Sentencing Trends for Armed Robbery in the Higher Courts of Victoria 2008-09 to 2012-13

Sentencing Snapshot 153
Date of Publication: 
26 June 2014

Sentencing Snapshot no. 153 describes sentencing outcomes for the offence of armed robbery in the County Court of Victoria between 2008-09 and 2012-13.

The most recent Sentencing Snapshot for this offence is Snapshot no. 212.

You can also access statistics for this offence on SACStat.

Authored and published by the Sentencing Advisory Council
© Copyright State of Victoria, Sentencing Advisory Council, 2014

Introduction

This Sentencing Snapshot describes sentencing outcomes[1] for the offence of armed robbery and details the age and gender[2] of people sentenced for this offence in the County Court of Victoria between 2008–09 and 2012–13.[3] Except where otherwise noted, the data represent sentences imposed at first instance.

A person who uses or threatens to use force in order to steal, and at the time has with them a firearm, imitation firearm, offensive weapon, explosive or imitation explosive is guilty of armed robbery. Armed robbery is an indictable offence that carries a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 3,000 penalty units. Indictable offences are more serious offences triable before a judge and jury in the County or Supreme Court of Victoria.

Armed robbery was the principal offence[4] in 10.3% of cases sentenced in the higher courts between 2008–09 and 2012–13.

People sentenced

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, 1,005 people were sentenced in the higher courts for a principal offence of armed robbery. These people are the focus of this Snapshot. However, an additional 155 people were sentenced in cases that involved armed robbery but where some other offence was the principal offence. In total, 1,160 people were sentenced in the higher courts for 1,923 charges of armed robbery.

Figure 1 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of armed robbery by gender. Over the five years depicted, the majority of those sentenced were men (91.6% or 921 of the 1,005 people), including 222 of the 241 people sentenced in 2012–13.

Figure 1: The number of people sentenced for armed robbery by gender, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Gender
Financial year Male Female Total
2008-09 146 13 159
2009-10 191 19 210
2010-11 172 14 186
2011-12 190 19 209
2012-13 222 19 241
Total 921 84 1005

Sentence types and trends

Figure 2 shows the total number of people sentenced for armed robbery and the number who received an immediate custodial sentence. An immediate custodial sentence is one that involves at least some element of immediate (as opposed to wholly suspended) imprisonment or detention.[5] Over the five-year period, 82% of people were given an immediate custodial sentence. This peaked at 85% (206 of 241) in 2012–13 after a low of 79% (166 of 210) in 2009–10.

Figure 2: The number of people sentenced for armed robbery and the number who received an immediate custodial sentence, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Sentence type
Financial year Custodial Non-custodial Total
2008-09 126 33 159
2009-10 166 44 210
2010-11 151 35 186
2011-12 173 36 209
2012-13 206 35 241
total 822 183 1005

Table 1 shows the number of people sentenced for armed robbery from 2008–09 to 2012–13 by the types of sentences imposed.

Over the five-year period, the majority of people sentenced for armed robbery received a period of imprisonment (67% or 674 of 1,005 people), while 11% received a youth justice centre order, and 8% received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment.

The number of people given a sentence of imprisonment was lowest during 2008–09 (106 of 159 people or 66.7%) while the percentage of people given a sentence of imprisonment was lowest during 2009–10 (134 of 210 or 63.8%). The number and percentage of people given a sentence of imprisonment were highest in 2012–13 (171 of 241 or 71%). 

The number and percentage of people receiving a youth justice centre order were lowest during 2008–09 (13 of 159 people or 8.2%) and highest during 2011–12 (34 of 209 people or 16.3%).

The number and percentage of people given a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment were lowest during 2012–13 (5 of 241 or 2.1%) and highest during 2009–10 (24 of 210 or 11.4%).

