In NSW it is an offence to steal something from someone and at the time of doing so, threatening them or using physical force to take the item. The offence is known as ‘robbery’. It is a more serious offence if you steal something from someone and you have a weapon. This offence is called ‘armed robbery’.
A person can be charged with Armed Robbery if they are in possession of a weapon, such as a gun or knife, and they threaten or use physical force to steal or take something from someone else.
The maximum penalty for Armed Robbery is 20 years imprisonment.
The Offence of Armed Robbery
The legislation describes the offence of ‘Armed Robbery’ more formally as ‘Robbery etc or stopping a mail, being armed or in company’. It is contained in s 97(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and states:
Whosoever, being armed with an offensive weapon, or instrument, or being in company with another person, robs, or assaults with intent to rob, any person, or stops any mail, or vehicle, railway train, or person conveying a mail, with intent to rob, or search the same, shall be liable to imprisonment for twenty years.
What Actions Might Constitute Armed Robbery?
Examples of Armed Robbery include:
- Storming into a bottle shop, waving a gun and shouting ‘give me all your money’ before running away with the cash the store attendant gave you from the register;
- Brandishing a large rock and hitting someone over the head with it in order to steal their mobile phone;
- Approaching the cashier at a convenience store, demanding they pass you some cigarettes otherwise you’ll stab them with the knife in your pocket before jumping the counter and grabbing the cigarettes yourself;
- Walking into a bank with pepper spray, demanding the teller give you $10,000 in cash and making off with only the pen you ripped from the counter after the teller activates the alarm.
What the Police Must Prove
To convict you of Armed Robbery the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:
- That you were in possession of a weapon or instrument and used or threatened to use that weapon or instrument;
- That you intended to steal something from someone;
- That you threatened to used force on the person; and
- That you took something from the person.
The most common ways to defend this charge are:
- To argue that you did not intend to steal any item;
- To argue that you did not threaten or use force on the person;
- To argue that the item was yours and you had a claim of right over it; or
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
The offence is strictly indictable and can only be finalised in the District or Supreme Court.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.