A New Zealand actor, who starred in the hit film Boy, has pleaded guilty to an assault charge after coming to the aid of his mum and sister during a streetside melee.
Pana Lawrence Hema-Taylor appeared in Auckland District Court this morning to face a charge relating to an incident outside his family's home last February.
The 27-year-old who played the role of mechanic Bert Thompson in TV3's Westside was initially facing a charge of assault with intent to injure. However, the charge was amended to common assault given the circumstances of the incident.
In a statement from Hema-Taylor provided to the Herald from his lawyer, Ron Mansfield, the actor said he feared for the safety of his family.
"The incident arose when I rushed outside to see my mother and sister, a young mother herself, being confronted by an intoxicated male and female," The Brokenwood Mysteries actor said.
"My mum and sister were outside as they had just put down my sister's child and the noise coming from the people outside the house was disturbing."
He said when he left the house he saw the confrontation ensuing.
"I believed that the male and female were threatening my mum and sister and I moved to prevent that from happening by seeking to separate them.
"I didn't realise how intoxicated the male was and as a result I accept that I used more force than was probably needed."
The drunk man "fell to the ground heavily" and was injured.
"I didn't intend that and I regret it," Hema-Taylor said. "When you are concerned about family, and fearing about what might be about to happen to them at the hands of intoxicated strangers, it is hard to know what to do, how to react and whether force is required."
He said he "genuinely felt, I had to intervene" to separate his family from the incident and "to prevent violence".
"I accept that I made a mistake in the way I intervened," he added.
Hema-Taylor has a young son of his own with ex-partner Wentworth star Danielle Cormack, and in 2015 had a daughter with his girlfriend.
He will appear for sentencing in July.