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What happens for a first offence of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery?

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Conspiring to commit armed robbery is a grave crime with significant personal consequences for both perpetrators and victims, and this is just one reason the offence is taken so seriously by the UK courts. Obtaining accurate legal advice is crucial if you or someone you care about is accused of – or is already on trial for – conspiracy to commit armed robbery. This article defines conspiracy to commit armed robbery, provides examples, and details the punishments for this offence. It also explains whether first-time offenders are likely to be imprisoned for armed robbery.

What is the offence of conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the UK?

Conspiracy to commit armed robbery is an agreement between two or more people to commit the offence of robbery. It is not necessary for the robbery to be actually carried out in order for the conspirators to be guilty. The offence of armed robbery itself is found in Section 8(1) of the Theft Act 1968, which states that:

“A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.”

To prove the offence of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • An agreement between two or more people to commit robbery.
  • The intention to commit robbery using force or the threat of force.
  • An overt act by at least one of the conspirators in furtherance of the conspiracy.
  • An overt act could be anything that shows that the conspirators were serious about carrying out the robbery, such as purchasing a weapon, drawing a map of the escape route, or gathering information about the robbery target.

As detailed below, conspiracy to commit armed robbery is a serious offence and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

What are some examples of conspiracy to commit armed robbery offences in the UK?

Here are some examples of conduct that could amount to conspiracy to commit armed robbery:

  • Two people discussing their plans to rob a convenience store at gunpoint.
  • A person buying a gun with the intent of using it in a robbery.
  • A group of people casing a bank and developing a plan to rob it.
  • A person giving another person directions to a specific location where a robbery is to take place.
  • A person providing another person with a weapon to be used in a robbery.

What happens if you are suspected of committing conspiracy to commit armed robbery offences in the UK?

If you are suspected of committing conspiracy to commit armed robbery offences in the UK, you are likely to face legal proceedings that are distinct from those for the actual armed robbery. Here’s an overview of what might happen in such a case:

  • Investigation: As with any criminal case, the police will conduct an investigation into the suspected conspiracy. This may involve gathering evidence, surveillance, interviews, and the examination of communications, such as phone records and messages.
  • Arrest: If there is sufficient evidence to support the suspicion of conspiracy, the police may arrest you and any other individuals involved in the alleged conspiracy. You will be informed of your rights and may be questioned. It is always advisable to seek legal counsel before answering any questions.
  • Charge: Once the investigation is complete, if the authorities believe they have enough evidence, you may be charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery. You will be informed of the charges against you.
  • Court Proceedings: Similar to cases of armed robbery, you will appear in court. A preliminary hearing may be held to address bail conditions, and if bail is denied, you may be kept in custody until your trial.
  • Trial: During the trial, you will have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty to the conspiracy charges. The prosecution will present evidence of the conspiracy, which may include communications, meetings, or other actions that suggest a planned armed robbery. Your defence will present counter arguments and evidence.
  • Sentencing: If you are found guilty of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, the court will determine your sentence. The penalty will depend on the severity of the conspiracy and the potential harm it posed. Sentences can include imprisonment, fines, and other penalties.
  • Appeal: Just like in cases of armed robbery, if you are convicted and believe there were errors in the trial or that you received an unjust sentence, you have the right to appeal the decision.

Conspiracy charges can be complex, as they involve proving that there was an agreement or plan to commit a criminal act, in this case, armed robbery. Because of this complexity, it is essential to have legal representation and to be aware of your rights throughout the legal process. The specific details of your case and the penalties you may face will depend on the evidence presented and the decisions made during the legal proceedings.

What is the sentence for an offence involving conspiracy to commit armed robbery?

The maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the UK is life imprisonment. However, the actual sentence imposed will depend on a number of factors, including the role of the defendant in the conspiracy, the seriousness of the offence, and any aggravating and mitigating factors.

Aggravating factors in conspiracy to commit armed robbery:

  • Use of a weapon or other dangerous object
  • Targeting of a vulnerable victim
  • Planning and sophistication of the conspiracy
  • Financial value of the goods targeted
  • Physical or emotional harm caused to the victim
  • Defendant’s previous criminal record
  • Seriousness of the offence (e.g., robbery of a bank or armoured truck)
  • Role of the defendant in the conspiracy (e.g., organiser, leader, or mastermind)
  • Motivation for the crime (e.g., greed, revenge, or hatred)
  • Lack of remorse or cooperation with the authorities

Mitigating factors in conspiracy to commit armed robbery:

  • Defendant’s age and maturity
  • Defendant’s mental health
  • Defendant’s role in the conspiracy (e.g., minor participant or follower)
  • Defendant’s remorse and cooperation with the authorities
  • Defendant’s lack of prior criminal record
  • Defendant’s actions to prevent the robbery from taking place or to reduce the harm caused

The judge will consider all of the aggravating and mitigating factors in the case before imposing a sentence. Ultimately the judge must be satisfied that the sentence was fair, just, and reasonable in the circumstances, as well as being proportionate to the offender and the offence committed.

Will I go to prison if it is my first time committing an offence involving conspiracy to commit armed robbery?

The likelihood of someone going to prison for the first time committing an offence involving conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the UK depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The role of the defendant in the conspiracy
  • The seriousness of the offence
  • The financial value of the goods targeted
  • Whether or not the robbery actually took place
  • The defendant’s prior criminal record
  • Any aggravating or mitigating factors

In general, conspiracy to commit armed robbery is considered to be a serious crime, and even first-time offenders can face significant penalties. The maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the UK is life imprisonment. However, first-time offenders are more likely to receive a shorter sentence, such as probation or community service.

Here are some examples of factors that could increase the likelihood of a first-time offender going to prison for conspiracy to commit armed robbery:

  • The defendant played a major role in the conspiracy, such as planning the robbery or providing weapons.
  • The robbery was particularly serious, such as if it involved the use of violence or if it resulted in a large financial loss.
  • The defendant has a prior criminal record, especially for violent offences.
  • There are aggravating factors present, such as the defendant targeting a vulnerable victim or showing no remorse for their actions.

Here are some examples of factors that could reduce the likelihood of a first-time offender going to prison for conspiracy to commit armed robbery:

  • The defendant played a minor role in the conspiracy, such as simply providing information or assistance.
  • The robbery was not particularly serious, such as if it involved the theft of a small amount of money or if no violence was used.
  • The defendant has no prior criminal record.
  • There are mitigating factors present, such as the defendant’s age or mental health condition.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to send a first-time offender to prison for conspiracy to commit armed robbery is up to the judge.

Where to get further help

Facing charges for conspiracy to commit armed robbery for the first time can be very frightening, and if you have worries or concerns, you are not alone. The best place to start in building your defence is in consulting an experienced robbery solicitor who can walk you through similar cases and advise on the best options for moving forward. For a free consultation about your options, contact the team at Stuart Miller Solicitors today.

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