The charges 

Our client was initially charged with one count of Robbery armed with an offensive weapon and one count of Robbery in company. Both counts carry 20 years imprisonment each.

 

The outcome

Our client and numerous others were charged with various offences including armed robbery however our client was the only accused whose charges were withdrawn and dismissed. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) also relied on the concept of joint criminal enterprise to establish that our client and the co-accused had a common goal, namely, to rob and assault the alleged victim.

This case fell under the early appropriate guilty plea (EAGP) regime which means a case conference was required during which the defence and prosecution lawyer/s try to reach a resolution, usually by way of a plea deal. In this particular case, our solicitor did not offer any plea deal on behalf of her client. Rather, she advocated a withdrawal of both charges on the basis that the prosecution would not be able to establish each element of the offences beyond a reasonable doubt. After several weeks of careful consideration, the DPP ultimately decided not to proceed and both charges were “withdrawn and dismissed”.

 

The potential penalties

An offence under section 97(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 is considered serious as armed robbery is not simply a crime against property; it is a crime against persons. In this particular case, a hammer was used to assault the alleged victim during the robbery. Armed robberies in company are prevalent offences in today’s society and in 1999 the Court of Criminal Appeal deemed this offence as worthy of a guideline judgment primarily to foster consistency in sentencing. The Henry Guideline [1] provides the courts with some guidance as to how to assess the objective seriousness of the offence of armed robbery and is equally applicable to an offence of robbery in company [2].

The Henry Guideline specifies a range of sentences within which an identified armed robbery might fall, that is, 4 – 5 years head sentence.

According to the Judicial Information Research System, from September 2018 to June 2019, 159 people in NSW were dealt with in the District Court for this offence. Out of those 159 people, only three avoided terms of imprisonment. Most received terms of full time imprisonment ranging from 12 months to 16 years. Suffice it to say, our client was very happy with the outcome, particularly since she did not have to go through the stress and trauma of going through a jury trial.

 

References

[1] REGINA v HENRY BARBER TRAN SILVER TSOUKATOS KYROGLOU JENKINS [1999] NSWCCA 111 revised – 18/05/99

[2] R v Murchie (1999) 108 A Crim R 482 at [20]; R v Lesi [2005] NSWCCA 63 at [31]; R v II [2008] NSWSC 325 at [24].

 

Written by Elizabeth Tsitsos

 

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in all areas of criminal law. Contact us if you require assistance.