Robbery is a crime that law enforcement does not take lightly. Robbery is regarded as a composite offence since it has elements of a property offence and a violent crime.
If you have been charged with robbery, you can benefit from a seasoned criminal defence lawyer who can consider your rights and ensure that you are well-placed to get the best outcome for your matter.
Law on Robbery
In Victoria, robbery is covered by the Crimes Act 1958. Section 75 of the Crimes Act states that it’s an offence to steal when straight before or during the act force is inflicted on a person or a person is made to fear such force.
This crime carries a punishment of up to 15 years imprisonment.
Section 75A of the Crimes Act states that it’s an offence to commit robbery using a firearm or another dangerous weapon.
If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to 25 years imprisonment.
Elements of Robbery
To prove that someone has committed robbery or armed robbery, the prosecution will have to satisfy each of these elements:
- The Accused Stole Property
It must be shown that the accused dishonestly acquired property that belonged to another.
The accused must have intended to deprive the victim of the goods permanently.
- Force or the Fear of Force Was Used To Commit the Crime
The law does not stipulate how much force is required. Force does not have to be directed at a body part, and it can be directed at something the victim is holding.
A threat must have been made to prove that the accused made someone afraid of force. It must also be proven that the victim feared the threat would materialise then and there.
- Force Occurred Straight Before or When the Theft Took Place
If the force or fear of force was directed after the theft occurred, it would not amount to robbery.
- The Purpose Must Have Been To Commit Theft
The threat or actual force must have taken place for the purpose of theft.
Possible defences against robbery or armed robbery include:
- Young Age;
- Facts such as mistaken identity; or
- The accused held a genuine belief that they owned the property in question.
In these instances, the elements of theft would not be met.
How a Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Assist You
As the accused, a lawyer can assist you in the following ways:
- Investigate your charges and collect evidence in support of your defence;
- Advise you on the best way forward;
- Enter into negotiations with the state on your behalf;
- Act as your representative at trial; and
- Motivate a more lenient sentence depending on your criminal history and circumstances.
Robbery is a crime that carries hefty sanctions. If you have been accused of this crime, contact a lawyer to discuss possible defences and mitigating circumstances that can be considered during sentencing.
If you are a victim of this crime, you can also seek legal assistance to determine your rights and entitlements.