It’s always good to have friends in high places and there’s no higher celebrity spot than sporting hero it seems.
Tony Veitch was undoubtedly helped by the slew of celebrity testimonials he received in the last few days before his trial in the Auckland District Court this week. While there’s nothing wrong with asking friends to write you references, it does show that in the rarified atmosphere of Planet Celebrity, a note from your middle class mates is much more valuable than any kind of letter from your social worker or drug counsellor.
And isn’t it nice to have an opportunity to work off your sentence helping out your favourite charities, rather than breaking rocks in some Hellish real prison.
Despite the nice idea that the legal system treats everyone the same and that the colour of your money, or the fame of your friends, doesn’t matter, there’s no doubt that real class will always triumph. Having a well-paid publicist in your corner is also a useful Joker in the pack.
Now the task of dissecting Veitch’s real level of remorse begins and, so far, it’s probably around 50 per cent.
In an NZPA piece carried on Stuff.co.nz, a family violence expert says he is not sure that Tony Veitch has fully accepted responsibility for his actions:
“Part of them will front up and take responsibility for the behaviour and then there’s another bit of them that sort of minimises it or puts it outside of themselves,” Mr Gardner said.
“They want to keep saying to people `I’m a good guy, I’m a good guy’, and actually that’s not the issue, about whether you’re a good guy or not, the question is what are you going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Mr Gardener said Veitch’s constant references to “wanting to have his day in court” were also a worry.
“I got really concerned in this instance when I heard the lawyer talking about `there’ll be blood on the floor’,” he said.
“That kind of really aggressive language doesn’t suggest to me that this is someone who is saying `no, this is totally my responsibility, violence is never ok and I’m going to sort this out – you’re going to see it in my actions not just in my words’.” [Gardner on Veitch]
The line between have and have not in the legal system is clear too today.
It’s a pity that every defendant to go up before a judge doesn’t get the same sort of support and rallying around from the likes of the national rugby coach and Olympic heroes. [Veitch's celebrity supporters] It’s also refreshing when one of the referees breaks ranks and tells the media that she thought her testimonial was for another purpose all together. It does rather shatter the mythology and expose the exercise for what it really is: calling in favours to keep someone out of jail. [Devoy didn't know]
Another installment from the Dunne-Powell camp today too. I know how she felt about the dreaded Sunday roll-around. It became a sport for me too.
She said “the one-sided” media coverage had effectively put the victim on trial in the public eye.
“When it first started I was just so shocked that it was allowed. I couldn’t see how it could possibly be part of the process. I was told that it would stop once the charges were laid and it didn’t.
“The first six to eight weeks were just horrendous. Particularly on Sundays. Sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t believe the things, the lies that were being told …” [Dunne-Powell on Veitch]
Commentary from domestic violence organisations has basically been positive towards the outcome of the case and the plea bargaining process is explained in the NZ Herald. So too is Veitch’s desire to start a family and get on with his life, but this final statement seems to indicate a lack of real insight:
He told Newstalk that the case should have been solved quietly. “It could’ve been shut down. This didn’t need to be played out in public. There have been no winners and we’d dealt with this as far as we were concerned [under a confidentiality deal].” [Veitch on fatherhood]
It seems he still thinks it is OK to buy your way out of trouble, rather than face legal consequences. Too bad this is not an avenue that more ordinary folk can take, particularly since Veitch wants to be loved by the average Kiwi Joe Blow.
He told Newstalk ZB: “The statement of facts says what happened. I think it is up to average Joe Blow New Zealanders to look at what did happen that night and make their own decisions. I’ve never wanted sympathy.
“I hope average Kiwis will say, ‘the bloke made a mistake … it was inexcusable and maybe one day he’ll be given a second chance’.”
Tumeke says “man up” New Zealand