Table 1: The number and percentage of people sentenced for armed robbery by sentence type, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Sentence type 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 Total
Imprisonment 106 (67%) 134 (64%) 125 (67%) 138 (66%) 171 (71%) 674 (67%)
Youth justice centre order 13 (8%) 20 (10%) 22 (12%) 34 (16%) 24 (10%) 113 (11%)
Wholly suspended sentence 16 (10%) 24 (11%) 21 (11%) 17 (8%) 5 (2%) 83 (8%)
Community correction order 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 10 (5%) 29 (12%) 39 (4%)
Community-based order 11 (7%) 12 (6%) 8 (4%) 6 (3%) 0 (–) 37 (4%)
Partially suspended sentence 5 (3%) 11 (5%) 4 (2%) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 21 (2%)
Intensive correction order 4 (3%) 6 (3%) 5 (3%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 15 (1%)
Mix (imprisonment and community correction order) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 6 (2%) 6 (<1%)
Aggregate imprisonment 1 (<1%) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 3 (1%) 5 (<1%)
Non-custodial supervision order 0 (–) 2 (<1%) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 1 (<1%) 4 (<1%)
Mix (community-based order and fine) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 2 (<1%)
Adjourned undertaking without conviction 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 1 (<1%)
Aggregate partially suspended sentence 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%)
Custodial supervision order 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 1 (<1%)
Fine 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%)
Hospital security order 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%) 1 (<1%)
Mix (community-based order and aggregate fine) 1 (<1%) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 0 (–) 1 (<1%)
People sentenced 159 210 186 209 241 1,005

Age and gender of people sentenced

Figure 3 shows the gender of people sentenced for armed robbery grouped by age[6] between 2008–09 and 2012–13. The average (mean) age of people sentenced for armed robbery was 27 years and 2 months. Women sentenced over this period were slightly older than men (an average age of 27 years and 9 months for women compared with 27 years and 1 month for men). There were no juveniles sentenced over this period.[7]

Figure 3: The number of people sentenced for armed robbery by gender and age, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Gender
Age group (years) Male Female
<20 141 11
20-24 300 19
25-29 199 24
30-34 116 15
35-39 76 8
40+ 89 7

Sentence types by gender

Table 2 shows the types of sentences imposed for armed robbery grouped by gender. More men than women received a youth justice centre order (11.8% of men compared with 4.8% of women) and a period of imprisonment (67.5% compared with 61.9%). Conversely, more women than men received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment (16.7% compared with 7.5% of men), a community-based order (7.1% compared with 3.4%), and a community correction order (6.0% compared with 3.7%).

Table 2: The number and percentage of people sentenced for armed robbery by sentence type and gender, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Sentence type Male Female
Imprisonment 622 (68%) 52 (63%)
Youth justice centre order 109 (12%) 4 (5%)
Wholly suspended sentence 69 (8%) 14 (17%)
Community correction order 34 (4%) 5 (6%)
Community-based order 31 (3%) 6 (7%)
Partially suspended sentence 21 (2%) 0 (–)
Intensive correction order 15 (2%) 0 (–)
Mix (imprisonment and community correction order) 4 (<1%) 2 (2%)
Aggregate imprisonment 5 (<1%) 0 (–)
Non-custodial supervision order 4 (<1%) 0 (–)
Mix (community-based order and fine) 2 (<1%) 0 (–)
Adjourned undertaking without conviction 0 (–) 1 (1%)
Aggregate partially suspended sentence 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
Custodial supervision order 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
Fine 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
Hospital security order 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
Mix (community-based order and aggregate fine) 1 (<1%) 0 (–)
People sentenced 921 84

Sentence types by age

As shown in Table 1, some of the most common sentence types were imprisonment, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment, and community correction orders. The following analysis examines these sentence types by the offenders’ age group.

Imprisonment

As shown in Figure 4, imprisonment was imposed at a rate highest for people aged 45 years and older (90% or 37 of the 41 people in this age group).

Conversely, the rate of imprisonment was lowest for people aged under 20 years (24% or 36 of the 152 people in this age group).

Figure 4: The percentage of people who received a period of imprisonment for armed robbery by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<20 23.7
20-24 58.6
25-29 82.1
30-34 87.0
35-39 82.1
40-44 87.3
45+ 90.2

Wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment

As shown in Figure 5, wholly suspended sentences of imprisonment were given to people aged 20–24 years (11.3% of the 319 people in this age group) at a higher rate than other age groups.

Conversely, none of the 55 people aged 40–44 years received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment.

Figure 5: The percentage of people who received a suspended sentence of imprisonment for armed robbery by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<20 6.6
20-24 11.3
25-29 8.1
30-34 8.4
35-39 8.3
40-44 0
45+ 2.4

Community correction orders

As shown in Figure 6, community correction orders were given to people aged 20–24 years more often than other age groups (20 out of 319 or 6.3%).

Conversely, none of the 84 people aged 35–39 years were given a community correction order.

