Posts Tagged ‘Veitch’

Veitch leaks: who dunnit?

August 25, 2008

Yesterday the Sunday papers were full of details about the Veitch affair, and the alleged assaults in particular (here and here). It’s got to the point where the carefully orchestrated media campaign by Veitch and the leaking of detials to the media — and their publication — is the more impotant story.

The police deny giving details to the media. Said Detective Inspector Scott Beard:

“The only people who have access to the police caption of summary are myself, the officer in charge of the case, the Crown and Mr Veitch and his team.” (Audio here.)

The Criminal Bar Association has criticised police for releasing information about the case. It points out that:

“any information that gives potential jurors one side of the case is prejudicial, and could lead to a judge dismissing it.”

Absolutely right, but it appears to have rushed to judgement here. Not only do the police say that they haven’t given the details to the media, why would they jeopardise their own case?

Veitch’s spin meister Glenda Hughes also denies leaking the information. She’s the one who was so forhtcoming to the news media the previous Sunday.

There should be an inquiry into these attempts to pervert the course of justice.

As for the news media… Shame, Granny, shame!

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that we have the old media going all out for the tabloid headlines with narry a thought for the wider implications of their actions, and the bloggers pondering the significance of the affair while avoiding anything that might be sub judice?

How can Granny actively undermine the integrity of the justice system possibly imagine that it has the moral authority to lecture us about the EFA? It doesn’t. It’s morally bankrupt.

Veitch affair: TVNZ lets itself off the hook

August 22, 2008

John Drinnan reports in this morning’s media column that TVNZ is keeping its report into its handling of the Veitch affair secret. A spokesperson says it is an “internal report” and will be considered by the TVNZ board of directors and TVNZ shareholding minister Trevor Mallard. And no-one else.

So there you are. How much did TVNZ execs know about the events that saw Veitch’s former partner hospitalised and seven charges laid against Veitch?

We’re expected to accept TVNZ’s assurances that, “it had already been found that staff at a TVNZ meeting with Veitch acted properly.” Russell McVeigh  completed the report for TVNZ.

But that may not be it. Drinnan tells us that, “The Herald has also made applications under the [Official Information Act], which were rejected by TVNZ.” Don’t stop there Granny. There’s clearly a story here.

Clod plod goads cad

August 18, 2008

As if yesterday’s efforts in the rehabilitate Veitch campaign weren’t enough, there’s even more hugely sympathetic reportage this morning.

Turns out that a cop accidentally left a tactless and none too sympathetic remark on Veitch’s answerphone. As Bomber at TUMEKE! points out, it was probably accidental — certainly sounded like it.

Cue another blatant attempt to manipulate public opinion:

“Veitch’s wife, Zoe Halford, … claims the remark left her wanting “to vomit”, and worried about possible police bias against her husband. It made me feel as if there was unprofessionalism and bias.”

Yes, that poor man Veitch, victim of his obssessed and grasping ex, the incompetent and biased police, the ‘trial by media’, and so on. Not his own brutish and violent behaviour. Never.

[Updates:

Seven charges have been laid against Veitch, spanning 2002 to 2006.

Paul at The Fundy Post posts to great effect on this.]

Veitch spin ramped up

August 17, 2008

How remarkable! Both major Sunday papers carrying major stories based on interviews with Tony Veitch’s wife on the same day. All this only a week after the HoS carried the story about a former Veitch girlfriend sticking by the “shamed broadcaster”. Oh, and the SST carried the revelations of a “former flatmate and close female friend”.

Some might suggest that it would take a well-connected (and expensive) PR team to achieve that — and they’d be absolutely right.

Such touching stories. You’d almost think all this copy was written by the PR team, but I guess they just suggested the story lines when they set them up. You think I’m being a little cynical here? Here’s the “former girlfriend” in the last week’s HoS:

“This whole thing has blown me away, but I guess in a way it has given me a chance to set the record straight and talk about what sort of person Tony really is.”

And here’s the unnamed “close female friend” courtesy of the SST:

“What I want to say,” she told the Sunday Star-Times yesterday, “is enough is enough. I believe Tony was a victim of her behaviour.”

