Demanding Property with Intent to Steal
In NSW, the offence of demanding property with intent to steal carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. If the offence occurred in the company of another person or persons, it is an aggravated offence, and the maximum penalty rises to fourteen years.
The offence of demanding property with intent to steal is set out in section 99 of the Crimes Act 1900 which states: “Whosoever, with menaces, or by force, demands any property from any person, with intent to steal the same, shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.”
The aggravated offence is contained in subsection (2) of the same section, which states: “A person is guilty of an offence under this section if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) in the company of another person or persons. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.”
What Actions Might Constitute Demanding Property with Intent to Steal?
The following actions could give rise to a charge of assault with intent to steal:
- The demand for property must come with a menace, which is a threat. That threat has to be to an extent that an ordinary person, with ‘normal’ courage and fortitude would be so affected by that threat that they give in, unwillingly, to the demand.
- The threat can be made to the victim’s property, and not just their person.
- The court can also find that an implicit threat, based on your conduct, could be a ‘menace’, that is, the threat does not need to be explicitly set out.
- The threat or demand does not need to be made in person, for example, sending a letter, text message or message through social media could be enough.
- Section 99 of the Crimes Act specifically states that it is not relevant to this section if the menace of violence or injury is by the offender or by another person.
What the Police Must Prove
To convict a person of Demanding Property with Intent to Steal, the Police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they:
- Demanded property from the victim;
- This demand was accompanied by menaces or force; and
- That they intended to steal to that property.
To convict you of the aggravated offence of Demanding Property with Intent to Steal in Company, the Police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in the company of another person or persons as well as the above.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
The offences contained in both subsections (1) and (2) are Table 1 offences. This means that the matter will likely be dealt with in the Local Court, however the DPP or the defendant can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.