Veitch yet to take 'responsibility'

BY MICHAEL FIELD AND CLIO FRANCIS
Last updated 20:33 16/04/2009

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LAWRENCE SMITH/Sunday News
JUDGMENT DAY: Tony Veitch outside court today.

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The ex-girlfriend of broadcaster Tony Veitch still does not believe he is remorseful for what he has done.

Kristin Dunne-Powell spoke to TV3's Campbell Live this evening, while Veitch gave his version of events to TV1's Close UP in head-to-head interviews tonight.

It follows a court appearance this morning by Veitch where he pleaded guilty to one charge of injuring with reckless disregard in an incident involving Ms Dunne-Powell on 29 January 2006.

Six other charges of assault were dismissed when the Crown offered no evidence.

Ms Dunne-Powell said tonight she was not convinced that Veitch "really understands what he has done and really taken responsibility for that".

"I think his remorse is over what has happened for him in his life, as opposed to having any true remorse for me and what happened to me," she told TV3's Campbell Live.

Dunne-Powell said she did not want to see Veitch's career destroyed.

When asked if she had forgiven Veitch, she said she did not feel the need to and had not been asked to.

Meanwhile Veitch has spoken of the evening he injured Dunne-Powell saying he was lying on his bed while she lay on the floor.

"As pathetic as it may sound... I lay there with my fingers in my ears, pleading for her to stop," Veitch said.

"And then I tried to leave the room."

He said he had made a "terrific, horrible mistake". 

When asked about rumours that his representatives had dug-up "dirt" on Dunne Powell, Veitch said he "did some investigating," after he was charged with her assault. "I had a good time and I found stuff..."

EARLIER TODAY

Veitch was spared jail for the attack that broke his girlfriend's back, but was told by a judge he was the author of his own misfortune.

Speaking on Newstalk ZB this evening, Veitch said: "It's like an enormous burden that's just been lifted."

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"I feel like the right thing has happened.

"I've never wanted sympathy ... I've just wanted the facts to get out there."

Veitch was sentenced by Judge Jan Doogue to nine months' supervision, 300 hours' community work and a $10,000 fine. If his parole officer deems it necessary, Veitch must also attend a Stop Violence programme.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment.

On radio, Veitch recounted his version of events from the night he kicked and injured Ms Dunne-Powell. He said it followed a dispute over his private communications.

He said a confidentiality agreement he signed with Ms Dunne-Powell was designed to protect them both.

"It's been a situation that I honestly believe did not need to be played out in public."

He said he did not know who brokered the plea bargain deal that saw the six assault charges dropped.

"I have no clue. ... All I know is that the deal was representative of what was fact and not fiction."

FALL FROM GRACE

Dressed in a gray suit, Veitch was forced to stand in Auckland District Court this morning to listen to submissions and the judge for over an hour.

Judge Doogue noted the impact the publicity had had on Veitch.

"Those who live in the public eye suffer inevitable additional exposure when they fall from grace," Judge Doogue said.

"You have perpetrated an act of violence on an innocent party and you are the author of your own misfortune in all of this."

The court heard how Veitch and Ms Dunne-Powell had argued about the way she had read his phone text messages and that when she was curled on the bedroom floor, he had kicked her in the back once.

The court heard that two parts of the spine known as the transverse processes had suffered trauma and one or two had been fractured.

INTENSE PAIN AND MUSCLE LOSS

Earlier Ms Dunne-Powell, 35, read her victim impact statement to the court.

"I had been in an on-and-off relationship with Tony," she said.

She said she had suffered bruising and a "spine fracture in two places" - although this was disputed by counsel for Veitch.

She said she suffered intense pain and muscle loss.

"The disfigurement was so apparent that when I got married in 2007 it was necessary for my dressmaker to pad out my dress."

After the case became public she suffered a nervous breakdown.

"Tony made me feel to blame, helpless, isolated, threatened and ashamed. I felt at the time my life was at risk."

Ms Dunne-Powell said she had been "harassed and hunted by some journalists" and her life had been the subject of malicious lies rumours and falsehood.

She found it "very distressing" to be the regular subject of radio and internet gossip.

SENTENCING

Judge Doogue stressed she was acting on the basis of a single charge and not what was in the media.

"The relevant facts of your offending are stark," she said.

