What is robbery?

Robbery refers to when a person forcefully takes the property of another person.

Robbery is a crime under section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). It occurs when there is:

  • An intent to steal,
  • A threat of violence or use of force which puts another person in fear, and
  • Property is taken from that person.

Property includes money and tangible goods.

Part 4 of the Crimes Act criminalises various types of robbery offences: aggravated robbery, robbery with wounding, robbery in company, and armed robbery.


What are the different types of robbery?


Aggravated robbery

Section 95 of the Crimes Act criminalises aggravated robbery. A robbery under section 94 is aggravated if the person robbing another person uses:

  • Physical violence.
  • Intentionally or recklessly inflicts bodily harm on the person.
  • Deprives the person of their liberty.


Robbery with wounding

Section 96 of the Crimes Act makes it an offence for a person committing aggravated robbery to wound or inflict grievous bodily harm on any person.


Robbery in company

Section 97 of the Crimes Act makes it an offence for a person in company with another person or persons, to rob or assault with intent to rob, another person.

This section also makes it an offence for a person in company with another person or persons to stop any mail, or vehicle, railway train, or person carrying mail, with intent to rob, or search with intent to rob.

It is an aggravated offence under section 97 if the person commits either offence while armed with a dangerous weapon.


Armed robbery

Section 98 of the Crimes Act deems it an offence if a person commits a robbery while armed with an offensive weapon or in company with another person, and inflicts grievous bodily harm on a person.


Potential Penalties

Robbery in its simplest form has a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalties for the other types of robbery are:

Type of robbery Maximum penalty
Aggravated robbery 20 years imprisonment
Robbery with wounding 25 years imprisonment
Robbery in company 20 years imprisonment
Aggravated robbery in company 20 years imprisonment
Armed robbery 25 years imprisonment


The courts regularly impose a prison sentence for all types of robbery offences.


Frequently Asked Questions

In which court will robbery charges be heard?

The offence of robbery under section 94 of the Crimes Act will ordinarily be dealt with in the Local Court. In rare circumstances, it may be heard in the District Court, but this would usually only occur if a defendant is also charged with further more serious offences that must be dealt with by the District Court.

All other robbery offences under part 4 of the Crimes Act are strictly indictable and must be dealt with in the District Court.

What is the difference between larceny and robbery?

Robbery is an aggravated form of larceny (stealing). It is considered a more serious offence and will likely attract a higher penalty. In order to prove robbery, all the elements of larceny must be proved, as well as the element of force.

What are the difficulties in prosecuting robbery?

There can be problems with the prosecution’s case in robbery matters. One common problem is that identification evidence (i.e., an assertion by a witness that the defendant is or resembles a person the witness observed to commit the offence) is notoriously unreliable. Another issue is the frequent delay between the time of the alleged offence and the time of arrest. Even where DNA or fingerprint evidence is located, there can be an explanation consistent with innocence.

Can you get bail for robbery?

Bail can be a problem for a person charged with robbery. It is important to seek legal advice and/or representation if you are charged with robbery and wish to apply for bail.

What is the claim of right defence?

The claim of right defence is a defence to offences containing the elements of larceny, which include larceny, breaking and entering, and robbery.

Under this defence, a person is not criminally responsible for an offence that has a physical element relating to property if:

  • At the time of the conduct constituting the offence, the person is under a genuine mistaken belief about a proprietary or possessory right. The person must genuinely believe they owned the property or had a right to take the property, such as believing they had rightfully purchased it.
  • The existence of that right negates the intent to commit a larceny or robbery offence as the person believed they were acting within their legal right.

A person is not criminally responsible for any other offence arising necessarily out of the exercise of the proprietary or possessory right that he or she mistakenly believes to exist.

This defence does not negate criminal responsibility for an offence relating to the use of force against a person. Therefore, if a person assaulted another person while taking a property, they may still be responsible for committing assault.

How can we help?

We are experienced in successfully defending robbery charges.

Book a free consultation or call us on 1300 668 484 for 24/7 legal advice.