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Robbery/Stealing from the Person


In New South Wales, it is an offence to rob a person or assault a person with intent to rob or steal any chattel, money, or valuable security from them. The offence is known as robbery or stealing from the person. The maximum penalty for this charge in NSW is 14 years imprisonment. Robbery is an indictable offence.

Legislation

The legislation describes the offence of ‘Robbery or stealing from the person’ in Section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900. Robbery or stealing from the person is defined in s94 as follows:

Whosoever robs or assaults with intent to rob any person, or steals any chattel, money, or valuable security from the person of another.

What does Assault Mean?

An assault is any act where there is either physical contact or a threat to the victim involving a reasonable fear of unlawful physical violence. This act needs to be intentional or reckless.

What is intent?

Intent in the legal context carries the ordinary meaning of intent, such as an aim or purpose. Intent can be drawn from conduct, before, at the time of, or after the specific act.

What is recklessness?

Recklessness is acting in a way without care or regard of the consequences. It also requires some foresight that their actions may result in a particular outcome. For example: if someone snatches a bag from someone and in the process the person falls over and injures themselves. The person who snatched the bag ought to have known that by snatching a bag someone was holding, their actions may have resulted in an injury to the person.

What Actions Might Constitute Robbery or Stealing from the Person?

Examples of Robbery or stealing from the person include:

  • Pushing someone over and stealing their bag;
  • Threatening someone with violence if they do not hand their wallet over;
  • Punching someone and attempting to take their mobile phone but being unsuccessful.

What must be proven?

To convict a person of a robbery or a stealing from the person charge, the police must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

For a robbery charge:

  • that the person intended to steal; and
  • they took property from another person’s immediate control or presence
  • by the use of violence or by putting the victim in fear

For a stealing from the person charge:

  • that the accused stole any chattel, money, or valuable security
  • from the person of another

They will also need to prove that the accused was the person who committed the robbery / stealing from the person offence.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

The offence of Robbery (section 94(a)) is a Table 1 offence, which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

An offence of Stealing from the person (section 94(b)) depends on the value of the property stolen.

Where the value of the property exceeds $5000, this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

Where the value of the property does not exceed $5000, this matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

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

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