As Ethical Martini points out, the HoS story is the darker of today’s crop:

“… the curious issue of Kristin Dunne-Powell’s motive bubbles close to the surface of the text, but without ever being made explicit… the HoS stops short of suggesting anything really sinister, but a picture emerges of a young woman obsessed with a failed relationship and driven by something unhealthy.”

Martin goes a little further and puts a name to what is being implied with the detailed account in the HoS of the escalating demands made by the injured ex-girlfriend. But it’s pretty obvious. And it is a cause for concern.

It was clearly too much to expect the media to butt out of the story after Veitch resigned somewhat belatedly from his jobs with TVNZ and radio. After all, how can you rehabilitate this important media asset without the media?

That our two major Sunday papers should feature such one-sided, tendentious stories, bereft of any real news value, and so obviously part of a well-planned and brilliantly executed (it has to be admitted) PR campaign is  sickening nonetheless.

They’ll probably be vying for Qantas Media Awards on the basis of this tosh come next year. However, the sad fact is that NZers have been badly let down by the fourth estate. Again.

More importantly, what chance of a fair trial now? I guess Veitch won’t be complaining about this deluge of flattering “news”. Perfectly timed too. When’s he due to be charged?

(For those who have been out of the country and not following events here closely, background on sportscaster Tony Veitch’s assault of his former girlfriend more than 2 years ago and its aftermath is here, here and here.)

Veitch in 66 words

July 18, 2008

Resigning was the right thing. Good it will be investigated. Media should butt out. The media execs will hold themselves to account. Yeah right. Did the lawyers pervert the course of justice? Let’s hope for wider change in attitudes to violence, domestic in particular. Nuff said.

Postscript: No, I am not applying for a job as a National Party policy writer.

Compensation for Veitch?

July 13, 2008

Well, turns out that TVNZ executives were told last December of Veitch’s “assault”.

That word “assault” comes from this morning’s HoS headline, although it is not supported by anything in the story. It raises an important point. What did Veitch tell his bosses (four of them were told)? Why is this so important?

First, if an employer condones a particular behaviour, then it can’t reasonably expect to be able to dismiss at some later point for that behaviour. By ignoring the behaviour, the employer is accepting that it’s okay.

Underlying dismissal with cause for misconduct, non-performance or dishonesty is that the employer can no longer trust the employee, and rely on them to do their job honestly and competently.

Further, if it was an assault, they arguably became complicit in covering up a criminal offence.

Assuming that the TVNZ executives knew something like the full extent of the matter, but proceded to sack Veitch anyway, MacDoc raises the question of whether Veitch might be awarded compensation (and reimbursed for lost wages) should any dismissal by TVNZ be found to be unjustified.

This is technically possible. But note that the courts are required by the Employment Relations Act to take into account the extent to which the claimant contributed to the situation which led to their dismissal. And, as a practical matter, I wouldn’t want to be the one determining how much of the humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings Veitch might suffer was the result of any dismissal.

Why does there not appear to have been a clause in the contract of this high profile “personality”, whose value to TVNZ depends on public popularity, for just this sort of situation? There should be, and if there is, then dismissal ought not to be a problem.

In any event, it is clear that at the very least there needs to be an enquiry into the response of TVNZ last year. Ideally, we might see some resignations before then.

Memo to TVNZ: Removing Veitch from the Olympic coverage team is not  enough.

Update: The Government has started asking questions. PM Clark says that there is a “moral crisis” at TVNZ, and Mallard is refusing to be fobbed off with a whitewash. Looks like some heads may roll at TVNZ, after all.]

Veitch must go

July 12, 2008

This  morning’s Herald reports the views of several employment law experts that TVNZ has sufficient grounds to sack Veitch. This has been my view as well, although my expertise in employment law is undoubtedly less extensive.

It is true that TVNZ would have to give Veitch an opportunity to explain himself, and would need to investigate any matters that Veitch raised. That’s called “natural justice”, and we would all be poorer if we didn’t follow these principles in our legal and employment dealings. The idea that TVNZ would have to “[consider] alternative posts” is a new one for me, and I’m inclined to disregard that.

(more…)

Veitch — Will justice be done?

July 10, 2008

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?

(more…)