Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force or threat of force and/or by putting the victim in fear. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear. Precise definitions of the offence may vary between jurisdictions. Robbery differs from simple theft in its use of violence and intimidation.
The word "rob" came via French from Late Latin words (e.g. deraubare) of Germanic origin, from Common Germanic raub — "theft"
Among the types of robbery are piracy, armed robbery involving use of a weapon, and aggravated robbery involving use of a deadly weapon or something that appears to be a deadly weapon. Highway robbery or "mugging" takes place outside and in a public place such as a sidewalk, street, or parking lot. Carjacking is the act of stealing a car from a victim by force. Extortion is the threat to do something illegal, or the offer to not do something illegal, in the event that goods are not given, primarily using words instead of actions.
Criminal slang for robbery includes "blagging" (armed robbery, usually of a bank) or "stick-up" (derived from the verbal threat enforcement addressed to the authorities to raise their armed hands in the air), and "steaming" (organized robbery on underground train systems).
Under section 8(1) of the Theft Act 1968, robbery is an indictable only offence which occurs if the defendant
This requires evidence to prove a theft as set out in s.1(1) Theft Act, 1968. In R v Robinson (1977), the defendant threatened the victim with a knife in order to recover money which he was actually owed. His conviction for robbery was quashed on the basis that Robinson had an honest, although unreasonable, belief (under Section 2(1)(a) of the Act) in his legal right to the money.
In R v Hale (1979), the application of force and the stealing took place in different locations, and it was not possible to establish the timing; it was held that the appropriation necessary to prove theft was a continuing act, and the jury could correctly convict of robbery; this approach was followed in R v Lockley (1995) when the force was applied to a shopkeeper after property had been taken. It was argued that the theft should be regarded as complete by this time, and R v Gomez (1993), should apply; the court disagreed, preferring to follow R v Hale.
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