Figure 6: The percentage of people who received a community correction order for armed robbery by age group, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Age group (years) Percentage
<20 5.3
20-24 6.3
25-29 3.1
30-34 1.5
35-39 0.0
40-44 1.8
45+ 2.4

Principal and total effective sentences

Two methods for describing sentence types and lengths are examined in this section. One relates to the principal sentence and examines sentences for the offence at a charge level. The other relates to the total effective sentence and examines sentences for the offence at a case level.

The principal sentence is the individual sentence imposed for the charge that is the principal offence.[8]

The total effective sentence in a case with a single charge is the principal sentence. The total effective sentence in a case with multiple charges is the sentence that results from the court ordering the individual sentences for each charge to be served concurrently (at the same time) or wholly or partially cumulatively (one after the other).

In many cases, the total effective sentence imposed on a person will be longer than the principal sentence. Principal sentences for armed robbery must be considered in this broader context. The following sections analyse the use of imprisonment for the offence of armed robbery from 2008–09 to 2012–13.

Principal sentence of imprisonment

A total of 680 people received a principal sentence of imprisonment for armed robbery between 2008–09 and 2012–13.

Figure 7 shows these people by length of imprisonment term.[9] Imprisonment terms ranged from 3 months to 14 years, while the median length of imprisonment was 3 years (meaning that half of the imprisonment terms were shorter than 3 years and half were longer).

Figure 7: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for armed robbery by length of imprisonment term, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Imprisonment length Number
Less than 1 year 6
1 to less than 2 years 72
2 to less than 3 years 214
3 to less than 4 years 194
4 to less than 5 years 107
5 to less than 6 years 49
6 to less than 7 years 19
7 to less than 8 years 7
8 to less than 9 years 4
10 to less than 11 years 1
14 to less than 15 years 1

The most common range of imprisonment length imposed was 2 to less than 3 years (214 people).

Expanding the analysis from principal sentences of imprisonment to all charges that received imprisonment, there were 1,361 charges of armed robbery sentenced to imprisonment between 2008–09 and 2012–13. Imprisonment lengths for armed robbery ranged from 1 month to 14 years while the median was 3 years, and the most common range of imprisonment length was 3 to less than 4 years (434 charges).

Returning to principal sentences of imprisonment, Figure 8 shows that the average (mean) length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for armed robbery ranged from 3 years and 1 month to 3 years and 2 months over the five-year period.

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, the majority of people who received a term of imprisonment for armed robbery were men (626 people or 92.1%). In each year except for 2009–10, men received a longer average (mean) term of imprisonment than women. Over the five-year period, the average period of imprisonment for men was 3 years and 2 months compared with 2 years and 6 months for women.

Figure 8: The average length of imprisonment term imposed on people sentenced for armed robbery, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Financial year Average length of imprisonment
2008-09 3 years and 2 months
2009-10 3 years and 1 month
2010-11 3 years and 2 months
2011-12 3 years and 1 month
2012-13 3 years and 2 months

Other offences finalised at the same hearing

Often people prosecuted for armed robbery face multiple charges, which are finalised at the same hearing. This section looks at the range of offences for which offenders have been sentenced at the same time as being sentenced for the principal offence of armed robbery.

Figure 9 shows the number of people sentenced for the principal offence of armed robbery by the total number of offences for which sentences were set. The number of sentenced offences per person ranged from 1 to 47, while the median was 2 offences. There were 322 people (32.0%) sentenced for the single offence of armed robbery. The average (mean) number of offences per person sentenced for the principal offence of armed robbery was 3.62.

Figure 9: The number of people sentenced for the principal offence of armed robbery by the number of sentenced offences per person, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Number of offences Number of people
1 322
2 188
3 155
4 92
5 to 9 187
10 to 19 49
20+ 12

While Figure 9 presents the number of sentenced offences for those sentenced for armed robbery, Table 3 shows what the accompanying offences were. It shows the number and percentage of people sentenced for the 10 most common offences. The last column sets out the average (mean) number of offences sentenced per person. For example, 183 of the total 1,005 people (18.2%) also received sentences for theft. On average, they were sentenced for 2.11 counts of theft.

