Judge Robinson noted Bino Smith had turned his back on gang life and established a commendable art career. Photo / Coastal News via Otago Daily Times
Otago Daily Times
By Rob Kidd
A gang member-turned-artist punched his daughter, fracturing her face in two places, a court has heard.
Warren Pahia Smith, 57, — known as Bino Smith — gave up his patch in pursuit of his art and has since worked on the sets of Hollywood blockbusters, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and King Kong, according to his website.
His appearance in the Dunedin District Court this week represented a "significant fall from grace", Crown prosecutor Craig Power said.
Smith, who attended the hearing by video link from Auckland, was sentenced to seven months' home detention after being found guilty at a judge-alone trial early this year of injuring with intent to injure.
He came south for an engagement party in July 2020 and Judge David Robinson said there was a "tense atmosphere" because of his estrangement from other family members.
There was an initial altercation where he pushed his daughter over but that was not the subject of a charge, the court heard.
After a subsequent scuffle, the victim went into the venue to retrieve her bag, prompting a confrontation with Smith by a pool table.
She berated him for his parenting and her father responded by punching her in the left side of the face.
The victim told the court the resulting fractures required surgery and a metal implant in her face, which in turn led to her dentures needing to be refitted.
She struggled to eat after spending a month on a soft-food diet but she said the physical woes paled in comparison to the psychological trauma.
The victim called Smith's actions "gutless" and said the incident had caused her to become distant and resentful towards society as a whole.
"As much as you broke me, physically, mentally and emotionally, I build myself up stronger to be the woman I am," she said.
"I wish I could say, 'I forgive you' but for now I can't. Maybe in time, within myself, I find the strength to do that — not for you, but for me."
Judge Robinson said he was surprised Smith continued to claim innocence in the face of "a very clear" prosecution case.
The artist wrote a letter to the court which the judge believed showed remorse.
"I do love my daughter ... and that will never change no matter the outcome of this sentencing," it said.
Judge Robinson said Smith turning his back on gang life, and his art career, were commendable. His last violence conviction was 20 years ago. A report put him at low risk of reoffending.
As well as the home detention, the judge imposed 100 hours' community work and ordered Smith to pay his daughter $2000.