Last updated 29 August 2016

Section 409 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) (Criminal Code) provides that the offence of robbery is created where violence is used or threatened to be used either immediately before or after the stealing of property. The actual or threatened violence may also be used to prevent or overcome resistance to the stealing of the property.

To establish the offence of robbery, the prosecution is required to prove stealing of property, and, at or immediately before or immediately after the time of the stealing, prove the use or threat to use violence to any person or property in order to obtain the thing intended to be stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to it being stolen (s 409 Criminal Code).

To fulfil the requirements of this section, the violence or the threat of violence must be proffered for the purposes of obtaining the property sought or allowing a person to overcome resistance.

In considering the degree or amount of violence required, the courts have determined that the smallest amount of violence will be sufficient to substantiate this charge.

Penalty for robbery

Section 411 of the Criminal Code provides that a person who commits robbery is liable for imprisonment for 14 years.

There are three circumstances of aggravation that provide for a greater penalty of life imprisonment. These circumstances are:

  • where the offender is armed or pretends to be armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon
  • where the offender is in company of other persons
  • if, at the time or alternatively immediately before or after the robbery, the offender wounds or uses any other personal violence to any person (s 411 Criminal Code).

A dangerous or offensive weapon is given a broad definition. An offensive weapon can be something that is not in common use for any other purpose than a weapon, such as a gun or sword. It may also be ordinary items which can be weapons depending on the circumstances, such as a knife, wood palings, screw drivers or hypodermic needles and syringes. Whether an item is a weapon depends on the manner in which it is used.

Appropriate court

The offence of robbery, either with or without a circumstance of aggravation, must be dealt with on indictment in the District Court of Queensland.