Australian actor Sam Worthington has been ordered to stay away from photographer Sheng Li for six months after an altercation in a New York street. The Avatar star is accused of repeatedly punching Li in the face whilst defending his girlfriend Lara Bingle outside the Cubbyhole Bar in West Village on Sunday, according to NY Daily News.

Sam Worthington Lara Bingle
Sam Worthington & Lara Bingle Were Involved In An Altercation With A Photographer In New York.

The 37 year-old actor appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court overnight to face two counts of assault in the third degree, attempted assault and harassment and to be issued with a restraining order. The photographer was also charged with assault, reckless endangerment and harassment. Appearing in court on Monday, Li is accused of following Bingle for four hours on the street and kicking her in the shins when a scuffle broke out.

"I was just protecting my girlfriend," said Worthington as he was arrested for assault at around 5pm on Sunday. 26 year-old Bingle, who has appeared in Australian tourism adverts, alleged that the paparazzo had been tailing her for hours and that she had a bruise on her shin from where he kicked her.

Sam Worthington
The 'Avatar' Star Has Been Issued With A Restraining Order After Assaulting A Photographer.

Whilst being battered by Worthington, Li received several punches to the face which resulted in a cut to his noise and substantial pain, according to a criminal complaint. Li's lawyer, Ron Kuby, said he believes a video of the altercation shows that Worthington was the aggressor. "I think it was outrageous that [Li] was charged at all," Kuby said on Wednesday, adding "Presumably, once the DA's office sees the video, they'll drop the charges.

Lara Bingle
The Paparazzo's Lawyer Remarked That Bingle Was Angry Because She Wasn't Being Paid.

"Again, it depends on if [New York District Attorney] Cy Vance is a fan of Avatar or not," said the lawyer, on a rather bitter note. He also suggested that Bingle was angry about being photographed because this time she wasn't getting paid for it. "Maybe she wasn't getting paid to do it this time? I understand Lara Bingle is a lot like Kim Kardashian; she's famous for being famous," he said.

Footage from the event shows Worthington roaring "You f***ing kicked my wife" before yelling to onlookers "He kicked the girl, man, he kicked the girl." Meanwhile Bingle is heard calling the paparazzi "parasites" and ordering them to leave her alone. As officers arrive on the scene, Worthington can be heard trying to prove his fame: "You know that movie called Avatar?" he says.

Sam Worthington Last Night Premiere
After Appearing In Court Last Night, Worthington Was Released & The Case Was Adjourned.

Worthington was ordered release on his own recognizance and the case was adjourned until the 8th May. However, the actor will not be available to attend as he will be out of the country filming. Neither party has commented publically on the case.