As criminal defence lawyers, the team at Jackson John have seen firsthand how harsh the consequences of a robbery conviction can be. Robbery is a serious criminal offence that carries significant penalties, including imprisonment. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the laws surrounding robbery in NSW and the defences available to you if you are facing a robbery charge. 

Section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states that robbery is when a person steals property from another person or entity and uses, or threatens to use, violence or force to obtain the property. The violence or force must be used at the time of the theft or immediately before or after.

The maximum penalty for robbery in NSW is 14 years imprisonment. However, the sentence can vary depending on the circumstances of the offending. If the offending is committed in the following circumstances, the maximum penalty increases to 20 years imprisonment:

  • The accused person uses corporal violence on any person, such as pushing.
  • The accused person inflicts actual bodily harm, such as scratches or bruising, on any person.
  • The accused person deprives any person of his or her liberty.
  • The accused person is armed with an offensive weapon, such as a knife.
  • The accused person is in company with another person.

If the accused person wounds any person in such a way as to breach both layers of the skin or cause grievous bodily harm, or the accused person is armed with a dangerous weapon like a gun, the maximum penalty increases to 25 years imprisonment.

But what if you were not the one who committed the robbery and were simply present at the scene? NSW law recognises the concept of “accessorial liability,” which means that if you aid, abet, counsel, or procure someone else to commit a robbery, you can be charged and convicted of the same offence as the main offender.

Therefore, the necessary intent is that the accused person knew or expected that the victim would know of the presence of more than one person at the time of the robbery and the ability of more than one person to assist in the robbery if called upon to do so.

The team at Jackson John Defence Lawyers have extensive experience in defending charges of this nature. One possible defence is to argue that you did not use or threaten violence or force to obtain the property, or that you did not intend to steal the property in the first place. The slightest movement of the property can be sufficient, however, the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property must exist at the time of the taking. If the accused person takes the property without having decided whether to keep it or not, he or she does not commit larceny.

Another defence is to challenge the Prosecution’s evidence, such as eyewitness testimony or surveillance footage, or whether the stealing took place sufficiently “in the presence” of the victim. Alternatively, if you’ve been charged as part of the offending but did not actively participate, you might not be liable given the mere presence of more than one person is not sufficient, which in other words means that a person keeping watch is not necessarily “in company.” There must be an expressed or implied agreement between all perpetrators to achieve a common result. A mere coincidence of common actions is insufficient.

Gaol is not inevitable in all cases of this nature, and factors such as the degree of violence used, the value of the property stolen, and the accused person’s criminal history will have a substantial bearing on the sentence.

Furthermore, the Court may take into account certain factors that could reduce the severity of the sentence, such as remorse, cooperation with law enforcement, or a history of mental illness or addiction.

It is essential to have experienced criminal defence lawyers on your side, like our team at Jackson John, who can present these mitigating factors effectively and argue for a lesser sentence. If you are facing a robbery charge, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your options and begin building your defence.