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What is Robbery ?

Robbery occurs if a person steals and immediately before or during he/she uses force or threatens to use force.

Armed Robbery is a term used to describe robbery with a weapon, and usually means a robbery of a commercial premises such as a bank.

Even ‘small time’ robbery is considered to be a very serious offence by the Courts, and the possibility of prison is something that anyone charged with robbery should be aware of.

Case law/Jurisdiction

An offence of Robbery may only be dealt with on indictment. Where the value of the property, matter or thing exceeds $5000 it is a Table 1 offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is made for trial on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) or the accused. Where the value of the property, matter or thing is less than $5000 it is a Table 2 offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is made for trial on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) does not contain a definition of robbery. The common law definition is used to inform the meaning of the term.

In R v Foster (1995) 78 A Crim R 517 at 522 it was held the essence of a robbery is that violence is done or threatened to the person of the owner or custodian who stands between the offender and the property stolen, in order to overcome that person’s resistance and so to oblige him to part with the property; in other words, the victim must be compelled by force or fear to submit to the theft: Smith v Desmond [1965] AC 960 at 985–987, 997–998; (1965) 49 Cr App R 246 at 260–263, 275–276.

It is not sufficient that the threat of violence is made after the property has been taken; both elements of the offence must coincide: Emery (1975) 11 SASR 169 at 173.

It is not necessary that the offender applies force. It is enough that the offender by his or her conduct (which may involve an express or implied threat) puts the victim in fear of violence: R v King (2004) 59 NSWLR 515 at [52], [114] and [126]. 

The Law

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.

If the Robbery is “In company or whilst Armed” the Robbery becomes an Aggravated one.

What must the prosecution prove?

Since Robbery is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of Robbery

To establish Robbery, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • 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

If you are charged with the offence of Robbery what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Robbery charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of Robbery. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Robbery charges.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Robbery:

  1. We will 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. NCL will 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.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining the best result and/or a non-conviction or section 10.

Maximum Penalties

Robbery carries a maximum penalty of 14 years Imprisonment. If the Robbery is “In company or whilst Armed” the Robbery becomes an Aggravated one and the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.

Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended thousands of people charged with Robbery and are experts at these hearings.


Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Robbery can include:

  • Duress-If you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances, or the threats of another you may be able to argue “Duress”
  • Necessity – If your actions were necessary to prevent a greater harm from occurring, you may have the defence of-Necessity.
  • Self-defence – If you were defending yourself or another OR yours or another’s property you may have a Defence of Self-Defence even in situations where “Pre-Emptive Force” is used. Moreover, at times there “No duties or need to retreat”.


The Courts are not bound by statistics however there must be reasonable consistency in sentences. A Magistrate or Judge should have regard to what has been done in other cases. In Green [2011] HCA 45, the plurity judgement of French CJ, Kiefel and Creennan JJ stated:

“Equal Justice” embodies the norm expressed in the terms “equality before the law”. It is an aspect of the rule of law.

For Robbery 48% of offenders received a full-time prison sentence whereas 26% received a s9 good behaviour bond.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Robbery charge.

  • Prison sentence;
  • Home Detention;
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention);
  • Suspended sentence;
  • Community service order (CSO);
  • Good behaviour bond;
  • Fine;
  • Section 10.

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment;
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available;
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • Fine;
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO).

Case Studies

Our client was charged with and pleaded guilty to robbery. We represented him in his sentencing hearing where a number of psychiatric and psychological reports were submitted confirming our clients s drug abuse and gambling addiction. The sentencing judge determined that a sentence of imprisonment was not necessary and imposed a 12-month suspended sentence instead.

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Robbery offence our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

Book your first free appointment with National Criminal lawyers now.
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