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The offence of robbery carries a maximum of penalty of 14 years imprisonment. This can increase to a maximum of life imprisonment if there are circumstances of aggravation. For example, if the offender is armed with a weapon or instrument, or is in company with one or more person or persons or if the offender wounds or uses any other personal violence.

In Queensland, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a charge of robbery:

The Offence of Robbery:

Section 409 of the Queensland Criminal Code states:

“Any person who steals anything, and, at or immediately before or immediately after the time of stealing it, uses or threatens to use actual violence to any person or property in order to obtain the thing stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to its being stolen, is said to be guilty of robbery.”

Section 411 of the Queensland Criminal Code outlines the Aggravated circumstances of Robbery and states:

“If the offender is or pretends to be armed with any dangerous or offensive weapon or instrument, or is in company with 1 or more other person or persons, or if, at or immediately before or immediately after the time of the robbery, the offender wounds or uses any other personal violence to any person, the offender is liable to imprisonment for life.”

What Actions Might Constitute Robbery?

Robbery refers to any act that ensues a victim’s presence and awareness of the act at the time it occurs.

For example:

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

What Actions Might Constitute Aggravated Circumstances of Robbery?

Examples of circumstances of aggravation that would allow for a penalty of life imprisonment include:

  • Threatening a sales assistant with a gun and demanding they hand over their money from the till;
  • Approaching an elder couple with a group of friends, demanding they hand over their designer purse;
  • Slashing a homeless person with a blade after stealing their backpack.
  • Whether an item is a weapon will depend on the manner in which it is used.

What the Police Must Prove:

In order to be found guilty of robbery, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • Something was stolen;
  • There was a use of a threat or actual violence; and
  • Purpose of violence was to obtain property being stolen.

Possible Defences For Robbery:

  • You were not the person committing the robbery
  • You did not intend to steal the item
  • You did not threaten or use force on the person
  • You did not take or steal anything from the person
  • You had a legal claim over the property you stole
  • Successfully raise necessity, duress or self-defence as the reason for your conduct
  • Claim of right

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Regardless of whether there is a circumstance of aggravation, the charge must be dealt with on indictment and be heard in the District Court.

Will I Receive A Criminal Conviction for Robbery?

A criminal conviction will be recorded against you, if you are found guilty of robbery. If you have been charged with robbery, it is important that you obtain legal advice and/or representation at an early stage.

Types of penalties:

Imprisonment : Even though it is not a sentence of last resort (as it is in some other states) imprisonment is the most serious penalty which a court can impose upon a person. At its most severe a sentence of imprisonment means that a person must spend a specified period of time within a correctional facility, also called a prison, a jail or a gaol. Read more.

Intensive corrections order (ICO): An Intensive Corrections Order (‘ICO’ for short) is, technically, a form of imprisonment but which is served wholly in the community. This means that a person who is made subject to an ICO will not spend any time in prison but will, instead, be required to adhere to a number of requirements that the court will order. Read more.

Probation: A court can make a Probation Order either by itself, meaning the whole of the sentence is probation, or as a component of a sentence of imprisonment, meaning that a person is ordered to serve a period of time (not longer than 1 year) in prison and is then subject to a probation requirement upon release. Read more.

Community service order(CSO): As the name implies, a Community Service Order (‘CSO’ for short) is an order which requires a person to perform unpaid work, normally at some kind of community facility, for a stated number of hours (to a maximum of 240) within a nominated time (usually 6 or 12 months). Read More.

Recognisance: A recognisance is a promise which a person makes to be of good behaviour for a stated period of time. A court is empowered to release a person who enters into a recognisance, either with a surety, which is a sum of money which the person agrees to pay if they breach the recognisance, or without one. Read More.

Fines: A court is empowered to impose a fine, which is a sum of money which a person is required to pay to the State, for any offence regardless of whether the law creating it nominates a fine as part of the applicable penalty. Read More.

Section 19 dismissal: A court can discharge a person absolutely, or upon them entering into a recognisance, without recording a conviction against them, if it is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so. Read More.

In all cases where you are sentenced to a penalty other than jail, the Court can choose not to record a conviction against you, meaning your criminal record will remain clear and any complications with work or travel may be avoided.


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