Dame Susan Devoy says her testimonial for broadcaster Tony Veitch - splashed across newspapers today - was for an application to return his passport, not to support him in a court sentencing.

"I feel misled," the squash legend said this morning.

In her testimonial presented to the court at Veitch's sentencing yesterday for injuring his former partner with reckless disregard, Dame Susan said he deserved a chance to get his life back and have the opportunity to work again.

Full story: Celebrities write letters of support

She had been asked to provide a testimonial on Monday, but did not know then that he would be appearing in court this week, and was taken aback when he did, she said.

"I honestly wrote my testimonial in the belief it was to support an application from Tony to get his passport back for the possibility of a job opportunity," she told Radio Live.

She had written it because she believed Veitch, whom she knew and whose stepmother was a close friend, deserved a chance to work again.

"I mean we can't ostracise him for the rest of his life. But it is a different kettle of fish when you are writing a letter of support of someone coming up for sentencing.

"And I know that because I have written a letter recently for someone who is actually serving 10 years and six months for something probably a lot less than what Tony has done."

She said she would not necessarily have refused to provide a testimonial for his sentencing.

She had no qualms about Veitch working again and had written her testimonial on the basis that he should be allowed his passport back and that society was a place which gave people a chance to work and move on from their mistakes.

Dame Susan said she had told her own four sons there was never an excuse for violence.

"At the end of the day whether we like it or not people like Tony are role models. My kids might make mistakes and I might need the support of friends myself when that happens and I'm certainly not perfect myself."

Dame Susan would not reveal who had asked her for the testimonial, other than it was a private individual.

She said she had received a "barrage" of emails and phone calls questioning her character supporting someone who had pleaded guilty of violence abuse.

"So I have to live with that one. It is just one of those things, unfortunately...probably one of those things I can do without."

She had written in her testimonial that she hated Game Of Two Halves, the sports quiz show Veitch had hosted, and some of the things he was involved in, "because to me they were just chauvinistic crap".

"But I said that is not to deny he is a professional, and his career, and he has a wife and he has to move on and work again and that was basically the basis of my testimonial."

- NZPA