The process and the pundits: Tony Veitch arrested

August 18, 2008

This could well be my last post on Tony Veitch for some time. He was charged this afternoon (Monday) on six counts of assault and one of ‘reckless disregard’. According to his lawyers Mr Veitch will strenuously defend himself. His first court appearance is likely to be Monday next week.

This is my likely last post because, as of about now, the sub judice rule kicks in. According to my media law bible: “one should not say or do anything that might create a real risk of prejudice to a fair trial”. (Burrows & Cheer, 2005,p.387)

So, I guess it’s lucky that the PR flacks got in over the last couple of weeks to get the ‘poor Tony’ spin into the news cycle. We can now all google that stuff till the cows come home; it predates the charges so is not technically within the period of sub judice.

This post is, so I’m going to be careful and brief; when a matter is before a court (literally sub judice = under a judge) anything that prejudices the trial, or brings the process into disrepute is contempt of court.

If the trial is before a jury there is the constant fear of prejudice – jurors and potential jurors being influenced by pre-trial publicity. The question, according to B&C is therefore: “How great is the risk that this publication might influence the jurors (or witnesses)?”

This question cannot be easily answered; there’s no scientific measure of ‘influence’ over a jury. However, we can say that in this case there’s been a lack of balancing information recently.

  1. We have the allegations being canvassed high and low – how many kicks and punches, etc; was Ms Dunne-Powell’s back broken or not?
  2. We knew it was serious when Tony’s pals began to move quietly to the back of the room.
  3. We know that Mr Veitch resigned from his high-paid jobs when the story refused to go away.
  4. We know that Mr Veitch is not really like that and we know that Kristin Dunne-Powell is, at least, accused of stalking by Veitch’s supporters.
  5. We can surmise that a certain Mr Holmes might be called as a character witness.

All of that is hearsay and it’s now in the public domain thanks to the media’s close attention to the case.

But that’s all we know. The speculation will now have to stop in the news and in the blogosphere.

The End of Part 1.

A curiouser and curiouser tale – Mrs Veitch speaks up

August 17, 2008

What a fascinating account of the Tony Veitch affair in the Herald on Sunday this week. Tony’s partner, Zoe has given an amazing interview to the paper in which the curious issue of Kristin Dunne-Powell’s motive bubbles close to the surface of the text, but without ever being made explicit.

There’s a similar story in the Sunday Star Times by Donna Chisholm, but with none of the real impact. [“We’ll fight to  bitter end”]

Jane Phare’s story in 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:

Zoe Veitch, 27, said her husband’s former partner, Dunne-Powell, had had a “hold over us for the majority of our relationship”.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Veitch told the Herald on Sunday yesterday that Dunne-Powell appeared to react each time she saw Tony Veitch or the couple together, or if they were photographed socially.

“There was always something from her within a couple of days. It was always very reactionary.”

Veitch said that she had hoped once Dunne-Powell was married “she wouldn’t be bothering us so much”. “I’ve always said to Tony that if she is happy in her own marriage she will leave us alone.” [Veitch’s wife strikes back]

Another curious twist in this story and the word on everyone’s lips this afternoon… Read the rest of this entry »

Tony Veitch back in the news – he’s a good guy, seriously

August 10, 2008

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the slow, whispering campaign to rehabilitate Tony Veitch appeared to be underway. Well this weekend he was back in the Sunday papers and some interesting comments from former girlfriends and flatmates in both the Sunday Star Times and the Herald on Sunday.

Ex-love stands by Tony Veitch (HoS) Veitch flatmate says there’s more to story (SST)

Both appear to downplay any violent tendencies that the former sports presenter might harbour and both seem to paint Kristin Dunne-Powell in a poor light.

FYI: I am not passing any judgment on Tony here, or suggesting that I agree or disagree with the assessment of the sources quoted in these stories.

Interesting too that on Saturday the NZ Herald seemed to clear up one little lingering mystery: what did Ms Dunne-Powell report to the ACC?     Veitch partner gave details to ACC

Meanwhile it seems the police are going to take an interest in the tape of an interview that Tony Veitch did with columnist Paul Holmes. In his column about the tape, Holmes implied that Veitch gave some details of the night of the alleged assault incident.

But Holmes and the HoS seem reluctant to hand the tape over because some of Tony’s comments were emotional and ‘off-the-record’.

Hang on, both of these men are adults and experienced journalists. They would know that you can’t go ‘off-the-record’ in a taped interview once it’s underway. You can turn the tape off, but if it’s left running then too bad for both of them.

HoS editor Shayne Currie says the paper will comply with legal requirements, but does that mean the police will get the tape, or not? I also don’t think it will give too much away. I personally think that Holmes was just talking himself up. He loves to be a big part of his own stories; a legend in his own lunchbox.

You can backtrack on my coverage here

Say no more

July 22, 2008

I always appreciate a bits on the side. Makes me tingle all over.


It”s worth reading from the top. “Mr ‘omes you are on notice ‘ere guv.”

“Please sir, can I ‘ave some more?”

It’s hard, hard rain, go’na fall

Was Tony Veitch being blackmailed?

July 19, 2008

I’ve said all along that this story is about more than Tony Veitch’s alleged assault and payout. There’s been reportage suggesting that several people outside those directly involved had some knowledge of the events of January 2006 and subsequently. What did they know and what did they do with that knowledge?

Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that it’s taken more than two years for the whole thing to blow open in a very public way.

Today (Saturday 19 July), Patrick Gower wrote in the Weekend Herald of discussions between Ms Dunne-Powell and a journalist in March 2007, prior to any negotiation of a financial deal between her and Tony Veitch.

