Criminal Offences

Robbery or Stealing

The act of taking property belonging to another person with violence or by the threat of violence is defined as robbery, and is a criminal offence in NSW. In fact, section 94 of Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) explicitly states that whosoever robs or assaults with intent to rob any person, or steals any chattel, money or valuable security from the person of another shall be liable to penalties imposed by the Court.


The offence under section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states the the any person who is guilty of robbery or assault with intent to rob must be dealt with on indictment. This means that the matter will be heard in the District or Supreme Court. The Crimes Act also states that the maximum penalty for guilty offenders is imprisonment of 14 years.

Full time custodial sentences are also highly likely with robbery convictions with Crimes Statistics Australia revealing that 72% of robbery charges result in such a sentence. However, while this may the case, it is also wise to understand that the NSW judiciary system is are directed by judgement guidelines in order to determine how robbery offences should be sentenced. The guidelines that apply to robbery offences include the following:

  • Young offender with no or little criminal history
  • Weapon like a knife, capable of killing or inflicting serious injury
  • Limited degree of planning
  • Limited, if any, actual violence but a real threat thereof
  • Victim in a vulnerable position such as a shopkeeper or taxi driver
  • Small amount taken
  • Plea of guilty, the significance of which is limited by a strong Crown case.

Although the maximum imprisonment term is 14 years as stated in the Crimes Act, the above circumstances may result in reduced sentences of only 4 and 5 years in gaol. More serious offences relating to robbery will have harsher penalties enforced, while less serious offences may could result in a lesser penalty.

There are other penalties the Court may enforce, depending on the individual’s past criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the offence. Based on these factors, the Court will use their discretion to impose good behaviour bonds, intensive correction orders, community service or enforce that a fine be paid.

Evidently, the penalties that are enforced are determined on a case by case basis. If you are facing charges of robbery, it is best to speak to our expert Sydney based criminal defence law firm for more accurate advice on the penalties relating your specific case.


In order to be found guilty of charges relating the robbery, the Police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did commit the crime as per section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900. Therefore, the Police must prove that:

  • That the accused with the intent to steal
  • Took property;
  • From the victim’s immediate control or presence; and
  • By the use of violence or by putting that person in fear.

If you believe these allegations to be true, you have the option to plead guilty. If this is the case, you will then proceed to sentencing, in which any the penalties above could be imposed.

However, the judgement guidelines also explicitly state that a guilty plea could result on a significant reduction on the maximum sentence. A guilty plea is also favoured by the Court as it demonstrates remorse for your actions, and therefore a less severe sentence is likely. Regardless of the sentencing imposed by a guilty plea, it is generally much more favourable than what would be enforced if found guilty otherwise.

If you or somebody else you know has been charged with robbery, it is best to seek legal advice from our expertly qualified criminal defence lawyers.

As some of Sydney’s best criminal lawyers with numerous award wins and a 90% success rate, call us now for a consultation and the most accurate advice in relation to your specific matter.


You also have the option to plead not guilty to the allegations made against you in relation to robbery. It will then be up to the prosecution team to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did commit the crimes, as stated in section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). If the prosecution presents a strong brief of evidence against you, there is the potential that you could be facing any of the penalties mentioned above.

However, at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders we are a team of expert criminal defence lawyers with a wealth of experience in defending similar cases. With a 90% success rate, our team is dedicated to achieving the best possible solution for all the cases we represent. To do so, we thoroughly examine all the evidence that the prosecution will use to prove the allegations. Our criminal defence lawyers will then dismiss the claims by raising a relevant defence strategy that could entirely dismiss the charges, or provide much more favourable outcomes by having the charges downgraded.

If you, or someone you know is facing charges relating to robbery it is best to seek legal representation immediately.

Contact our Sydney based criminal defence law firm now for a confidential first consultation.


Duress: For the defence of duress to be raised, it must be established that the accused was coerced to participate in the criminal activity as a result of harmful threats. These threats may take form as grievous bodily harm or death, and the accused must genuinely believe that if they did not participate in the criminal offence, the threat would have been carried out.

Necessity: Often confused with duress, the necessity defence can be raised if it can be proven that the accused committed the criminal offence in order to avoid imminent danger by natural or human forces. Although often difficult to prove, it must be established that the accused was acting in a way to evade consequences that were considered as “irreparable evil”, that they were in a situation of “imminent peril” and that there were no other alternatives to avoid the external threat. To demonstrate the necessity defence, a famous case (R v Dudley and Stephens) found 2 men facing a murder conviction after being shipwrecked. During the incident, the men had very little supplies which they had managed to consume quickly. Meanwhile, another man who accompanied the defendants had fallen into a coma, and after believing there was no other way to survive, the remaining man killed Parker and resorted to cannibalism. After the men were rescued it was argued that the actions of killing Parker were committed by means of necessity and therefore their actions were justifiable. In this instance they were found guilty of murder which typically carries a maximum penalty of life in gaol, however, the men were only sentenced to just 6 months in prison as a result of the defence.

Honest Claim of Right: This defence may be used in where the defendant has a bona fide claim in which they holistically believe that they are entitled to the property that was stolen.


Robbery is classified as an indictable offence and therefore the matter will be dealt with in the District or Supreme Courts.

At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are an expert criminal defence law firm, with conveniently located at Sydney and Parramatta. Despite this, we have extensive experiencing in representing clients in Local, District and Supreme Courts throughout NSW. With a variety of awards and a 90% success rate, you can be confident that our criminal defence lawyers are dedicated to achieve the best outcome possible for your case, regardless of the Court your matter is heard at.