Veitch — Will justice be done?

The broad outlines of Tony Veitch’s assault on his former partner are now becoming clear. So are some very disturbing issues about the way that domestic violence and celebrity crime  are treated in this country.

Rather than reporting a serious crime to the proper authorities, Veitch’s lawyers seem to have colluded in an attempt to cover it up by buying the victim’s silence. Don’t lawyers have any responsibilities to see justice done?

Paul Litterick has suggested, “Let’s make pies of [Veitch] and then force-feed him to his lawyers”; or perhaps, name and shame the lawyers if we’re too squeamish. I don’t think I’d go quite as far as using this particular recipe for humble pie, but can’t those involved in the attempted cover-up be charged with obstructing justice?

But he’s come clean you say. He’s already paid up for his crime. It’s the victim’s free choice so that should be it, were it not for the “man haters”. Nothing to see here Move on. (And that’s a sampling of just 16 minutes of kiwiblog comment.)

Sorry, but it took some time before the dramatic public apology, and that had all the hallmarks of one of those spin-doctor orchestrated displays of public contrition that errant sports players and politicians make in order to control the damage. Worse, he undermined his message. As Julie at The Handmirror puts it:

“…it’s good that he apologized and it’s great that he did so publicly. What would have been more helpful would be if he had not only said “no excuses” and admitted that he had a year of counselling after the event, but also if he had stated, from the pulpit that the media has given him, that it’s not ok, it’s never ok, and if you even find yourself thinking about doing this then you should get help.”

It is also instructive to contrast TVNZ’s careful treatment of someone who has admitted an assault — he’s still an employee — with its immediate dismissal last year of a security guard with 24 years loyal service, who had the temerity to challenge politely a public figure over her publicly expressed views. (Hat-tip to lefthandpalm for pointing this out.)

Well, there are some differences. The security guard fessed up straight away and Christine Rankin may have been happy to testify as to what was exchanged. Also, any payments for lost earnings, injury to feelings and so on are much less for a security guard than a major TV and radio personality, so the downside risks of an unjustified dismissal ruling are not so great.

Nonetheless. The TVNZ executives are happy to deprive a low-paid worker of his livelihood for speaking out of turn, but appear to be willing to wait and see with someone who has confessed to a criminal act. And it’s not that they could be unaware of the desperate need for a change in NZers’ attitudes to domestic violence, either.

Inexcusable. Maybe Paul’s right, but we should serve up Veitch pie to the TVNZ executives as well as the lawyers.

Update: How ironic. We get greater moral leadership from gossip columnist Rachel Glucina! No, true. She writes, “It took over two days for the usually prone motor-mouth to utter that one little word [sorry]… in my opinion no one can ever use the pressures of work life and lack of sleep as an excuse for violence… Sorry can indeed be the hardest word, especially when you’re Tony Veitch, TVNZ and RadioSport with a helluva lot to lose.” And much more. (Hat-tip: TUMEKE!)

Update2: According to the Herald, TVNZ executives are, “considering keeping Veitch off air until after the Olympics – but then allowing him to return to work.”


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8 Responses to “Veitch — Will justice be done?”

  1. Inventory2 Says:

    There’s another dynamic to it JP – did Veitch collude with his former partner to defraud ACC by providing false information as to the cause of the injury? Is he guilty of a crime of dishonesty as well as a crime of violence?

    I enjoy Tony Veitch the persona. I’m considerably less enarmoured with Tony Veitch the man. And as I have stated on Keeping Stock, domestic violence is NOT OK – ever.

  2. jafapete Says:

    Invent, You restore my faith in the decency of the non-kiwiblog right, after trawling through some of the hateful stuff there.

    I had wondered about ACC, but haven’t caught up with the details of that? Are they known?

  3. MacDoctor Says:

    Inventory: ACC is a no-fault insurance. They are only interested in the injury and its resultant costs, not in the cause of injury. The only way you can defraud ACC around causality is if you claim that a chronic condition was caused by an accident (like claiming the arthritis in your knee was from a fall). Claiming that something was an accident, when it was an assault is irrelevant to ACC.

    I agree that domestic violence is never excusable. However, it is forgivable, especially if the perpetrator takes steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again, as in the cases of both Tony Veitch and Derek Fox. That their crimes are now historical means they succeeded in their own reformation – good for them.

    Since neither of them are attempting to excuse or defend their previous conduct and thus endorse domestic violence, I see no reason for the media to continue to hound these men. I shop-lifted a stitch counter (no idea what I wanted it for!) when I was six. Does that mean I am still considered untrustworthy? Single historical crimes should not condemn a man forever – otherwise we are all guilty in some way or other.

    MacDoc, Fair point, and good to see you getting the stitch counter off your chest. I think I shop-lifted a packet of chewing gum when I was six. First and last time, too. But I find Veitch’s ability to buy his way out and (almost?) avoid the justice system deeply disturbing. And I would like to see a little more evidence of reform in Veitch’s case. The Fox revelation seems to be an own goal, and someone’s butt is deserving of a big kick, to say the least.

  4. Inventory2 Says:

    JP – I wear my “Kiwiblog Right” t-shirt with pride – I’m just not quite as extreme as some, nor as extreme as some who inhabit that place known as The Standard lol.

    MacDoc – thanks for the ACC info – but doesn’t it leave the scheme open to abuse if there is no sanction for wilfully furnishing false information?

    Meanwhile JP, how do you feel about the source of the leak of information about Fox being Shane Jones’s office?

    Invent, As I said, someone’s butt deserves kicking. Just hope that it is Jones’s office and not Jones himself. It was so unnecessary, too. I’m sure that someone in the media looks at Truth now and again, so they would have picked up on it — if they were interested. BTW, we lefties get to decide who is “kiwiblog right” and you’re not frothy enough, sorry.

  5. MacDoctor Says:

    I2: but doesn’t it leave the scheme open to abuse if there is no sanction for wilfully furnishing false information?

    Technically, you sign a declaration saying that everything above is true, so writing misleading information is actually fraud. However, as I point out, ACC really don’t care unless the false information would materially alter the claim (i.e. cause them to reject the claim, if they knew it). I should also point out that it is the injured person who usually signs an ACC form and very often they give a different story to the doctor than the one they wrote on the ACC form. Often they are just simply too embarrassed to write the true story on a very public form.

    MacDoc, Reading that last sentence, I just had a great idea for a guest post…

  6. Lita Says:

    I had forgotten about that security guard firing. TVNZ need to fire himVeitch, for the simple fact a lot of us don’t want to see his mug on telly again (unless its a mugshot).

  7. Inventory2 Says:

    JP said “BTW, we lefties get to decide who is “kiwiblog right” and you’re not frothy enough, sorry.”

    Sheesh, I’ll just have to get more insulting eh you pinko piece of lickspittle liarbore apologist sh*te! Nah, that’s not me sorry; I’ll just have to try and win debates on the strength of my arguments.

    I2, Yeah, not very convincing. Whaleoil, for example, calls me an “enthusiastic lickspittle apologist”; the trace of irony with the “enthusiastic” is a nice touch, suggesting perhaps some naivety. Best stick to arguments and leave the abuse to whaleoil and redbaiter 🙂

  8. Veitch spin quickens « Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] Tony Veitch’s assault of his former girlfriend more than 2 years ago and its aftermath is here, here and […]

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