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.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a charge of armed robbery.
- Prison Sentence
- Home Detention
- Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)
- Suspended Sentence
- Community Service Order (CSO)
- Community Corrections Orders (CCO)
- Good Behaviour Bond
- Section 10A
- Conditional Release Order (CRO)
- Section 10
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.
Possible Defences for Armed Robbery:
The most common ways to defend this charge are:
- To maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
- To argue that you were not in possession of a weapon or instrument, although this may still give rise to a charge of attempted Armed Robbery;
- To argue that you did not intend to steal the item;
- To argue that you did not threaten or use force on the person;
- To argue that you did not take or steal anything from the person, although this may still give rise to a charge of attempted Armed Robbery;
- To argue that the item was yours and you had a claim of right over it; or
- To raise necessity, duress or self-defence as the reason for your conduct.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
The offence is strictly indictable and can only be finalised in the District or Supreme Court.
Types of penalties:
Home Detention for armed robbery: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.
Intensive corrections order for armed robbery (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.
Suspended sentence for armed robbery: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.
Community service order for armed robbery. (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.
Good behaviour bond for armed robbery: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.
Community Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.
Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. Read more.
Section 10 for armed robbery: avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.
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.