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Robbery

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of any kind of robbery offence, there is a very strong likelihood that you will be sentenced to gaol. In 2001 the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) handed down a guideline judgment called R v Henry. In this decision it said that for a typical unplanned armed robbery by a young person, with minimal violence and little property taken, a gaol term of between 4 and 5 five years would be appropriate. 

This case does not mandate a particular sentence to be strictly applied. Each case and offender has to be sentenced according to the particular facts and circumstances of their case. However, the case operates as a sentencing guideline for courts and can assist your solicitor in predicting the outcome in your matter.

Each robbery offence detailed below has a set of 'elements' or ingredients that the prosecution must establish in order to prove the offence. 

ROBBERY

Robbery is a very serious offence and can only be dealt with in the District Court, which is one of the higher Courts in NSW. Upon conviction substantial gaol terms are routinely imposed. The basic offence involves the forceful taking of property from someone while threatening or using violence against them. Accordingly, a bag snatch is not a robbery unless it is accompanied by some action that causes the victim to fear for his or her safety, such as pushing them against a wall. In order to prove the charge of robbery the prosecution must therefore establish the following matters:
 

  • That the offender was in fact the person who is charged

  • That the offender threatened or used violence

  • That property was taken from the victim by force


There are many offences that fall within the broad description of robbery. In addition to the basic offence described above are the following.

Maximum penalty: 14 years imprisonment

ROBBERY IN COMPANY

‘In company’ simply means that two or more persons were involved in the offence. Provided that both persons are present and have the same intention, only one of the group needs to be physically involved in order for all persons to be guilty. For instance, a ‘look-out’ is every bit as guilty as the person who takes the wallet from the victim.

The ‘in company’ offence carries a heavier penalty on account of the extra fear that the victim would experience when confronted by multiple people.


Maximum penalty: 20 years imprisonment

ARMED ROBBERY

Armed robbery may be committed by a single person or multiple persons acting in company. The extra requirement in this offence is that at least one of the offenders has to be in possession of a weapon at the time of the robbery. While knives and syringes are common examples of weapons used in robberies, almost any item can become a weapon if brandished as such.

The penalty for this offence is greater than for the basic offence due to the fear and danger that arises from the presentation of a weapon.

Maximum penalty: 20 years imprisonment

AGGRAVATED ROBBERY

If during a robbery the victim suffers an injury such as a broken nose, grazing or bruising the offence is taken to be more serious. ‘Aggravated’ simply means ‘increased seriousness.’ Again, if the offence is committed in company, only one member of the group needs to have inflicted the injury in order for all to be criminally responsible for it.

Maximum penalty: 20 years imprisonment

ROBBERY WITH
DANGEROUS WEAPON

The term ‘dangerous weapon’ includes a number of items, but most importantly firearms. It also includes more obscure items such as spearguns and tasers which are rarely used in robberies.

For obvious reasons this falls in the most serious category of robbery.

Maximum penalty: 25 years imprisonment

ROBBERY WITH WOUNDING OF GRIEVOUS BODILY HARM

If during a robbery of any kind (basic, in company etc) the victim suffers a wound or grievous bodily harm, the offence will fall into the most serious category of robbery. A wound occurs anytime that there is a cutting of both the outer and internal layer of the skin. This is almost anytime that stitches are used to close an injury. Grievous bodily simply means ‘really serious injury.’ This can arise from one major injury, or from a collection of less serious injuries which together amount to really serious injury.

Maximum penalty: 25 years imprisonment