Key Points:

A Tongan boxer has escaped jail but must do 375 hours of community work after being convicted on three charges of assault.

Sitaleki Maka, 21, who lives in Auckland, was denied entry to Australia to represent Tonga in the Commonwealth Games this year after he was charged.

He was released on bail by Auckland District Court so he could go the Games but Australian immigration officials barred him, saying he could present a risk to the community.

Today Judge Josephine Bouchier said she was reluctant to send him to jail, where he could learn worse skills than he already possessed.

She sentenced him to 375 hours of community work on charges of assault with intent to injure, assault, and being an accessory after the fact of assault with intent to injure.

As he was sentenced the mother of one of his victims said: "You're joking. What does he have to do to go to jail?"

The woman earlier told Judge Bouchier the lives of her son and his friends had been put in turmoil by the attack by Maka and they now found it difficult to go out at night.

"They got something which they never deserved or asked for," she said.

Maka was said to have attacked a group of youths at the Lynfield skateboard park in Auckland in February, hitting one of them with a bottle.

Maka's family sneered and jeered at the family of the victim after the sentence was handed down.

- NZPA