Table 3: The number and percentage of people sentenced for the principal offence of armed robbery by the most common offences that were sentenced and the average number of those offences that were sentenced, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Offence Number % Average
1 Armed robbery 1,005 100.0 1.65
2 Theft 183 18.2 2.11
3 Attempted armed robbery 138 13.7 1.23
4 Robbery 83 8.3 1.82
5 Possess a drug of dependence 56 5.6 1.18
6 Aggravated burglary 50 5.0 1.32
7 Causing injury intentionally 49 4.9 1.14
8 Intentionally damage/destroy property 47 4.7 1.45
9 Burglary 42 4.2 1.71
10 Dishonestly receive stolen goods 37 3.7 1.32
Total 1,005 100.0 3.62

Total effective sentence of imprisonment

There were 685 people given a total effective sentence of imprisonment.[10] Figure 10 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for armed robbery between 2008–09 and 2012–13 by length of total effective sentence. The length of total effective sentences ranged from 3 months to 16 years, while the median total effective length of imprisonment was 3 years and 8 months (meaning that half of the total effective sentence lengths were below 3 years and 8 months and half were above). 

The most common range of total effective imprisonment length was 3 to less than 4 years (182 people).

Figure 10: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for armed robbery by length of total effective imprisonment term, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Total effective imprisonment length Number of people
Less than 1 year 10
1 to less than 2 years 44
2 to less than 3 years 129
3 to less than 4 years 181
4 to less than 5 years 116
5 to less than 6 years 81
6 to less than 7 years 60
7 to less than 8 years 32
8 to less than 9 years 14
9 to less than 10 years 7
10 to less than 11 years 1
11 to less than 12 years 4
14 to less than 15 years 2
15 to less than 16 years 2
16 to less than 17 years 1

Non-parole period

When a person is sentenced to a term of immediate imprisonment of one year or more, the court has the discretion to fix a non-parole period. Where a non-parole period is fixed, the person must serve that period before becoming eligible for parole. Where no non-parole period is set by the court, the person must serve the entirety of the imprisonment term.

Under section 11(4) of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic), if a court sentences an offender to imprisonment in respect of more than one offence, the non-parole period set by the court must be in respect of the total effective sentence of imprisonment that the offender is liable to serve under all the sentences imposed. In many cases, the non-parole period will be longer than the individual principal sentence for armed robbery. Sentences and non-parole periods must be considered in this broader context.

Of the 685 people who were sentenced to imprisonment for armed robbery, 675 were eligible to have a non-parole period fixed.[11] Of these people, 662 were given a non-parole period (98%).[12] Figure 11 shows the number of people sentenced to imprisonment for armed robbery between 2008–09 and 2012–13 by length of non-parole period. Non-parole periods ranged from 2 months and 21 days to 13 years, while the median length of the non-parole period was 2 years (meaning that half of the non-parole periods were below 2 years and half were above). 

The most common range of non-parole period imposed was 1 year to less than 2 years (236 people).

Figure 11: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for armed robbery by length of non-parole period, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Non-parole period Number of people
Less than 1 year 61
1 to less than 2 years 235
2 to less than 3 years 156
3 to less than 4 years 100
4 to less than 5 years 56
5 to less than 6 years 35
6 to less than 7 years 7
7 to less than 8 years 2
8 to less than 9 years 3
9 to less than 10 years 2
11 to less than 12 years 2
12 to less than 13 years 1
13 to less than 14 years 1
No NPP 14
Unascertainable 9

Total effective sentences of imprisonment and non-parole periods

Figure 12 presents the average (mean) length of total effective sentences of imprisonment compared with the average (mean) length of non-parole periods for all people. 

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, the average length of total effective sentences for all people ranged from 3 years and 10 months in 2012–13 to 4 years and 3 months in 2008–09. Over the same period, the average length of non-parole periods ranged from 2 years and 2 months in 2012–13 to 2 years and 6 months in 2008–09, 2009–10, and 2011–12.

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, the majority of people sentenced to imprisonment were male (631 of 685 people or 92%). Over the five-year period, men received an average (mean) total effective imprisonment length of 4 years and 1 month compared with 3 years for women. The average non-parole period for men was 2 years and 5 months compared with 1 year and 9 months for women.

Figure 12: The average total effective sentence and the average non-parole period imposed on people sentenced to imprisonment for armed robbery, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Financial year Total effective sentence length Non-parole period
2008-09 4 years and 3 months 2 years and 6 months
2009-10 4 years and 1 month 2 years and 6 months
2010-11 4 years and 1 month 2 years and 5 months
2011-12 4 years and 1 month 2 years and 6 months
2012-13 3 years and 10 months 2 years and 2 months

Total effective sentence of imprisonment by non-parole period

While Figures 10 and 11 present the lengths of the total effective sentences and non-parole periods separately, Figure 13 combines the two methods of describing sentence lengths in the one diagram. It shows the total effective sentence and non-parole period for armed robbery for each individual person.

