Veitch testimonial not a domestic violence okay

BY NICOLA BRENNAN
Last updated 13:36 17/04/2009

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Olympic and Commonwealth Games chef de mission Dave Currie says that while he provided a glowing testimonial for Tony Veitch, there is no way he condones domestic violence.

Raglan-based Mr Currie, who is also the Black Caps manager, was one of several sports stars, coaches and television personalities who gave testimonials produced at Veitch's Auckland District Court appearance yesterday.

Veitch was sentenced to nine months supervision, 300 hours community work and fined $10,000 after pleading guilty to a charge of wounding with reckless disregard for kicking former partner Kristin Dunne-Powell on the ground, breaking her back.

Twenty character references from celebrities were given to the court these also included All Blacks coach Graham Henry, former squash champ Dame Susan Devoy and Olympic triathlon gold medallist Hamish Carter.

Currie's reference said: "While I appreciate the seriousness of the charges he is facing and make no comment on them, my personal dealings with Tony have always been conducted with honesty and respect."

Mr Currie said this morning that his reference in no way meant he condoned Veitch's actions.

"Cleary it was a serious incident and it was not a good thing to do," Mr Currie said.

"I by no way condone at all what he has done. I made it clear in my note that I wasn't condoning the serious charge that he was facing, I simply made comment on my experiences over the years with him."

Mr Currie said Veitch had always been straight and honest with him.

Mr Henry praised Veitch as a fair and objective reporter who had not "bagged" individuals after the team's shock 2007 Rugby World Cup loss praise which has earned the wrath of Women's Refuge.

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said some of Veitch's high profile supporters should be embarrassed after he was convicted of a serious charge.

She was particularly disappointed with Mr Henry's comments.

"That's somebody else who needs to go to counselling, if you ask me," she said.

"It's completely irrelevant for the situation. To compare them both is hideous. We're talking about someone who had a broken back as a result of an assault."

In a written statement Veitch's wife Zoe Halford told of "at least seven times when Tony had lost all hope to live", since publicity over the assault.

Ms Dunne Powell said she had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

- with Dominion Post

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