Essentially, the offence of robbery is committed if a person steals anything and, at, or immediately before or after stealing the thing, uses or threatens to use violence in order to obtain the thing stolen, or to stop anyone’s resisting the theft.
A person convicted of the offence of robbery is liable to be imprisoned for fourteen 14 years. However, if the person is or pretends to be armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon (such as a gun, knife, or syringe), is in company with other people, or uses personal violence, then the person is liable to be imprisoned for life.
The person does not have to actually have a weapon, or intend to use violence. Threatening violence is enough. Also, the value of the property stolen is irrelevant. A person can be convicted of robbery for threatening to use violence to steal $1.00.
The offence of robbery can only be dealt with in the District Court. If a person charged with robbery wishes to dispute the charge, then they must proceed to a trial before a judge and a jury of twelve people.
Before the matter gets to the District Court, it goes to a committal hearing. This is a preliminary hearing before a magistrate where the magistrate must decide whether there is, on the face of it, a case against the person charged.
It should be stressed that robbery is a very serious offence, and most people convicted of the offence of robbery spend substantial periods in jail. Also, magistrates and judges are always reluctant to grant bail to persons who are charged with robbery, especially where there is actual violence committed.