Armed Robbery Sentence NSW

Armed Robbery in NSW: Delving Deep into Definitions, Weapons, Penalties, and Defences

Armed robbery is a crime that uniquely interlaces theft with elements of violence, heightening its gravity. This offence is meticulously defined in New South Wales (NSW), with substantial penalties illustrating its severity.

Essential Elements of the Offence

For an act to be adjudicated as an armed robbery in NSW, certain integral elements must coexist:

  1. Intent: The perpetrator must possess a clear intent to commit theft.
  2. Use of Weapon or Instrument: An object, weapon, or instrument must be employed, not necessarily to inflict harm but to threaten or intimidate.
  3. Violence or Threat of Violence: The act must involve actual physical harm or the potential threat of such harm to the victim.
  4. Deprivation of Property: A tangible theft must occur when a property is taken away from someone.

Categories of Weapons and Instruments

The realm of what constitutes a weapon in an armed robbery is broad:

  1. Defined Weapons: Traditional arms such as firearms, knives, and other easily recognizable weapons fall under this category.
  2. Implied Weapons: Items that may not conventionally be seen as weapons but can invoke fear or threaten harm when used in a certain manner. For instance, when wielded threateningly, a bottle might be deemed a weapon in the context of robbery.
  3. ‘Offensive Instruments’: These might not be weapons in the everyday sense. However, any object that is used to intimidate, threaten, or harm during a robbery can be classified as an ‘offensive instrument’.

Penalties and Sentencing

Given the compounded threat of armed robbery, the penalties in NSW are stringent:

  • A conviction of armed robbery can result in imprisonment for up to 25 years.
  • If the offender wields a dangerous weapon such as a gun, the penalty can be even steeper, with life imprisonment being a potential outcome.
  • The court also considers factors like the nature of the weapon, harm to the victim, and any prior criminal records of the offender while deciding on the sentence.


While armed robbery is a grave crime, the legal system allows for certain defences:

  1. Duress: If the accused acted under imminent threat or violence, compelling them to commit the crime.
  2. Necessity: This defence arises when the act is considered essential for the individual’s survival or in a situation with no real alternative.
  3. Mental Illness: If the accused suffered from a mental condition that rendered them incapable of understanding or controlling their actions, it could serve as a defence.
  4. Lack of Intent: A genuine absence of intent to commit robbery or use the weapon could be a potential defence.
  5. Identification Disputes: If there’s a genuine dispute regarding the identity of the accused.

Examples of Armed Robbery in NSW

Convenience Store Hold-up: John enters a 7-Eleven store in Sydney at midnight. He pulls out a knife and threatens the cashier, demanding all the cash from the register. John takes the money and runs. He is later identified via CCTV footage and charged with armed robbery.

  1. Gas Station Incident: with her face masked, Sarah approaches a gas station attendant while holding a fake gun. She demands money from the sales of the day. Though the weapon was not real, the attendant believed it to be genuine due to the threat. Sarah is apprehended nearby and charged.

  2. Home Invasion: Mike and his accomplice, Rachel, target an elderly couple’s home. Mike, wielding a baseball bat, threatens the couple while Rachel collects valuables. Their car’s license plate is noted by a neighbour. They are later arrested and prosecuted for armed robbery.

Typical Prosecutions:

Once such cases come before the courts in NSW, several steps ensure:

  1. Evidence Gathering: This typically involves CCTV footage, eyewitness testimony, forensic evidence, etc.

  2. Charges: The accused is officially charged with armed robbery. Other charges might be added, like assault, depending on the crime’s specifics.

  3. Court Hearings: Preliminary hearings occur where the case’s nature is assessed and bail conditions are set. If denied bail, the accused will remain in custody until the trial.

  4. Trial: The prosecution presents evidence, including weapon details, the amount stolen, any injuries inflicted, etc. The defence might raise issues like mistaken identity or lack of intent.

  5. Judgment: The jury or judge delivers a verdict based on the evidence. If found guilty, sentencing follows.

  6. Sentencing: Depending on the crime’s gravity and any previous convictions, the judge will assign a penalty. In NSW, armed robbery can result in long prison sentences, especially if firearms were involved or if the crime was committed in a company.