The centre of each ‘bubble’ on the chart represents a combination of imprisonment length and non-parole period, while the size of the bubble reflects the number of people who received that particular combination. Sentence lengths and non-parole periods that are longer than one year are rounded down to the nearest year of imprisonment, while sentence lengths and non-parole periods of less than one year are grouped into the ‘<1 year’ category. For example, a sentence length of 2 years and 6 months would be included as a sentence length of 2 years for the purposes of Figure 16.

As shown, the most common combination of imprisonment length and non-parole period imposed was 3 years with a non-parole period of 1 year (118 people – as represented by the largest bubble on the chart). The length of imprisonment ranged from 3 months with no non-parole period to 16 years with a non-parole period of 13 years.

Figure 13: The number of people sentenced to imprisonment for armed robbery by the total effective sentence and the non-parole period imposed, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Total effective sentence category Non-parole period category Total
Less than 1 year No NPP 9
1 to less than 2 years No NPP 1
1 to less than 2 years Less than 1 year 35
1 to less than 2 years 1 to less than 2 years 6
2 to less than 3 years Less than 1 year 23
2 to less than 3 years 1 to less than 2 years 103
2 to less than 3 years 2 to less than 3 years 1
3 to less than 4 years No NPP 1
3 to less than 4 years Less than 1 year 3
3 to less than 4 years 1 to less than 2 years 117
3 to less than 4 years 2 to less than 3 years 59
3 to less than 4 years 3 to less than 4 years 1
4 to less than 5 years No NPP 1
4 to less than 5 years 1 to less than 2 years 8
4 to less than 5 years 2 to less than 3 years 81
4 to less than 5 years 3 to less than 4 years 24
4 to less than 5 years 4 to less than 5 years 1
5 to less than 6 years No NPP 1
5 to less than 6 years 1 to less than 2 years 1
5 to less than 6 years 2 to less than 3 years 14
5 to less than 6 years 3 to less than 4 years 58
5 to less than 6 years 4 to less than 5 years 6
6 to less than 7 years No NPP 1
6 to less than 7 years 2 to less than 3 years 1
6 to less than 7 years 3 to less than 4 years 16
6 to less than 7 years 4 to less than 5 years 39
6 to less than 7 years 5 to less than 6 years 3
7 to less than 8 years 4 to less than 5 years 10
7 to less than 8 years 5 to less than 6 years 20
7 to less than 8 years 6 to less than 7 years 1
8 to less than 9 years 5 to less than 6 years 10
8 to less than 9 years 6 to less than 7 years 3
9 to less than 10 years 3 to less than 4 years 1
9 to less than 10 years 5 to less than 6 years 2
9 to less than 10 years 6 to less than 7 years 3
9 to less than 10 years 7 to less than 8 years 1
10 to less than 11 years 8 to less than 9 years 1
11 to less than 12 years 7 to less than 8 years 1
11 to less than 12 years 8 to less than 9 years 2
11 to less than 12 years 9 to less than 10 years 1
14 to less than 15 years 9 to less than 10 years 1
14 to less than 15 years 11 to less than 12 years 1
15 to less than 16 years 11 to less than 12 years 1
15 to less than 16 years 12 to less than 13 years 1
16 to less than 17 years 13 to less than 14 years 1
People sentenced 675

Note: No NPP refers to no non-parole period.

Suspended sentences of imprisonment

There were 105 people given a suspended sentence of imprisonment as their total effective sentence. Of these, 83 people had their prison sentence wholly suspended and 22 received a partially suspended sentence of imprisonment. Figure 14 shows the number of people with a suspended sentence of imprisonment as their total effective sentence by the suspended sentence type and length of sentence. The green ‘bubbles’ to the left of the vertical axis show the lengths of the wholly suspended sentences, while the grey bubbles to the right of the vertical axis show the combination of total imprisonment length and the suspended period for those sentenced to a partially suspended sentence. The size of the bubble reflects the number of people who received either the wholly or the partially suspended prison term. Imprisonment lengths and suspended periods that end part way through a month are rounded down to the nearest complete month. For example, a wholly suspended sentence of 6 months and 12 days would be included as a sentence length of 6 months for the purposes of Figure 17.

