Robbery / Burglary
What Is A Robbery?
According to Section 75 of the Crimes Act, Robbery involves three key elements:
- The defendant must have taken property belonging to someone else
- At the time of the theft, the defendant must have used force against someone, threatened to use force, or tried to make someone fear that force would be used against them.
- The theft must have been committed with the intention of stealing the property.
There is no specific legal definition of the minimum level of physical force required to meet the “use of force” requirement. This is a question for the jury to determine based on the facts of the case. Similarly, in order to satisfy the threat requirement, the victim must have been placed in fear of the use of force, and it is not necessary for the victim to have actually experienced fear.
It’s important to note that if the threat is made after the property is taken, it may be argued that the second element is not satisfied. However, if force or threats are used at any point prior to the completion of the theft, then the element may be considered satisfied, since appropriation can be a continuous act.
The consequences of a robbery conviction are severe. It is important to get the legal help you need to defend yourself and mitigate the impact. Call us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
What Is A Burglary?
Burglary under Section 76 of the Crimes Act is constituted by the following three elements:
- The accused entered a building (or part of),
- The accused did so as a trespasser (ie did not have permission to be on the property), and
- The accused intended to:
- Steal something from the building, or
- Commit an offence punishable by imprisonment for 5 years or greater involving either;
- An assault to a person in the building, or
- Damage to the building
The key element to a burglary is the entering of a building by the accused as a trespasser. The maximum penalty for burglary under the Crimes Act is level 5 imprisonment up to 10 years.
Whether a structure is a building is a question left to a jury. An inhabited vehicle or vessel, regardless of whether the person living there is present at the time of the burglary, is taken to be a building under the act.
The prosecution must prove that the accused knew that they were on the premises without permission, or were reckless as to whether they had any right to enter.
As to the criminally accused intentions, it must be proved that the accused entered the building with the intention of either stealing or committing an offence involving assault or damaging the building. If the person formed that intention after entering the building, the element is not made out.
With regards to stealing, it does not need to be proven that the accused intended to steal any one particular item or items, or that they actually stole anything at all. Rather, all the prosecution must establish is that the accused intended to steal “anything in the building”.
What Is The Difference Between Robbery and Burglary?
It’s the use of force, or threat of force, that distinguishes robbery from theft, and this is reflected in the maximum penalties imposed by the Crimes Act: 10 years for theft and 15 years for robbery.
Defences for Robbery and Burglary
If you are accused of robbery or burglary, there may be defences available to you.
Possible Defences for Robbery:
- Self-defence or duress may have been the reason for the act.
- No property was taken by the defendant.
- There was no intention to steal the property of the victim.
- The defendant claims to have a right to the property.
Possible Defences for Burglary:
- The defendant committed the offence under duress.
- The defendant did not enter the dwelling with the intent to commit a crime.
- The premises entered do not meet the criteria of a house or dwelling.
- Wrongful accusation.
- The defendant broke in and entered the dwelling out of necessity to protect themselves from danger.
It is essential to seek legal advice from a criminal law firm such as Anthony Isaacs. We can provide you with expert advice on how to proceed with your case and represent you in court if necessary. Contact Anthony Isaacs for a free assessment of your case today.
Common Types of Burglary, Robbery and Theft Charges:
Armed robbery is a particularly serious offence in Australia. It involves the use of a weapon or something that appears to be a weapon in order to intimidate or threaten another person during a robbery. According to Section 77 of the Crimes Act 1958 penalties for armed robbery are level 2 imprisonment, which can be up to a maximum of 25 years.
Aggravated burglary is a type of burglary that involves aggravating circumstances. For example, if the person committing the burglary was armed or if the burglary was committed at night, this would be considered aggravated burglary. Penalties for aggravated burglary are level 2 imprisonment, which can be up to a maximum of 25 years according to Section 77 of the Crimes Act 1958.
Other Theft/Burglary/Robbery Charges
Other types of theft, burglary, and robbery charges in Australia include theft, home invasion, and car theft.
Get A Free Assessment For Your Robbery/Burglary Charge today
It is crucial to have competent legal representation when facing charges of burglary or robbery. At Anthony Isaacs, our knowledgeable legal team can provide you with reliable and effective representation for these serious offences. Schedule a free consultation with us today by calling 03 8590 8370 or filling out our online contact form below, and our team will respond promptly.