One of the stars of TV crime show Westside has been fined $500 after an assault outside his family home.
Pana Lawrence Hema-Taylor, who starred in the hit film Boy, earlier pleaded guilty to an assault charge after coming to the aid of his mum and sister during a streetside melee.
The 28-year-old appeared in Auckland District Court today before Judge Russell Collins on a charge relating to the incident outside his family's home last February.
Sentencing was due to take place on September 15, but was delayed after Hema-Taylor missed his flight from Napier.
Police did not seek a warrant for his arrest.
Hema-Taylor, 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.
The actor also starred in the hit film Boy.
Hema-Taylor's lawyer Ron Mansfield made a brief submission to the court before Judge Collins handed down the sentence today.
He said the actor "certainly wasn't out looking for trouble" when the incident occurred.
The 28-year-old was currently employed, was "filming" and "things are going well" for him.
The night of the incident Hema-Taylor was home with a young child.
The victim had been drinking and "settled" outside Hema-Taylor's home where they proceeded to make noise.
Hema-Taylor's relatives went outside to ask the victim and his group to be quiet.
The situation escalated from there and Hema-Taylor, perceiving a threat to his family, stepped in.
"You reacted in the heat of the moment and kicked him in the head," Judge Collins said.
"All in all it was an unfortunate event.
"It certainly had an impact on the victim."
Judge Collins acknowledged Hema-Taylor was a high-profile defendant - but he did not want the case to be "clouded" by his "celebrity" status.
"You're an actor, people need to realise you're not being treated today because of that," he said.
"We see assaults like that sadly every day of the week and what Mr Mansfield has been at pains to stress in his submissions is that you don't ask for any special treatment because you're an actor, you don't ask to be treated leniently… you have consciously made the decision not seek a discharge without conviction even though that will place hurdles in your way in the future."
Judge Collins also addressed Hema-Taylor's difficult upbringing.
"You come from a gang background in Wairoa… I well understand the actual impact in day-to-day lives in people from that gang environment in Wairoa.
"What Mr Mansfield is saying is I don't want any special treatment for my client because he's an actor - but some recognition of how far you've come in your life from your background."
He said the victim did not offer violence to Hema-Taylor.
"I don't accept that he did offer violence to you but I can accept in the situation... You could have well perceived that to be the case."
He commended Hema-Taylor for his early guilty plea and for not blaming the victim for starting the fracas.
Hema-Taylor had shown "clear remorse" which had been demonstrated in his early guilty plea and the steps he had taken since the incident including counselling.
Judge Collins said there was a "likely impact" on Hema-Taylor's career but "zero likelihood of you reoffending".
He convicted the actor and fined him $500.
He also ordered Hema-Taylor to pay his victim $1500 reparation for emotional harm.
After sentencing Hema-Taylor provided a statement to the Herald.
"As I have previously stated, on that night I felt that I needed to become involved to protect my mum and sister from an assault outside their home," he said.
"I still think I needed to become involved, and so do they.
"But I accept in retrospect that I misjudged the situation and what was required.
"I used too much force and someone was hurt. It all happened quickly and I never intended that.
"In fact, I was trying to prevent just that, someone from being hurt."
He said he did not know at the time that the victim was intoxicated.
"I just feared the worst from him," he explained.
"I am disappointed that happened and with myself, I have accepted this misjudgment and I am committed to avoiding such a situation again.
"As we all know I have made mistakes in the past and I am not perfect - I doubt I ever will be or want to claim that I am.
"But I am committed to keeping out of trouble and concentrating on my work - work I am fortunate to have and love.
"Hopefully the only trouble I will get into from now on will be on the screen and followed by applause."
Hema-Taylor said he was "pleased" that the court case was behind him.
"I am also grateful for all the support and love I have received from family, friends and fans.
"You are all great and it has helped, so thank you everyone," he said.
In a previous statement from Hema-Taylor, he said he feared for the safety of his family at the time of the incident.
"I rushed outside to see my mother and sister, a young mother herself, being confronted by an intoxicated male and female,"
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"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 then-girlfriend.