The Court of Appeal has upheld a five-year jail sentence for a one-time professional rugby hopeful whose use of methamphetamine was behind his role in a Hastings home-invasion two years ago.
Jordan Stratton-Pineaha, now 24, was jailed in December, after accepting a judge's sentence indication and pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated robbery in a late-night March 26, 2018, raid on a man's home in Hastings.
Representing the prisoner at an appeal last month, Napier barrister Nicola Graham argued the sentence was manifestly excessive, but the appeal was dismissed in a judgement delivered on Wednesday.
Stratton-Pineaha and an unidentified associate went to the complainant's address in Mahora, Hastings, about 11pm, entering uninvited after he awoke and answered the knock at the door.
Stratton-Pineaha was wearing a black leather Mongrel Mob vest, a black hoodie, and a red bandanna around his neck. His associate also wore a black hoodie and had a red bandanna covering his face.
Stratton-Pineaha said he was there to take some of the complainant's property because the man was taking the intruder's father to court, and then brandished a knife as he yelled at the man: "Try going to the police about this or try to stop me and I'll cut you."
He then took the man's laptop computer and cellphone from the bedroom, while the associate took a set of keys and a wallet.
After the intruders left, the man notified police. Stratton-Pineaha was arrested the next day.
At sentencing, Judge Geoff Rea said Stratton-Pineaha realised his association with methamphetamine meant he was doing things he would not have thought of doing only six months previously.
The judge said having heard and read further material, he was reducing the penalty from what had been indicated, but was still bound by guidelines to send him to jail.
At the appeal, counsel Graham, who did not represent Stratton-Appeal at the trial, argued the starting point set by the judge before determining the sentence was too high and there had not been enough discount recognising the guilty plea.
The appeal judges determined the offence was within the appropriate sentencing band considering all the factors, and the discount for guilty plea was adequate considering the late stage at which the charge was admitted.
Stratton-Pineaha was once touted by Waikato-based Super Rugby franchise Chiefs. At the sentencing three months ago, Judge Rea accepted he was remorseful and was making attempts to change.