Robbery is known as a composite offence. This means that it is both a violent offence and a property offence. This article outlines the laws for robbery offences in the ACT.
The Offence of Robbery
Robbery is theft from a person with the use or threat of force at or immediately before or after the theft. It is found at Section 309 of the Criminal Code 2002, where the maximum penalty is set at a fine of 1400 penalty units and/or 14 years’ imprisonment.
What the Police Must Prove
In order for a person to be found guilty of robbery, it must be proven that:
- they committed theft; and
- when committing the theft, or immediately before or immediately after committing the theft, the person
- used force on someone else; or
- threatened to use force then and there on someone else;
with intent to commit theft, or to escape from the scene.
Possible Defences for Robbery
A person charged with robbery can validly defend the charge by arguing that:
- they did not intend to steal the item;
- they did not threaten or use force on the person;
- they did not take or steal anything from the person, although this may still give rise to a charge of attempted robbery;
- the item was theirs and they had a claim of right over it.
Which Court Will Hear the Matter?
Robbery matters can be dealt with in the ACT Magistrates Court or ACT Supreme Court. If the amount allegedly involved does not exceed $30,000, it is possible to have the matter remain in the Magistrates Court where the maximum penalty that can be imposed is two years’ jail.
Aggravated robbery is provided for by Section 310 of the Code, where the maximum penalty is a fine of up to 2500 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 25 years. A robbery is said to be “aggravated” if it is committed:
- in the company of 1 or more other people;
- or with the use of an offensive weapon.
The Code 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.
Which court will hear the matter?
As the maximum penalty for aggravated robbery is 25 years’ imprisonment, it is a strictly indictable offence meaning it will be heard in the Supreme Court, unless the accused person is a child, in which case it can be dealt with in the Children’s Court.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.