'Westside' star Pana Hema-Taylor in court accused of violent act
A rising Kiwi acting star has appeared in court charged with assaulting someone outside his family's home.
Pana Lawrence Hema-Taylor, 26, starred in Boy, played dodgy mechanic Bert Thompson in TV3's Westside, and will appear on Kiwi screens again in the new drama Dirty Laundry.
He appeared in Auckland District Court on Tuesday charged with assault with intent to injure, after police amended his earlier charge of assault.
No plea was entered at the appearance, but in a statement issued by his lawyer Ron Mansfield, Hema-Taylor denied being guilty of assault and said he acted in a "reasonable manner" to protect his family.
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He said the incident he is being charged over occurred "many months" ago outside his family's address. Hema-Taylor was inside when he heard cries for help, and went out to see female family members "involved in a physical altercation with some strangers".
"I reacted to prevent my family members being assaulted and to break up the incident," he said.
Hema-Taylor said he acted in "what I believe to be a reasonable manner" but was "embroiled in an unwanted altercation".
"I have assisted the police with their investigations and I am disappointed I have been charged. I propose to defend that charge at this time and can only trust that the court will accept that my actions were required," he said.
Hema-Taylor has a 6-year-old son with ex-partner, Wentworth star Danielle Cormack, and early last year he had a daughter with his girlfriend, Naomi Campbell.
He recently finished shooting scenes for Prime's third season of The Brokenwood Mysteries.
HEMA-TAYLOR'S FULL STATEMENT:
"I have been charged with an assault many months after an unwanted incident outside of my family's address, I was there visiting.
"I became involved when I heard cries for assistance and went outside to see female family members involved in a physical altercation with some strangers. This was happening on the footpath outside their own home. I reacted to prevent my family members being assaulted and to break up the incident.
"I acted in what I believe to be a reasonable manner. As a result, I was embroiled in an unwanted altercation. I deny being guilty of an assault. I was only seeking to break up the incident and to protect my family. I have assisted the Police with their investigations and I am disappointed I have been charged. I propose to defend that charge at this time and can only trust that the court will accept that my actions were required."