In my original post on this issue [Tony Veitch, monster or victim?] I raised some questions about the anonymous sources being used by the Dominion Post. The whole thing seemed a bit murky, now I’m even more curious about those sources and also the “chain of evidence” between Ms Dunne-Powell, her friends and allies; and the journalist Stephen D’Antal.

The timelines on this whole saga are also interesting. I’m not satisfied that everyone is being totally upfront with the media, the public, or even themselves.

Read the rest of this entry »

It ain’t quite over yet – no relief in sight

July 17, 2008

I don’t do tea leaves, but I did feel a chill on Sunday when I read this headline in the News over a front page story by Jonathan Marshall.

Vietch Scandal gets worse

It did too. Monday’s New Zealand Herald revealed more about the injuries suffered by Kristin Dunne-Powell.

Veitch left Kristin on floor for hours

And again on Wednesday: CIB detectives on Veitch case

Then on Thursday the axe we’d all been waiting for. Tony Veitch resigned from TVNZ and the Radio Network and a statement from Dunne-Powell’s lawyers confirmed that a complaint had been made to Auckland police.

A week from Hell and there’s no exit sign in view.

Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody

July 12, 2008

Not true – Moac and I are off the the “thee-ate-‘er” anytime soon to see Cat on a hot tin roof – irresistible.

Before we go, just a quick hat tip to Lisa Owen, TVOne news reporter and in a tough spot. Lisa is the reporter covering the Tony Veitch affair.

Lisa, you have made this story worthwhile. You are maintaining some integrity for TVNZ in this crisis.

I think you were brave tonight to name Anthony Flannery because TV3 didn’t do that. The December meeting revalations made today by both TVNZ and the Radio Network add a new and needed dimension to this story. It’s not easy being in your position – inside the organisation that’s caught up in it.

You did a gutsy report on Wednesday too. You are part of the future and the recovery of the network’s news credibility.

I acknowledge you are also a colleague and friend to Tony Veitch – there was something in your eyes tonight that captured some pain (maybe my flighty imagination!). The conflict is there and you are at the frontline of journalism on this story.

It’s not a comfortable place but I admire your principled position – all power to you.

I’m sure there’s more to come out here – it’s become an ugly mess for everyone.

It’s interesting that we haven’t yet heard from the Dom Post on why they broke this story; who there sources were, or any deals that may have been done.

It seems that Ms Dunne-Powell might not have been consulted, but her family is saying very little. Was there an invasion of privacy here? Who confirmed to the Dom Post the existence of the confidentiality agreement? Was that done with Ms Dunne-Powell’s knowledge or not?

Friday’s Dom Post editorial did not answer these questions, instead it concentrated on nit-picking TVNZ.

However, I did enjoy the NZ Herald‘s Friday editorial, particularly this line, which I had rehearsed much earlier in the week:

The myth of the role model has never been more evident than in this case. Veitch, for all his ability to talk, could never have been regarded thus. Nor, for that matter, could the errant All Black Jimmy Cowan and numerous others whose personal failings have spoiled their professional facades. Could anyone seriously name a child or adult who looked up to these individuals in any kind of aspirational way?

[Leave Veitch for the police]

So to end the week’s frenzy – boquets and brickbats. Recipients know which award they’re to collect. Ladies and gentlemen, form an orderly queue to my right.

This has to hurt:

Veitch strife gets the Tui treatment

The lads go nutty about sport – no comment

July 12, 2008

I couldn’t help it. I saw the promo for the TV One sports quiz show Game of Two Halves [GoTH] on Friday evening and decided to tune in. I thought I should take a look at the programme that was previously hosted/moderated by suspended presenter Tony Veitch.

The promos were a big tease.

In the first promo,  fronted by the show’s star performers, Marc Ellis and Matthew Ridge, was the promise to tackle the big question of the week in sport – but it wasn’t “Does Tony Veitch have a future?”, it was a lame joke about the All Blacks test against the Springboks. It ended with a female v/o: “The lads go wild about sports.”

The second promo in the next ad break was worse (in a sense). It was a similar format, but this time the “question” was about netball. Who would win he weekend semi-final between the Swifts and in Marc Ellis’s words: “those other birds” . The tag line voice over had been changed: “The lads go nutty about sport.”

indeed, the lads are “nutty”. they’re also reasonably offensive, childish, violent, sexist, homophobic and totally not funny.

Read the rest of this entry »

ONE News interesting coverage of Tony Veitch

July 10, 2008

So the Radio Network has suspended Tony Veitch, pending an internal inquiry and the police have announced there own investigation. The doors are slamming shut on Veitch’s career.

An interesting result on a New Zealand Herald online readers’ poll today. It’s split 50-50 on whether or not Tony Veitch should keep his job at TVNZ.

I haven’t seen tonight’s news on TV One yet, but last night (Tuesday) the coverage on his own network was pretty negative.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sorry Tony, it’s time to go

July 10, 2008

I don’t see how Tony Veitch can hang on to his jobs with TVNZ and Radio Network in light of the public reactions to the revelations this week that he bashed his former girlfiend and tried to buy her silence.

Tony’s performance at yesterday’s media announcement has done nothing to repair the damage to his reputation. If any thing it’s perhaps made some people even angrier. The tide of media opinion (which is not necessarily the same as public opinion) is that he is a liability now to his employers.

The “mea culpa” yesterday was, in the eyes of many, only half a step. It won’t satisfy the critics and it won’t necessarily prevent a police inquiry and charges arising from the incident.

Unfortunately, Tony Veitch’s career seems to be over.

Read the rest of this entry »