly stupid.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 718 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    am i a total Pollyanna for hoping that people are able to be rehabilitated?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I would really love to know how much and for how long TVNZ knew about all this.

    Ditto.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    the other worrying thing here is the alleged time lapse between when the injuries were sustained and ms dunne-powell reached the hospital. i would hate to think what might have been happening in that period of time.

    That troubles me a lot too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Oliver Bellis,

    I wasn't horribly impressed by his description of it as "lashing out", either - if he'd punched her once, that would be apt. But pushing someone to the ground and kicking them so hard you break their back isn't "lashing out", it's - I don't even know if vicious is strong enough.

    Malicious might fit the bill.

    Something about the combination of people and damaged spines really bugs the hell out of me. More than say, an amputation or internal injury.

    --

    And it is not Okay, to just say your sorry and hope it gets swept under the Rug, Mr Veitch (gonna have to take away the Mr, because he isn't a man)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Jul 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I went ahead with the campaign, and I feel nothing but good about doing so. It has been a privilege to be involved with it.

    And so you should. It gets its point across without upsetting me so badly I have to leave the room, which makes it the first domestic violence campaign to do so.

    The guy who works with violent men (can't recall his name) pointed out that one of the big issues in domestic violence is men attempting to conceal it, and thereby minimise his responsibility.

    Conceal it, excuse it, and apologise for it. It's not all 'suck it up', it's 'I'm sorry honey, you know I was stressed out, it won't happen again I absolutely promise, let's put it behind us'.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    One thing I like about the 'It's not okay' campaign is how the initial release was followed by some real people admitting their issue and dealing with it. It's hard to say they're rehabilitated without prying into their entire family but they seem to attempting to do the right thing. And that's why I'd like Veitch to volunteer for the campaign.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 547 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    If his employers knew (and it seems that at least some people did), then they should be resigning themselves.

    sorry, not good enough. if they knew and failed to report to the police, then they should be prosecuted and convicted for aiding and abetting or whatever it's called these days.

    i'd also be interested in the code of ethics for lawyers, as paul pointed out in the fundy post (http://fundypost.blogspot.com/2008/07/life-of-pie.html). do they have absolutely no responsibility to report the crime, even as they draw up the settlement agreement around it?

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 129 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    pushing someone to the ground and kicking them so hard you break their back isn't "lashing out", it's - I don't even know if vicious is strong enough.

    You forgot the "repeatedly" in there, which means the words you're looking for are "vicious" and "sustained".

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

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