What is break and enter?

Two separate situations can constitute robbery in company:

  1. Where you are accompanied by another person OR
  2. Where you are armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon. (This is an aggravated form of the offence, which means that it is more serious than simply being accompanied by another person.)

Where a person robs or assaults another person with an intent rob; or stops any: mail, or vehicle, railway train, or person conveying a mail, with intent to rob, a charge of robbery in company is a capable of being sustained.

What is ‘ín company?’

This means that someone assisted in committing the crime. In White v R [2016] NSWCCA 190 at [94], Justice Simpson considered that defining ‘in company’ requires the consideration of three questions:

  1. whether the presence of the other person is such as to have a potential effect on the victim, by way of coercion, intimidation, or otherwise;
  2. whether the presence of the other person is such as to have a potential effect on the offender, by offering support or encouragement, or “emboldening” that person;
  3. whether the evidence establishes that the other person is present, sharing a common purpose with the offender.

What is ‘a dangerous weapon?’

  • A ‘dangerous weapon’ is defined in s 4(1) of the Act as either a firearm within the meaning of the Firearms Act 1996, a prohibited weapon within the meaning of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1988, or a spear gun. (Sentencing Bench Book.)

Alternative verdict Where a person is acquitted of the aggravated form of offence (armed with a dangerous weapon), a jury may find the accused guilty of the non-aggravated form of the offence instead if the evidence supports such a finding.

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