Wholly suspended sentence lengths ranged from 6 months to 3 years. The most common wholly suspended sentence length was 2 years (20 people – as represented by the largest green bubble on the chart).

The most common partially suspended sentence combination was 3 years with 2 years, 11 months and 24 days suspended (2 people – as represented by the largest grey bubble on the chart).

Figure 14: The number of people given a wholly or partially suspended sentence of imprisonment for armed robbery by sentence type and length, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Wholly suspended sentence length (months) No. of people
6 1
9 2
12 10
13 1
14 3
15 2
18 9
19 1
20 3
21 3
22 1
23 1
24 20
25 1
27 2
28 1
29 1
30 12
34 1
35 1
36 7
People sentenced 83

Partially suspended sentences
Imprisonment sentence length (months) Suspended period (months) No. of people
8.00 7.92 1
9.00 6 1
9.07 8.120004 1
12.00 5.780004 1
12.00 9 1
12.00 11.769996 1
18.00 6 1
18.00 17.499996 1
24 14.000004 1
24 15.999996 1
24 18.999996 1
24 20.000004 1
27 18 1
30 21 1
30 24 1
33 11.499996 1
33 30.189996 1
36 6.999996 1
36 14.000004 1
36 24 1
36 35.780004 2
People sentenced 22

Intensive correction orders

There were 15 people given an intensive correction order as their total effective sentence.

As Figure 15 shows, the length of intensive correction orders for armed robbery ranged from 6 months to 1 year, while the most common length was 1 year (12 people).

Figure 15: The number of people sentenced to an intensive correction order for armed robbery by length of order imposed, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Sentence length No. of people
6 months 1
9 months 1
10 months 1
1 year 12
People sentence 15

Community-based orders

There were 39 people given a community-based order as their total effective sentence.

As Figure 16 shows, the length of community-based orders for armed robbery ranged from 1 year to 2 years, while the most common length was 2 years (23 people).

Figure 16: The number of people sentenced to a community-based order for armed robbery by length of order imposed, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Sentence length No. of people
1 year 8
1 year and 6 months 8
2 years 23
People sentenced 39

Fines

This analysis includes all fines that were imposed for cases where armed robbery was the principal offence. Fines were imposed on 78 people.

As figure 17 shows, the fine amount imposed ranged from $30 to $3,350, with a median of $300 (meaning that half of the values fell below $300 and half of the values were above $300).

The average (mean) fine amount was $556. The average fine amount imposed against the 74 males was $565, much higher than the average fine for the 4 females ($400).

Figure 17: The number of people who received a fine for armed robbery by fine amount, 2008–09 to 2012–13

Fine amount No. of people 
$1–$199 15
$200–$399 26
$400–$599 14
$600–$799 7
$800–$999 0
$1,000–$1,199 8
$1,200+ 8
People sentenced 78

Community correction orders

Community correction orders were introduced in early 2012 to replace community-based orders and intensive correction orders. A feature of community correction orders is that the sentence length of the order can be as high as the statutory maximum of the offence being sentenced.

From 2008–09 to 2012–13, 40 people were given a community correction order for the principal offence of armed robbery. The length of community correction orders ranged from 1 year to 5 years. The most commonly used length was 2 years, which was given to 18 (45%) of people who received a community correction order.

Appeals

A sentence imposed on a person may be appealed[13] by that person or by the Crown. A person sentenced may also appeal against his or her conviction. All appeals made in relation to people sentenced in the higher courts are determined by the Court of Appeal.

To June 2013, 2 people sentenced for a principal offence of armed robbery in the period 2008–09 to 2012–13 successfully appealed their conviction (the people were acquitted of the offence). These 2 people had received total effective sentences of imprisonment (3 years and 11 years). Thus, the number of people sentenced to imprisonment from 2008–09 to 2012–13 for a principal offence of armed robbery is reduced to 682 people once appeals are considered.

As a result of successful appeals against sentence, the total effective sentence and/or the non-parole period changed for 18 people. All of these appeals were made by the person sentenced and resulted in a sentence reduction. The longest total effective imprisonment term to be reduced was a sentence of 14 years, which decreased to 4 years.[14]

One person’s total effective sentence was changed from imprisonment to a youth justice centre order with the term length unchanged.

The principal sentence changed for 15 people as a result of a successful appeal. The longest principal sentence of imprisonment reduced was 8 years and 3 months, which decreased to 7 years and 6 months. 

