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  • Robbery Offences in Queensland (QLD)

    The offences of robbery are distinct from any other ordinary stealing offence in Queensland. The prosecution must prove to the Judge beyond all doubts that the accused person used or threatened to use violence to obtain the property or overcome any resistance the victim pulled.

    The Judge will convict a person of a robbery offence irrespective of the degree of violence they applied or used to commit the crime.

    The offences for robbery are composite, and when dealing with such crime, the Court considers that;

    • An item “capable of being stolen” was illegally taken from the victim
    • The accused person used force, threats, or violence to subdue the victim

    The offence of robbery in the state of Queensland is outlined in the Criminal Code Act 1899 (QLD).

    Section 409 of the Criminal Code stipulates behaviors that constitute this act.

    A robbery offence is considered to be a serious criminal offence and will show up on an individual's Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in QLD where there is a conviction in the court.

    What is a "stealable" item under the Law?

    1. All inanimate items, whatever is the property of any person, and which is movable, is capable of being stolen.
    2. All inanimate items which another person owns and is capable of being moved. It also includes; things capable of being stolen once it becomes movable and made mobile to steal.
    3. All tame animals, even those tame/wild by nature (then tamed) that is;
      1. Another's property,
      2. Capable of being stolen.

    What kind of action constitutes a Robbery Offence

    The Judge or jury finds a person guilty of a robbery charge where the victim was present, aware and threatened/scared by the action. Any weapon or accessory the accused used to commit such an act that the victim found threatening will make the stealing offence a robbery.

    Some examples of a robbery offence are;

    • Shoving others to steal their properties,
    • Attempt to use violent means to steal a property
    • Making scary actions that make people surrender their properties
    • Aggravated circumstances of a robbery

    Even robbery charges can be aggravated if the accused person uses a weapon, violence or injures the person while committing the act,

    • ✔ Brandishing a knife or other sharp object to scare the person,
    • ✔ Hitting a person to get or attempt access to their wallets,
    • ✔ Pointing a gun or other weapon to steal from the victim,
    • ✔ Threatening them with the death or injury to a loved one
    • ✔ Slashing a homeless person after stealing from them
    • ✔ Threatening an older couple to surrender their properties
    • ✔ The offender committed the robbery offence with a group (that induced fear)

    How can the prosecutor prove a robbery?

    Because robbery offences may be treated as an ordinary stealing offence without sufficient proof, the prosecutor must make sure to research for solid evidence of the offence.

    The prosecutor must prove to the Court that;

    • ✔ An item irrespective of the value was stolen from the victim;
    • ✔ There existed the use of threat or actual violence to commit the offence
    • ✔ The purpose of the violence was to obtain a stolen property

    Which Court hears a Robbery Case?

    All Robbery offences are considered indictable offences under the Criminal Code (QLD). Whether it aggravates circumstances or not, the matter will appear before a District court or higher to deal with such offences.

    The District Court issues the maximum penalties to all offenders it finds guilty of the Robbery charges.

    What penalties does the Law stipulate for robbery charges?

    Someone who commits the crime of robbery is liable to imprisonment for 14 years as per Section 411 of the Act. It includes offences for where the offender is or pretends to be armed with any dangerous or offensive weapon or instrument, or,

    The offender can receive up to imprisonment for life If the offender;

    • Is in company with other people(s), or
    • If during, or immediately before/after the robbery, the offender wounds or uses any other personal violence to any person;
    • The offender uses a poisonous or harmful substance
    • The offence of attempted robbery

    Attempted robbery charges are quite different from an actual robbery charge (Section 412 of the Act); however, the line between these offences can become blurred.

    The actions that constitute such offences are;

    • Assaulting a person with the intent to steal anything;
    • Uses/threatens to use actual violence as a means to obtain the intended property,
    • Used a violent means to subdue the resistance of the victim,
    • Used a violent means to escape or engage any other form f recovery of such offence,
    • Scared the victim into surrendering their rights to the property.

    Assault with intent to steal

    One who assaults the victim with intent to steal anything is guilty of a crime. This crime incurs imprisonment for three years.

    Demanding property with intent to steal

    If the accused person with the intent to steal demands a property from anyone, with;

    • Threats of injury
    • The detriment of any kind is caused when the demand is not met
    • Attempts to attack or use scary items or weapons

    They are liable to a three years imprisonment term under Section 414 of the Criminal Code.

    For such cases, it is immaterial that;

    • The accused threatened in such a way otherwise used to inform the public rather than a specific person; or,
    • The threat is not typical of the detriment they threatened; or,
    • Such threats did not select the person to whom the harm is to be caused or specifies this in a general way; or,

    What is an offensive weapon?

    An offensive or dangerous weapon is an item easily recognized as a weapon. Under the law, and depending on the case or offence, the Judge can recognise a weapon as;

    • Knife,
    • Gun,
    • Sword,
    • Scissors,
    • Poisonous gases,
    • Heavy objects,

    It also includes all objects meant for purposes other than to commit the offence. It can include;

    • Cricket bat,
    • Stick,
    • Saucepan

    Can a Juvenile be charged with a Robbery offence?

    If a juvenile is charged with a robbery offence, they must proceed to the Committal proceeding in a Children's Court to hear the case. All Robbery offences obtained as a juvenile will appear on their Youth records.