The relationship between the two had been "difficult and conflicted" and reached a crisis on the night of the injury.

"In the course of that argument you kicked the complainant while she was on the floor of your bedroom," Judge Doogue said.

It was "a single act" which had caused trauma to the right transverse processers causing ongoing nerve problems. But the emotional impact was greater and Ms Dunne-Powell had to "endure an enormous amount of distress due to the relentless media and public interest that has caused her and her family ... immense anguish."

The police summary of facts states that during the evening the pair talked about their relationship in the bedroom.

"A heated argument ensued, in the course of which Veitch kicked the complainant in the back while she was on the floor," the statement said.

Veitch later took her to Auckland Hospital before leaving at 6am for work duties.

Soon after the attack, Veitch wrote Ms Dunne-Powell a letter of apology.

He also paid Ms Dunne-Powell $12,000 for physiotherapy costs, and $150,000 for medical expenses, loss of income and emotional distress.

The court heard today how Veitch had 20 references speaking of his good character, some from prominent New Zealanders.

'SLANDER'

Veitch said after the sentencing that he had been shocked at the way events had been portrayed in some areas of the media.

"From today we will begin legal action against them. It is one thing to condemn someone and another to slander them."

Veitch said today had been hideous and he was absolutely relieved to have it over with.

"Despite what may have been said, I never shied away from anything that happened that night over three years ago.

"That wasn't me, and will never be me again."

He said he had told his family, his wife and close friends of the attack soon after it happened. Veitch also said he had told his employer, TVNZ, the "full and utter truth".

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said outside court that police had investigated the case thoroughly and professionally.

"The bottom line is this is not an unusual case. What's different is Mr Veitch is high profile. At the end of the day, domestic violence is not okay".

The Dominion Post revealed in July last year that Veitch had secretly agreed to pay Dunne-Powell more than $100,000 after assaulting her at his Auckland home.

He admitted two days later that his "frustration took over".

"I broke and lashed out in anger, something I will regret till the end of my days," he told reporters.

Veitch later quit his TVNZ and Radio Sport jobs and was charged in August, saying he was "more determined than ever" to clear his name and "there are two sides to every story and I guarantee that will come out in the end".

TONY VEITCH'S MEDIA STATEMENT

"I'm really not sure how to explain how I feel right now.

"While this has been a hideous time for everyone in my life..... I'm relieved it's finally over.

"Until now.... because of severe legal constraints... and the agreement i signed...  I've been unable to say anything.... let alone defend myself.

"From today that stops.

"Despite what some in the media have reported over the past nine months.. I never shyed [sic] away from what happened on that night over three years ago

"I paid Kristin's medical costs at the time.

"I was so concerned about what happened and it was so out of character I undertook counselling to help me understand how i could be driven to such a place.

"That is not me. It will never be me again.

"I wish I had handled things differently that night......
 
"I told my family, my wife and close friends exactly what happened on January 29th 2006. They stood by me then, and continue to stand by me now.

"For that I am eternally grateful.

"When it was necessary.... I also told my employers at TVNZ the full and total truth.

"I also believed if I didnt pay the $150,000 our wedding day would have been at risk.
 
"What still confounds me... is my misguided belief that Kristin and I actually parted on good terms.

"While we both realised our relationship could not work..... we remained in contact for a full year after the incident and attended counselling together.

"Today is the result of some long hard thinking.

"I had two choices. My day in court... Which I desperately wanted.... but I knew would be two years away. Or end this now. Save everyone more pain.... and allow my wife, and our famillies to get back to a normal life.
 
"I now look forward to working with charities which I love and I am passionate about, as part of my community service.

"And I am grateful sense has prevailed and the other charges have been dropped.

"There is one final point I would like to make.

"Much has been written and said over the past nine months which defies belief.

"As a journalist I'm at a loss to understand how certain media organisations could run with stories on the basis of a  "source" and without fact.

"From today we will begin legal action against them, in the hope that they realise... It's one thing to condemn a person via the media.... It's another to slander them.

"Thank you to all of those who have helped me through this ordeal.

"Thank you to my famillies [sic]....

"Thank you to all of you.... Who sent messages of support.

"And most of all thank you to my wife Zoe.... Who is quite simply, the toughest, most rational, intelligent, beautiful woman in the world.

"I would never have survived this without her."

- with NZPA

- Stuff

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