Robbery in Circumstances of Aggravation

By Criminal Lawyers Sydney George Sten & Co

Aggravated Robbery Charges – Lawyers Sydney

Aggravated Robbery is considered a serious offence if you have been charged or facing charges for aggravated robbery seek expert legal assistance. George Sten & Co comprises a team of specialist criminal defence lawyers with over 50 years of experience in defending persons charged with crimes including robbery offences. If you have been charged with aggravated robbery or a robbery offence, George Sten & Co maintain the expertise required to defend you to the highest possible standard.

Aggravated Robbery the law

Robbery in Circumstances of Aggravation

Section 95 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)

Division 2 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides for offences which involve robbery. The Crimes Act does not provide a definition of robbery. Rather, the definition is found in the common law and provides that a robbery is committed where “the victim is compelled by force or fear to submit to the theft”.

It is not required that actual force is applied for the offence of robbery to be proved. Rather, if the complainant simply fears violence as a result of the alleged offender's conduct, that is enough for a robbery offence to be proved.

Courts consider robbery an extremely serious offence and, where considered appropriate, may impose a penalty of imprisonment upon a person convicted of a robbery offence. In R v Murray (unrep, 11/9/86, NSWCCA) the judge in that case provided that whether with or without arms, robbery is to be regarded “in virtually all circumstances as an offence of the utmost gravity, which must carry a custodial sentence”. For this and other relevant reasons, it is vital a person charged with a robbery offence is properly defended by an experienced and specialised criminal defence lawyer.

Where a person is charged with a robbery offence, a specialist criminal defence lawyer is able to properly test the evidence being relied upon by the Crown to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.

Robbery by itself attracts a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 14 years. Section 95 of the Crimes Act however provides for the offence of Robbery in circumstances of aggravation. Where a person commits a robbery and where circumstances of aggravation are proved by the Crown, then a person may be liable to imprisonment for 20 years.

Aggravating circumstances means circumstances which are brought about by an alleged offender and increase the seriousness of the offence which in turn increases the harshness of the penalty which may be imposed on a person convicted of such an offence.

Circumstances of aggravation include:

  • where the alleged offender uses corporal violence on any person or
  • where the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on any person or
  • where the alleged offender deprives any person of his or her liberty.

Corporal violence means violence involving the human body. Where this circumstance of aggravation is relied upon, the nature and extent of the violence will be considered in determining the seriousness of the offence and the penalty which a judge will impose.

Furthermore, where the alleged offender inflicts bodily harm on any person, whether intentionally or recklessly, the offence of robbery is aggravated and this increases the seriousness of the offence and in turn the harshness of the penalty a judge may impose.

Also, where an alleged offender causes any person to be unable to move freely, the offence is aggravated. It may not be relevant that person could actually freely move, only that they believed they could not freely move due to the actions of the alleged offender.

Courts have also held that it is permissible to take into account as an aggravating factor the fact that the offence was committed in company. This means where it is proved a person commits robbery with another person present also committing the robbery, the seriousness of the offence may be increased and in turn the penalty imposed.

The offence of robbery is further aggravated where grievous bodily harm is inflicted on any person. This offence (Section 96) attracts a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. If a person is caused to have a permanent disability arising from the grievous bodily harm, the Courts consider this even more serious and are bound to increase the severity of the sentence imposed on a convicted person.

Courts consider robbery in circumstances of aggravation an extremely serious offence. Maximum sentences that may be imposed by a court include imprisonment of 14 years, 20 years or 25 years depending on the seriousness and the nature of the robbery committed, whether there are circumstances of aggravation and the seriousness of the circumstances of aggravation if proved. For this reason it is essential an accused person is represented by an experienced and specialised criminal defence lawyer who is able to properly test the evidence relied upon by the Crown to prove a robbery offence.

In New South Wales the Crimes Act provides for a number of offences, which involve a robbery of some kind. If you have been charged with an aggravated robbery offence, it is crucial that you seek urgent legal advice. For specialised criminal defence lawyers, contact George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers Sydney.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be contacted on (02) 9261 8640 during business hours or 0412 423 569 outside of business hours. We may also be contacted via email at


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