Actor Cliff Curtis in court

By Adriana Weber -
Cliff Curtis
Cliff Curtis

Hollywood actor Cliff Curtis has been fined and disqualified from driving after appearing in a Rotorua court.

Curtis, 45, was disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay $500 plus $130 in court fines when he appeared in the Rotorua District Court today after pleading guilty to driving while his licence was suspended.

The sentence carries a maximum sentence of three months' imprisonment and a $4500 fine.

The Rotorua-born actor, known for his roles in Once Were Warriors, Whale Rider, Die Hard 4.0 and Blow, was suspended from driving on June 25, but was caught driving on Amohia St just two days later by police.

He was arrested after driving through a police checkpoint. He had been served a demerit notice suspending him from driving days earlier.

The officer who had served that suspension saw him go through the check point.

Rotorua police road policing manager Brendon Keenan told the Rotorua Daily Post the officer recognised Curtis, followed him and found him a short distance away where she arrested him.

Community Magistrate Robyn Paterson told Curtis she was concerned by how quickly he was driving again after being suspended.

"Mr Curtis, I am concerned that you were suspended on the June 25 in Rotorua, and two days later, you were driving again, so you clearly weren't taking it seriously," she said.

Curtis' lawyer Wiremu Te Are said in court his client did not hesitate to take responsibility for his actions.

"He has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, he was upfront and admitted his actions to police."

Mr Te Are said he hoped the community magistrate would take that into account, and would acknowledge that there were no aggravating factors involved in the offence.

Curtis' current driving suspension ends on September 25 and the six months' suspension will start from then.

After his sentencing, the Rotorua Daily Post approached Curtis but he said he could not comment under the circumstances.

In October 2004 the actor crashed his car into a house after texting and driving, which at that time, wasn't illegal.

Curtis was driving through Otaki to work on the movie River Queen when he was distracted by a text message and veered off the road, striking a parked car, the corner of a house, then ploughing through the lounge of another house.

In his upcoming film, The Dark Horse, Curtis plays New Zealand chess guru Genesis Potini who has bipolar disorder and tries to coach a group of Gisborne youths to a national chess championship.

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