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Robbery/stealing from the person

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW, it is an offence to rob or assault with intent to rob any person, or steal any chattel, money, or valuable security from the person of another. The offence is known as ‘Robbery or stealing from the person’. The maximum penalty for this charge is 14 years imprisonment.


THE OFFENCE OF STEALING FROM THE PERSON

The legislation describes the offence of ‘Robbery or stealing from the person’ in Section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

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 DOES INTENT MEAN?

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 DOES RECKLESS MEAN?

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 THE POLICE MUST PROVE

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

Robbery:

  • you intend to steal; and
  • you take property from another person's immediate control or presence
  • by the use of violence or by putting the victim in fear

Stealing from the person:

  • you steal any chattel, money, or valuable security
  • from the person of another

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

POSSIBLE DEFENCES FOR ROBBERY OR STEALING FORM THE PERSON

Possible ways to defend a charge of robbery or stealing from the person include but are not limited to:

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.


Types of penalties:

Jail for a robbery/stealing from the person charge: This is the most serious penalty for a robbery/stealing from the person charge and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention for a robbery/stealing from the person charge: 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 correction order for a robbery/stealing from the person charge (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 a robbery/stealing from the person charge: 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 a robbery/stealing from the person charge (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 a robbery/stealing from the person charge: 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.

Fines for a robbery/stealing from the person charge: When deciding the amount of a fine for a robbery/stealing from the person charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10A: A section 10A is a conviction, with no other penalty attached to it. 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 a robbery/stealing from the person charge: 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.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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