At around 3am Tuesday morning, CCTV footage show two individuals who approaching a service station in Guildford. One of them is shown holding a rifle and arming it alluding to ruthlessly shoot the glass door down if the attendant does not open it. The attendant reluctantly opened the door and the two individuals move in swiftly while pointing the rifle at the attendant. The attendant with his hands up in a vulnerable position, agrees to the demands of the suspects. Footage then go on to show the attendant retrieving cash from the register and handing it to the individuals. The attendant is left unharmed physically and the individuals escape on foot.

This was a classic example of an armed holdup. It is likely if they are caught that the charge would be Robbery etc. or stopping a mail, being armed or in company pursuant to s97 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

This carries a maximum penalty of 25 years.

Police have to prove the following for this charge:

  1. You were with another person at the time of the alleged offence
  2. You intended to steal from someone
  3. At least one person was carrying a weapon
  4. You threatened the victim and the victim actually felt fear and;
  5. You actually took something from the victim.

This is all derived from legal principles from cases (known as caselaw) as there is no definition of robbery in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

The victim must be compelled by force or fear to submit to the theft. If a suspect only threatens force after they have taken what they want, then it is not enough to warrant a robbery charge. The threat must be made before the items are taken. Furthermore, the suspects do not actually have to use force on the victim. The only necessary action is putting the victim in fear of violence.

It is likely, as shown in the CCTV footage, that having a rifle pointed at you is more than enough to instill fear to the average citizen.


A possible defence to this charge is duress. Duress is when you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances or threat. You may be surprised to learn that once the defence of duress is raised in court, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was not acting under duress

The court must consider the following questions in relation to duress:

  1. Was the accused driven by the alleged threats to act as he/she did because the accused genuinely believed that if he/she did not act in this way, he/she or member of the accused’s family etc. would be killed or seriously injured?
  2. Would those threats have forced a reasonable person to act as the accused did?
  3. Could the accused have rendered the threat ineffective?

The prosecution must show that at least one of the above three elements are not met. That is, the accused was either not driven by the threats, the threats would not have forced a reasonable person to act in that manner or the threats could not be carried out.

If the prosecution fails to prove that duress was not a factor, then the accused would be found not guilty.


National Criminal Lawyers® offer the following options for those who have been charged with Robbery and/or being armed or in company:

  1. Negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. Plead not guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.


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