Entertainment

Westside actor Pana Hema-Taylor convicted of assault

He plays a criminal on TV, but he's now found himself on the wrong side of the law

By Emma Land

Westside actor Pana Hema-Taylor has been convicted of assault.

In sentencing at the Auckland District Court today he was ordered to pay a $500 fine and $1,500 reparation to his victim, the New Zealand Herald has reported.

The actor, best known for his role as Bert Thompson in the hit drama Westside, pleaded guilty to the charge of assault in May after he came to the aid of his mother and sister when a fight broke out in his street last February.

Pana Hema-Taylor plays Bert Thompson in the hit crime drama Westside
Pana Hema-Taylor plays Bert Thompson in the hit crime drama Westside

Hema-Taylor, 28, who has a child with his former partner, Wentworth star Danielle Cormack, was originally charged with assault with intent to injure, however the charge was lessened to common assault after the circumstances surrounding the incident were taken into account.

Judge Russell Collins praised Hema-Taylor for not using his celebrity status to seek a discharge without conviction, and for showing "clear remorse" and owning up to his mistake by pleading guilty.

Hema-Taylor's breakout role was in the celebrated 2010 film Boy, starring alongside Taika Waititi and James Rolleston

The judge acknowledged the "likely impact" this conviction would have on his career.

In a statement to The Herald after sentencing, Hema-Taylor spoke of the events on the night.

"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.”