    However, if they are convicted as an adult, the matter will be heard in a district court, and the Court will impose the maximum penalties or any other penalty stipulated by the Law.

    What is the difference between an ordinary Stealing offence and a Robbery?

    A stealing offence is a composite offence that includes all forms of;

    • Extortion,
    • Robbery,
    • Shoplifting,
    • Burglary,
    • And any other illegal form of obtaining a person’s property.

    While a theft offence usually consists of three main properties;

    • The illegal taking or claiming of the property
    • There was intent to deprive the owner of their property permanently
    • The use of deception or any other dishonest means to obtain the property

    However, a robbery offence will involve the use or threat of violent action against the victim. Theft offences shall be upgraded to a robbery offence if the Court believes the accused had used violence or threats of violence. Also, a robbery offence takes place in the presence of the victim.

    Taking control of an aircraft

    It is a serious crime under Section 417A to be found guilty of taking control of an aircraft. However, if such action involved the use of a weapon or other dangerous weapon, the Court may impose more severe punishments in addition to the stipulated seven years imprisonment.

    If another person not being an accomplice of the offender is on board the aircraft, the offender will receive punishments up to imprisonment for 14 years.

    Do Robbery convictions show up in my Criminal records?

    If the jury finds you guilty of a robbery offence, they will impose the maximum penalties issued by the Criminal Code.

    Usually, no court programs or intervention matters can mitigate or replace a conviction for robbery offences. If the Court convicts you of a robbery charge, it will appear on your criminal record check and will in most circumstances stay there for life. This is because convictions that have an imprisonment term longer than a stipulated period cannot be spent.

    What type of penalties does the Law stipulate for Robbery offences

    There are lots of punishments the Court prescribes for robbery offences under the Law. The Court will order any of these punishments where it feels necessary for the degree of irritation or helps the rehabilitation of the crime.

    Imprisonment

    It is the most severe sentencing the Court can impose under the Queensland Criminal Code. It is the term of the statutory punishment for those who are found guilty of committing a robbery offence. In other circumstances, it is called a jail term, prison term, or gaol.

    Community service order (CSO)

    A Community Service Order (CSO) is a program that requires a person to perform free work, generally within the community. The program usually lasts for stipulated hours in a nominated time frame (usually 6 or 12 months).

    Intensive Corrections Order

    An Intensive Corrections Order (ICO) is, technically, a form of imprisonment but served wholly in the community. It means the person getting an ICO will not spend any time in prison but will, instead, be required to adhere to some requirements that the Court will order.

    Fines

    A court can impose a fine; It is a sum of money that they must remit to the State for any offence where the Law does not nominate it as part of the mandatory penalty.

    Section 19 dismissal: The Court may discharge a person completely, or upon them entering into a Good Behaviour Program, without recording a conviction against them if it is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so.

    Probation

    A court can make a Probation Order either by;

    Discretion; meaning the whole of the sentence is commuted to probations, or,

    It becomes a component of a sentence of imprisonment; a person is ordered to serve a period (not longer than one year) in prison and is liable to probation conditions upon release.

    Defences for a Robbery Offence

    The Court deals with a robbery offence as a serious criminal offence under the Law.

    If you receive a court notice for a robbery charge, you should contact the services of a criminal lawyer experienced in Queensland laws.

    A robbery offence in your criminal record can damage your prospects or applications where there are jobs that require police checks and your criminal record is assessed.

    However, in Court, your lawyer can help to seek intervention programs through a;

    • Section 9 dismissal. Or,
    • Other programs such as Good Behaviour Program
    • Other non-conviction sentencing like a Diversion Program (if applicable to your circumstances).

    In Court, your lawyer can explore any of the following defences;

    • You were not the one who committed the robbery
    • Object to the robbery charge by stating that it was a case of mistaken identity. There are cases where a person was falsely accused and charged with a robbery offence due to coincidence or having any of their property at the crime scene.

    You did not intend to steal the item:

    Your lawyer can argue that it was not your intention to steal the property;

    • Falsely thought to have robbed
    • The owner was scared and ran off
    • The accused person did not threaten or use force.

    If your counsel can successfully argue that you did not use or attempt to use force to commit the offence, the Court may withdraw the robbery offence and convert it to some other offence that relates to the charge.


    You did not take anything from the person:

    If your counsel can successfully argue that you did not take anything from the victim, the Judge may acquit you of the robbery offence or try you on another offence relating to the charge.


    You had a legal claim over the property claimed to be stolen

    Under the law, it is impossible to steal your property. A person might charge you of a robbery offence if they were unaware that you had legal right over the property.


    You thought you had a claim of right.

    The Court would not convict you of a robbery offence if they believed you reasonably thought that you had claimed over the property. However, the Court will convict you of the action's violent acts, threats, or other assault or injury.


    Successfully raise duress or self-defence as the reason

    The Court may consider the defence where the accused person can successfully prove that they acted under duress or were acting in self-defence for the act.

    An example is where a person snatches a car to attend to an emergency (pregnant woman, terminal actions, and so on.)

    Do Robbery Offences show up on a criminal history check in Queensland

    Robbery offences are a serious criminal offence. The offence will show up on a nationally coordinated criminal history check (NCCHC).

    In most circumstances (where there is a conviction that leads to imprisonment), a robbery offence will also not qualify for the spent convictions scheme in QLD.

    You can obtain your criminal record check online via the Australian National Character Check website.

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