With the original sentencing data revised to incorporate appeal outcomes, the longest total effective imprisonment term was unchanged at 16 years with a non-parole period of 13 years.

The adjusted longest principal sentence of imprisonment was also unchanged at 14 years.

Summary

Between 2008–09 and 2012–13, 1,005 people were sentenced for armed robbery in the higher courts. Over this period, the majority of people sentenced were men (92%), while 90% were between the age of 18 and 40 years.

The majority of people sentenced for armed robbery received a period of imprisonment (67%), while 11% received a youth justice centre order and 8% received a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment.

Men were more likely than women to be sentenced to a youth justice centre order or imprisonment. Conversely, women were more likely to be sentenced to a wholly suspended sentence of imprisonment.

Imprisonment was the most common sentence for those older than 25 years of age.

Each of the 1,005 people was sentenced for an average of 3.62 offences, including 1.65 offences of armed robbery. The most common offence finalised in conjunction with armed robbery was theft (18.2% of all cases). The number and range of offences for which people with a principal offence of armed robbery were sentenced help explain why imprisonment sentence lengths were longer for the total effective sentence than for the principal sentence. The median total effective imprisonment length was 3 years and 8 months, while the median principal imprisonment length was 3 years.

Total effective imprisonment lengths ranged from 3 months with no non-parole period to 16 years with a non-parole period of 16 years. The most common sentence of imprisonment was 3 years with a non-parole period of 1 year.

The most common wholly suspended sentence length was 2 years.

A small number of people were able to successfully appeal against their sentences or convictions. When the results of the appeal outcomes are incorporated into the original sentencing data, the range of total effective imprisonment lengths and principal imprisonment sentence lengths remains unchanged.

Endnotes

[1] This series of reports includes custodial and non-custodial supervision orders imposed under Part 5 of the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) as sentencing orders and in the count of people sentenced. These orders are not sentencing orders, as they are imposed in cases where the defendant is not guilty because of mental impairment. However, they are included in this report as they are an important form of disposition of criminal charges.

This Sentencing Snapshot is an update of Sentencing Snapshot no. 122, which describes sentencing trends for armed robbery between 2006–07 and 2010–11.

[2] The information source for sentencing outcomes for armed robbery only contains information on age and gender characteristics. No other demographic analysis is possible using this data source.

[3] The source data for the statistical information presented in this Snapshot were provided by the Business Intelligence area of the Courts and Tribunals unit within the Department of Justice (Vic). The Sentencing Advisory Council regularly undertakes extensive quality control measures for current and historical data. While every effort is made to ensure that the data analysed in this report are accurate, the data are subject to revision.

[4] If a person is sentenced for a case with a single charge, the offence for that charge is the principal offence. If a person is sentenced for more than one charge in a single case, the principal offence is the offence for the charge that attracted the most serious sentence according to the sentencing hierarchy.

[5] Immediate custodial sentence includes imprisonment, youth justice centre order, partially suspended sentences, aggregate partially suspended sentences, custodial supervision orders, and hospital security orders.

[6] Age is as at the time of sentencing. 

[7] Some defendants who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing the alleged offence and who were not 19 years or older at the time proceedings commenced may have been dealt with in the Children’s Court of Victoria.

[8] Refer to endnote 4.

[9] Data presented in this section excludes aggregate terms of imprisonment, as these apply across multiple charges. During the 2008–09 to 2012–13 period, 5 people received an aggregate form of imprisonment.

[10] Of the 680 people who were given a principal sentence of imprisonment, 679 were also given a total effective sentence of imprisonment. There was one person who was given imprisonment as the principal sentence for armed robbery and a partially suspended sentence as a total effective sentence. Five people received an aggregate sentence of imprisonment.

[11] A total of 10 people were not eligible for parole because they were given a total effective sentence length of less than 1 year.

[12] A total of 9 people were not given a non-parole period relating to that case alone, but a non-parole period that also related to other cases. It is not possible to determine the length of the non-parole period that relates to these cases. The non-parole periods for these people are excluded from the analysis. A non-parole period was not set for 4 people who were eligible for a non-parole period.

[13] Appeals data were collected by the Sentencing Advisory Council from transcripts of sentencing remarks of criminal appeals on the Australasian Legal Information Institute’s website (external link opens in a new window).

[14] A 36 year old man was allowed a retrial on some of his charges, including his principal proven offence of armed robbery. He continued to be found guilty of the remaining charges on his presentment.