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Journal Article

Citation

Betts G. J. Crim. Law 2019; 83(3): 205-216.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, SAGE Publishing)

DOI

10.1177/0022018319829264

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Robbery is a somewhat unusual offence in the sense that it combines two distinct wrongs: an offence against property and an offence against the person. It is also a particularly broad crime since it does not distinguish between different levels of force which might be used against the person. Consequently, the defendant who uses a slight push in order to steal a bag commits the same offence as a masked gang who enters a bank while in possession of firearms, making off with substantial amounts of cash in the process. As such, the current definition of robbery conflicts with the principle of fair labelling which seeks to ensure that crimes are defined to reflect their wrongfulness and severity. This article explores options to reform robbery in order to bring it in line with the principle of fair labelling. Ultimately, it argues that the scope of the offence should be narrowed by incorporating a minimum force threshold so that offences involving low levels of force cease to be regarded as robberies and are instead treated as thefts.


Language: en

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