Tony Veitch has, on the day he admitted kicking his former partner in the back fracturing her spine, pledged to bring legal action against media for their coverage of the case.

Veitch was sentenced to 300 hours' community service and fined $10,000 at Auckland District Court today after pleading guilty to reckless disregard causing injury. Six other assault charges were dropped.

The court heard he kicked Kristin Dunne-Powell as she lay on the ground following an argument in January 2006.


Key points:

* Veitch admits one charge, six others dropped
* Sentenced to community service and fined
* Former partner says still traumatised
* Veitch says past year 'hideous'
* Veitch vows legal action against media
* Radio Sport will begin negotiations with Veitch

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Outside court, Veitch said the past year had been a "hideous time for his family" and he would be taking legal action against some media organisations, who he said had run stories without sources.

In the courtroom, Judge Jan Doogue had told Veitch that despite the ongoing media and public interest: "You are the architect of your own misfortune."

Those living in the public eye suffer when they fall from grace, she said.

Meanwhile, Bill Francis at The Radio Network - owners of Radio Sport - said the company will begin discussions with Veitch about future employment.

Veitch quit his broadcasting roles at TVNZ and Radio Sport last year after allegations about the assault were first made public.

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said the first step was for Veitch to be honest and accountable and he had "made a start today".

"Although the remaining charges were dropped and may never be answered, at least Tony has had the sense to plead guilty, showing consideration for his victim and ownership of his actions."

It was up to Veitch to show leadership and continue to take responsibility for his behaviour, Ms Henare said.

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"This outcome does show that facing consequences and owning your actions is the only way forward."

The night of the assault

Ms Dunne-Powell read out a victim impact statement to the court this morning.

She said she had suffered physical and psychological harm for which she was still undergoing counselling.

The court heard that Veitch injured Ms Dunne-Powell when she went to visit him on January 29, 2006.

Crown prosecutor John Dixon said that before the argument, Ms Dunne-Powell had read a text on Veitch's cellphone.

Mr Dixon said that provoked the argument but not the assault.

"Nothing she did justified what he did, which was kick her in the back when she was on the ground," Mr Dixon said.

Veitch's lawyer Stuart Grieve, QC, said the assault had occurred "in a context with elements of provocation".

He cited notes from a counselling session that the couple attended two days after the assault took place.

Mr Grieve said Ms Dunne-Powell had told the counsellor that she had gone through Veitch's cellphone while he was out of the room.

He said Ms Dunne-Powell told the counsellor that she had issues of trust.

Veitch and Ms Dunne-Powell had a heated argument, after which he kicked her in the back while she lay on the floor.

Veitch then crouched down on the floor next to her and asked if she was OK and she said that she wasn't.

During the night Ms Dunne-Powell woke up in considerable pain. The two then went to hospital where it was found that as a result of the assault she had a traumatic haematoma and one or two fractures of the spine.

Ms Dunne-Powell's spine was fractured in two places and she temporarily had to use a wheel-chair and crutches, the court heard.

Veitch speaks to media

After today's hearing, Veitch told media that he had undertaken counselling after the assault, which he described as out of character.

"That is not me and it will never be me again. I wish I had handled things differently that night," Veitch said.

He said he told his family, wife and later his employers at TVNZ and Radio Sport about what he had done and paid the $150,000 to Kristin Dunne-Powell to ensure his wedding went ahead.

"What still confounds me, and even today it still confounds me, is my misguided belief that Kristin and I actually parted on good terms," Veitch said.

He said he remained in contact with Ms Dunne-Powell for 13 months after the relationship ended.

He said he was looking forward to working with charities as part of his sentence but declined to answer any questions from the media after saying he would take legal action.

Packed courtroom

The court was full for today's hearing, with some members of the public having to stand and about 24 journalists filling the jury box. Veitch was supported by his wife Zoe Halford.

Six other charges of assault over allegations Veitch attacked Ms Dunne-Powell during their 2002-2006 relationship were today dropped.

Judge Doogue sentenced Veitch to nine months supervision and 300 hours of community service and imposed a $10,000 fine. Veitch's probation officer will decide whether an anger management course is necessary.

The reckless disregard causing injury charge he admitted carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment.

Judge Doogue said she took into account Veitch's lack of premeditation in attacking Ms Dunne-Powell and his remorse when sentencing him.

The fact that Veitch did not intend to cause the injury and it was "a singular act of short duration" were also mitigating factors.

However, she stressed "it was an act of violence on an innocent party".

Referring to submissions from Mr Grieve where he told the court that Veitch was curled up on a bed with his hands clamped over his ears during an argument between the couple, Judge Doogue said: "Nothing she did justified what you did that night."

She said: "Aggravating factors were the vulnerability of Ms Dunne-Powell at the time of the attack and the fact that she was kicked in a vulnerable part of her body and the long lasting effect on her psychological quality of life."

In October 2007, Ms Dunne-Powell's solicitors wrote to Veitch asking for money to cover medical expenses of over $100,000 and a donation of $5000 to the domestic violence charity, Preventing Violence in the Home.

This request led to a $150,000 payment which included a confidentiality clause. Veitch had made two earlier payments of $2000 and $10,000 to Ms Dunne Powell.

Judge Doogue said these were "substantial payments made for genuine reasons related to her wellbeing".

ORIGINAL CHARGES

Injuring with reckless disregard:

January 29, 2006.

Male assaults female:

December 18, 2006, at Auckland. Dropped

Male assaults female:

November 5, 2005, at Auckland. Dropped

Male assaults female:

July 8, 2005, at Auckland. Dropped

Male assaults female:

June 3-4, 2005, at Rotorua. Dropped

Male assaults female:

Between April 14, 2003, and April 9, 2005, at Mangawhai. Dropped

Male assaults female:

Between March 15, 2002, and April 19, 2003, at Auckland. Dropped