A man with Black Power connections who was jailed for a home invasion-style aggravated robbery where drugs and money was stolen has tried to say it wasn't him.

Steven Ihaka Sylva was found guilty by a jury in the Rotorua District Court on charges of aggravated robbery and burglary after he and a group of other masked intruders broke into a home trying to steal drugs and money.

Sylva was wearing a Black Power patch at the time of the robbery.

On May 26, Judge Tony Snell sentenced him to seven years and eight months' prison.


Sylva appealed his conviction and sentence in November in the High Court at Rotorua and the decision has just been publicly released.

Sylva was charged after a home-invasion on April 19, 2016 when masked intruders tried to steal drugs and money from a house.

Sylva and another Black Power associate had been at a teen's house during the day. The teen, who was 17, had seen Sylva several times previously and believed his name was "Stevie".

That night, the teen woke hearing noises upstairs above his bedroom. He went to check it out and saw a person wearing a Black Power patch. He told police he recognised the person as being the person he knew as Stevie.

When the teen went into the living room he found several people with their faces disguised with bandannas searching his house.

He found an unknown man wearing his puffer jacket in his mother's bedroom and confronted the person which resulted in the others in the house becoming involved.

One produced a pistol and pointed it at the teen and another threatened him with a bar stool and demanded to know where the drugs and money was.

Traumatised, the teen showed the intruders items of value in his bedroom. He was escorted downstairs with a knife or a screwdriver pressed to the back of his neck.


He managed to escape and took refuge in the toilet and locked the door. The offenders then left.

Sylva's lawyer, Nicholas Dutch, appealed on five grounds, none of which were accepted by Justice Graham Lang. Some of the grounds included the teen's identification of Sylva was unreliable for several reasons including the teen had smoked cannabis on the night the intruders entered his house.

In dismissing the appeals, Justice Lang said the offending had gang overtones and involved an attempt to steal drugs and money.

It resulted in several items being stolen including an iPod, cellphone, headphones, television and a laptop computer. The complainant's schoolbooks were also stolen, which were the only items that were found by police.