Robbery Act and Cases

ROBBERY DEFINITION

S(8) of the Theft Act 1968 defines robbery:

  • 'A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at thetime of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force'
  • They have to complete theft, and use force or make V fear force IN ORDER TO commit the theft
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ACTUS REUS - Completed Theft

All 6 elements of theft must be present

  • Robinson - the Victim owed the defendant money. Because the defendant thought he deserved the money, he was not guilty of theft or robbery.
  • Corodan v Anderton - the first defendant pushed the victim so she dropped her bag. Even though they ran off w/o it, theft complete, so the defendants were guilty
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ACTUS REUS - Force or Threat of Force

The amount of force can be small

  • Dawson and James - D1 pushed V, and D2 took his wallet. Both were convicted of robbery, as 'force' was an ordinary word, so it was for the jury to decide
  • Clouden - the defendant was guilty of robbery as they wrenched a basket from the victim's hand
  • P v DPP the defendant was not guilty of robbery when they snatched a cigarette from the victims hand, without touching them
  • B and R v DPP - it did not matter if the victim was scared, because the defendant sought to put them in fear
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ACTUS REUS - Force Immediately Before or During

  • Hale - the defendants tied V up before leaving the house. It was held that the appropriation was ongoing, so they were guilty of robbery
  • Lockley - the defendant used force to get away from the shop after being caught. Guilty of robbery.
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MENS REA

Must have the mens rea for theft:

  • Dishonestly intending to permantently deprive the other of the property
  • must also intend to use force specifically to steal
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PROBLEMS WITH THE LAW

The element of theft creates a problem:

  • Hale and Lockley view appropriation as a continuing act
  • In theft, it has to be at a specific point in time
  • The theft has to be completed otherwise there is no robbery
  • It can be argued that a completed theft need not be necessary, bringing the law into line with burglary.
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PROBLEMS WITH THE LAW

The level of force in robbery is very low

Problems arise when the force done is minimal - different juries may come to a different decision on force

Resistance is said to be needed in the act, contradicting Corcoran v Anderton

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