Former Shortland Street and Spartacus star Manu Bennett has been arrested and charged with assault in Texas after allegedly punching a 29-year-old man in the face.

He is now facing a year in a US county jail.

Bennett was in San Antonio for the Alamo Comic Con, a convention for comic book enthusiasts, at the weekend.

News website My San Antonio reported that preliminary details released by the San Antonio Police Department indicate that Bennett allegedly punched a 29-year-old man in the face at a party at the Grand Hyatt Hotel shortly after 4:30 am.


Arrest records filed in the Bexar County Magistrate's Office stated the 45-year-old actor was charged with assault causing bodily injury and was being held on a US$1600 ($2527) bond. He was released at 12.55pm and court records state he left the area.

Bennett's New Zealand management agency Johnson & Laird Management said they wouldn't comment on the situation.

Bennett also appeared in The Hobbit movies, and the US TV series Arrow as masked supervillain Deathstroke.

Bennett's arrest photo. Photo / Bexar County Sheriff's Office
Bennett's arrest photo. Photo / Bexar County Sheriff's Office

San Antonio, the seventh most populated city in the US, is south of Dallas in Texas.

In Texas the charge of assault causing bodily injury is a Class A misdemeanour.

According to Kiele Linroth Pace, a criminal law firm in Austin, Texas, the default maximum punishment for a Class A misdemeanour is one year in county jail and a US$4000 fine.

"But the punishment range may be enhanced for those with prior convictions. A jail sentence may also be probated, depending on various factors, in which case a defendant may not actually spend any time in jail," the firm's website said.

Azog the Defiler was the main villain in The Hobbit. Bennett played him via motion capture. Photo / Warner Bros
Azog the Defiler was the main villain in The Hobbit. Bennett played him via motion capture. Photo / Warner Bros

Bennett will be seen next year in the New Zealand-filmed US fantasy series The Shannara Chronicles in which he plays a major character, Allanon.


He had promoted the show - based on the books by Terry Brooks - at San Diego's Comic-Con earlier this year and saw it as another big break in his career which has been dominated by fantasy and action roles.

"Once you get on a show that's released at Comic-Con, all of a sudden you're part of this world, which is a massive part of the American public. Even though Hollywood has a presence here, there's nothing bigger at Comic-Con than the people," he told TimeOut at the time.

"I've been here five years in a row so I'm starting to feel old, but I know what it's allowed me to open into as an actor."

Queensland-raised Bennett went under his first name Jon early in his career in Australia.

He switched to his second, Manu a name he says was from his late uncle, Bishop Manu Bennett, who was the Anglican Bishop of Aotearoa from 1968 to 1982.

After appearances in Australian shows Paradise Beach and Water Rats in the early 90s, Benett crossed the Tasman for a role on Shortland Street in 2000-2001 then a season of Street Legal in 2002.


His next big break came as supporting character Crixus in the Auckland-filmed gladiator series Spartacus followed by the Hobbit trilogies and then superhero show Arrow.

Additional reporting: Sophie Ryan, NZME News Service