Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Violence was out of character for Veitch?

A file of evidence on Tony Veitch's violence against Kristin Dunne-Powell has been released under the Official Information Act. It's harrowing reading.

Veitch was never tried for these charges. I suspect Dunne-Powell dropped the charges and agreed to the plea bargain because of the campaign of public undermining she was subjected to.

There are good reasons why women shouldn't feel compelled to go ahead with charges in domestic violence cases. There is also a strong public interest in ensuring that violence is subjected to the scrutiny of the courts, not ignored - even when it is ignored by agreement by the individuals involved.

This outcome doesn't feel like justice to me.


backin15 said...

Well put Anna. I wonder how Ms Dunn Powell feels about this publication, perhaps vindicated, perhaps re-victimised? I guess we'll never know. Vetich's sustained assaults on her were reprehensible. The fact that they were bargained away in the case that was bought to trial doesn't diminish their offensiveness.

Anna said...

It worries me that charges could possibly be plea-bargained away in a situation where the offender was still potentially a danger to other people.

I think Veitch's commitment to stopping violence is genuine (even if it may be motivated by wanting to preserve his career, more than concern for the person he harmed).

If the Police/courts had thought Veitch might still have a propensity for violence, would they have gone down the plea-bargain road?

backin15 said...

I don't actually know what considerations are relevant in the bargaining. You'd hope that the Police are thinking about the risk of re-offending. I understand, at least from the press, that one consideration was to avoid unduly exposing Ms Dunn Powell. I certainly think that's valid.

I don't know how you assess whether Vetich is capable of changing. I just don't. His behaviour has been so random, I can't discern a pattern and on occassion, his proclaimed remorse is absent.

I guess the issue that most galls me is that at various points in time, Vetich claimed to be a good guy who just snapped. But we now know he had assaulted his partner on a number of previous occassions.