Specialist Robbery and Theft Lawyers
Offences of robbery and theft and other associated offences are all defined within the Theft Act 1968.
Robbery – Section 8(1) Theft Act – 1968
Robbery is defined in section 8(1) of the Theft Act 1968.
“A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.”
Robbery, distinct from Theft and Burglary, can be thought of as theft with the threat or use of violence. Robbery is an indictable only offence which means it can only be dealt with at the Crown Court.
Sentencing powers available to the courts vary depending on the type and seriousness of the allegation charged and can range from an absolute discharge through to life imprisonment. The Court will consider factors such as the value of the robbery, the offender’s previous convictions and other aggravating features of the offence.
Sentencing Guidelines – Robbery Offences
The Sentencing Council has published new guidelines on how to sentence robbery offences which will come into force for all offences of robbery as of the 1st April 2016.
The main objective of these new guidelines is to deter the use of firearms and knives in the commission of robberies. There is now a distinction drawn between the use of firearms and knives during robberies and the use of other types of weapons.
The sentencing guidelines reflect the different ways in which robbery can be carried out splitting the offence of Robbery into three sections:
- Street and Less Sophisticated Commercial Robbery
- Professionally Planned Commercial Robbery
- Robbery at a dwelling.
The concepts of culpability and harm have also been introduced into the robbery guidelines with offenders being placed into a category for culpability and a category for harm and this is then used to decide the range of sentencing available to the court.
An offender with higher culpability and higher harm can expect to be sentenced more severely than one with lower culpability and harm, but sentencing will also be affected by which category of robbery the offender is placed into. A Professional Commercial Robbery has a range of 18 months to 20 years custody, a Robbery at a dwelling a range of 1 year to 16 years custody, and Street and Less Sophisticated Commercial Robberies a range of a community order to 12 years custody.
Theft – Section 1 Theft Act 1968
Theft involves the dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other person of it (Section 1 Theft Act 1968).
The definition can cover a whole range of offences from shoplifting to theft by finding to theft during the course of employment, theft of a motor vehicle and so on.
Theft offences are one of the most common types of offences seen in the Magistrates Court. In 2014 more than 91,000 offenders were sentenced for matters of theft. More serious offences of the theft will be dealt with in the Crown Court, typically when there is a high value or a significant breach of trust.
Sentencing powers available to the courts vary depending on the type and seriousness of the allegation charged and can range from an absolute discharge through to a lengthy custodial sentence. The Court will consider factors such as the value of the theft, the offender’s previous convictions and other aggravating features of the offence.
Sentencing Guidelines – Theft Offences
The Sentencing Council has published new guidelines on how to sentence theft offences which will come into force for all offences of theft as of the 1st February 2016.
These new guidelines seek to emphasise the importance of considering the impact of a theft on a victim, looking specifically at factors such as emotional distress, inconvenience and loss of confidence, rather than just upon the financial loss sustained
A theft conviction is by definition a conviction for dishonesty and has a hugely detrimental effect on an individual’s character and future prospects.
Theft Offence – Low Value Shoplifting
In 2014 a new offence of low value shoplifting was introduced for offences with a value of under £200. Research for the Sentencing Advisory Panel in 2006 showed that 90% of cases of shop theft offences involved property worth under £200. Section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act makes theft from a shop, of goods worth £200 or less, a summary-only offence, while preserving the right of defendants to elect to be tried in the Crown Court.
Olliers Solicitors – Specialist Criminal Defence
Defending allegations of robbery may involve expertise in dealing with phone evidence, cell site analysis, content of text messages as well as fingerprint evidence and evidence of undercover officers, particularly observation evidence.
Olliers provide specialist advice and representation throughout England and Wales.
We are the Manchester Legal Awards Crime Team of the Year 2016 and are ranked as a Top Tier criminal firm in both the 2016 edition of the Legal 500 and the 2017 Chambers Directory.
If you are facing an allegation of robbery or theft please contact us on 0161 834 1515.