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By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
Two boys in their teens have been charged over an alleged armed robbery of an EzyMart convenience store in Bondi Junction in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, which took place last month.
According to a statement released by NSW Police Force, just before 3am on 17 June 2020, officers attached to Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command were informed of two young men entering the store on Oxford Street who proceeded to threaten the employee working at the time with weapons.
In the CCTV footage of the armed robbery which was released by police, the young boys can be seen wielding their weapons in a hostile manner before the store employee.
The teenagers, aged 15 and 16, managed to obtain cash from the attendant, then absconded east along Oxford Street.
The male employee did not sustain any injuries, while Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command quickly initiated an investigation into the incident and began a search for the men.
Police believe the boys were potentially casing the area before they went in.
Days later, in the morning of 19 June, the two teenage boys were stopped and searched in Bondi Junction.
Police allege the 15-year-old boy was found to have a bread knife in his possession.
Following further inquiries and the search of a home unit on Edgecliff Road in Edgecliff, a kitchen knife was also found.
Both weapons were seized for further investigations.
Teenagers Taken to Waverly Police Station; Charged with Robbery in Company
Following the discovery of the weapons, the boys were taken to Waverley Police Station where they were charged.
The 15-year-old boy was charged with robbery in company, and possession of a prohibited drug.
The 16-year-old boy was also charged with robbery in company.
They were denied bail and given a court attendance at a Children’s Court.
Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command Spokesperson says Armed Robbery “Completely Out of Character” for Bondi Junction Area
Following the incident, an Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command spokesperson addressed the media, saying the armed robbery was a “concerning crime” for the Bondi Junction neighbourhood, particularly with the level of threats and violence used.
“In this area, it’s not something we see,” the Detective Inspector told 7News.
“It’s completely out of character for the area, it’s completely out of character for anything we’ve seen in this area at all.
The Detective Inspector also commented the attendant said he works there regularly and has never encountered such an incident.
“Bondi Junction is not a place where you’d be expecting this,” the Detective Inspector went on to say.
“Bondi Junction is busy at any time of the day, the night, there’s often people around.”
Incidence of Robbery the Suburb of Bondi Junction
The suburb of Bondi Junction is considered a major shopping and transit hub for Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
It is frequented by thousands of locals and tourists, and features an abundance of restaurants, nightlife options, banks, grocery stores and fitness facilities.
It is known to have a low violent crime rate and a below average property crime rate for Sydney.
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, from April 2019 to March 2020, robbery incidents in the suburb of Bondi Junction show a low NSW rate per 100,000 population at 31 incidents.
With specific reference to incidents of robbery on retail/wholesale premises from April 2019 to March 2020, the NSW rate per 100,000 population was at 5.3 incidents.
Robbery being armed or in company attracts up to twenty-years imprisonment under section 97(1) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
The offence of armed robbery in company is considered a very serious crime. So serious that the law generally requires a court to impose Full Time Imprisonment except if the case has ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Being in company simply means that other people were also present at the time.
In the event a Judge does find a case to have ‘exceptional circumstances’, the Judge can then sentence an offender to an alternative to Full-Time Imprisonment, namely Intensive Correction Order (ICO). ‘Exceptional circumstances’ can be made up from a combination of factors, such as young age, and where there are great prospects of rehabilitation for the offender, for example.
Armed robbery type of cases that appear before the courts for sentencing also require courts to be mindful of the Henry Guideline judgement, which expresses the general rule that courts should impose a sentence of between 4 to 5 years imprisonment if the case fits within a common situation.
Common defences to the charge of armed robbery include maintaining that you are innocent if you did not carry out the act, maintaining that you did not have intention to steal the item, arguing that you were not in possession of a weapon, self-defence or necessity was the motive of your conduct.
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