Nature of Robbery

Robbery is aggravated theft.  The accused must steal or attempt to steal.  The force or threat of force must be used in order to enable the accused to steal.

Any defence available in respect of theft will be available in respect of robbery.  It may be a defence to robbery although the circumstances may constitute an assault.  This is so even if the person has no right to take the thing concerned with violence.

The force must be used immediately before or at the time of the theft.  The use of force after a theft or an escape does not constitute robbery.  The force must be used in order to steal.  If force is used, and the intent to steal arises later, it is not robbery.

The fact that the victim is not actually put in fear does not obviate robbery if the accused intended to put the victim in fear.  Accidental use of force is not sufficient. The threat of future force is not sufficient.  This may constitute a separate offence.

Overpowering a security guard who stands between the accused and his objective constitutes robbery.

Conspiracy to rob is a common-law offence.


The threatened force must be against a person.  However, force applied to property held by a person may indirectly constitute force applied to a person.

The tying up of employees followed by removal and stealing out of their presence would constitute robbery.

It is sufficient that the victim or his agents are aware of the theft and are compelled by force or fear to submit to it.  They may be equally prevented by violence or threat from becoming aware of the theft.

The victim must be the custodian of the property so as to have sufficient possession and care of it. The stealing should be such that it is in his presence, either literally or in the extended sense that his possession and control extends to it.


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