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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Aggravated Burglary


A burglary is defined at Section 312 of the Criminal Code as being “aggravated” if the offender is found to have been in company with one or more other persons or if an offensive weapon is involved.

The Criminal Code 2002 defines an offensive weapon to include the following:

  • anything made or adapted for use for causing injury to or incapacitating a person;
  • anything that a person has with the intention of using, or threatening to use, to cause injury to or incapacitate someone else;
  • a firearm, or anything that may reasonably be taken in the circumstances to be a firearm;
  • a knife, or anything that may reasonably be taken in the circumstances to be a knife;
  • an explosive, or anything that may reasonably be taken in the circumstances to be or contain an explosive.

The maximum penalty for aggravated burglary is a fine of 2000 penalty units and/or 20 years’ imprisonment.

What the Police Must Prove

The police must prove that you remained on premises, and that you intended to:

  • commit theft of any property from those premises, or
  • commit another offence involving violence or property damage; or
  • commit any offence carrying a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment or longer, and
  • that you were in company with one or more other persons, or
  • an offensive weapon was involved.

Possible Defences to Aggravated Burglary

The common ways to defend this charge are:

  • to maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
  • to argue that you did not enter the house or premises;
  • to argue that you did not intend to steal anything;
  • to argue you did not intend to commit violence or property damage;
  • to argue you did not intend to commit any other “serious offence” (any offence carrying a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment or longer);
  • to raise necessity or duress as the reason for your conduct;
  • to argue you were not in company;
  • to argue that an item alleged to be an offensive weapon was not an offensive weapon.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

As the maximum penalty for aggravated burglary is 20 years’ imprisonment, it is a strictly indictable matter and has to be heard in the ACT Supreme Court.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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