WAILUKU - With a defense attorney saying a Lahaina man was defending himself, he was placed on six months' probation Wednesday in an assault of a man who was thrown over a seawall on Front Street last year.
Tevita Kauvaka, 20, was given credit for 30 days he spent in jail.
He had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree assault by mutual affray.
Deputy Public Defender William "Pili" McGrath said the petty misdemeanor charge was appropriate in the case.
He said the fight at about midnight June 25, 2011, was started by six or seven young men who aggressively approached Kauvaka and three friends as they were drinking beer.
Police said a 22-year-old Lahaina man was injured when he was thrown off the seawall and fell more than 10 feet onto the rocky shoreline in the 700 block of Front Street.
"Mr. Kauvaka is not a violent person; and his behavior was in self-defense," McGrath said. "Whenever there's a fight, somebody goes to jail and somebody goes to the hospital."
Speaking through a Tongan interpreter, Kauvaka said he was sorry.
Kauvaka was in a wheelchair Wednesday because of a severe health problem that isn't related to the assault case, McGrath said.
Kauvaka asked for a chance to keep the conviction off his record.
Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani opposed the request, citing the serious injuries suffered by the other man.
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo denied Kauvaka's request, saying she was concerned about Kauvaka's participation in the fight and the injuries suffered by the victim.
The man suffered rib fractures, contusions, bleeding in his skull and fractures in his skull, Loo said.
"It was a huge fight. The mentality was us versus them," Loo said. "This kind of behavior is not acceptable."
Kauvaka was ordered to complete an anger management course and not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs. He was ordered to pay $1,010 in restitution to the injured man and $961 to the state Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.