Charged with Theft, Robbery or Burglary?
There are significant differences between what the Prosecution must prove against you in relation to charges of Theft, Robbery or Burglary.
Theft - the Prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you appropriated (took) property that belonged to another person; that you intended to permanently deprive that person of his or her property; and that you acted dishonestly.
Robbery - the Prosecution must prove that you committed theft and at the time (or immediately before) you used force on a person, or put a person in fear of force being used, and that you acted that way in order to commit the theft.
Armed Robbery – the same as Robbery but that you also had a firearm (or imitation) / offensive weapon / explosive (or imitation) with you at the time of the theft.
Burglary - the Prosecution must prove that you entered a building as a trespasser and that when you entered the building you intended to commit an offence of:
- Stealing something or
- Committing an offence punishable by imprisonment of five years or more involving an assault to a person in the building or damage to the building or property at the location.
Aggravated Burglary – same as above but you also were armed at the time of the burglary or there was someone present at the time of the burglary.
- Alibi - were you somewhere else when the offences occurred?
- Mistake of Fact – did you have a genuine belief you were entitled to take the property?
- Did you intend to permanently deprive the person of the property?
- Were you really trespassing, or did you have consent to be on the property?
It is highly recommended that you explore any possible defences with an experienced criminal lawyer.
Penalties vary greatly depending on the facts of your case. A minor shop theft could easily result in a Diversion Order, whereas Armed Robbery carries a high chance of being sent to prison.
The facts of your case need to be carefully analysed to make sure you do not plead guilty to a more serious charge than you should, or to give you the best chance of being acquitted.