Robbery offences in Western Australia are contained in the Criminal Code 1913 (‘the Code’). Robbery is a composite offence, meaning that it is both a violent offence and a property offence. Robbery offences are indictable offences and are finalised in the District Court after the matter has proceeded through a committal hearing in the Magistrates or Children’s Court.
Under Section 392 of the Code, it is an offence to steal a thing and use or threaten to use violence against a person or property immediately before or at the time of stealing the thing in order to:
- obtain the thing being stolen; or
- overcome resistance to the theft.
This offence is known as robbery and is punishable by imprisonment for up to 14 years. However, if the offence occurs in circumstances of aggravation, the maximum penalty is increased to imprisonment for 20 years. If the accused has a dangerous or offensive weapon or pretends to have a dangerous or offensive weapon, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for life.
Robbery In Circumstances Of Aggravation
The circumstances of aggravation that may apply to a robbery charge and to other associated charges are that the accused immediately before or at or immediately after the commission of the offence:
- was in company with another person; or
- did bodily harm to a person; or
- threatened to kill a person; or
- threatened violence against a person who was aged 60 or older.
Assault With Intent To Rob
Under Section 393 of the Code, it is an offence to use or threaten violence in order to obtain a thing or to prevent resistance to it being stolen. This offence is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.
Assault with intent to rob is similar to robbery but unlike a robbery, the theft is not completed.
If this offence occurs in circumstances of aggravation or if the offender has a dangerous or offensive weapon (or pretends to), the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.
Where the offender is both armed with a weapon and the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for life.
Under Section 396 of the Code, it is an offence to demand a thing with intent to steal the thing with threats of injury or detriment if the demand is not complied with. This offence is punishable by up to three years imprisonment.
Under Section 397 of the Code, it is an offence for a person who has intent to extort or gain something from any person and who demands a thing from a person with threats of injury or detriment if the demand is not yielded to. This offence is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment.
Under Section 398 of the Code, it is an offence for a person, with intent to extort or gain a thing from another person, to:
- Accuse or threaten to accuse the person of committing an indictable offence; or
- Threaten that a person will be accused by another person of an indictable offence; or
- Cause a person to receive a written accusation of committing an indictable offence.
If the accusation made relates to an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment or if it relates to the indecent assault of a male person, a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment applies. In any other case, the maximum penalty that applies is 14 years.
As robbery offences are very serious and carry significant penalties, it is always advisable to seek legal advice at an early opportunity if you have been charged with or are being investigated for one of these offences.
If you require legal advice or representation in a criminal law matter or in any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.