n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Examining the expanding crime of robbery

Volume 25, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



Robbery is both an extremely broad and an extremely serious crime. Setting the boundaries of this crime is therefore a very significant concern, in order that only those deserving of the stigma and potentially heavier sentence that a robbery conviction entails should be caught in the net of liability for this crime. In particular, it is necessary to distinguish between conduct which will constitute robbery, and conduct which will merely give rise to a conviction of the crimes of which robbery comprises, theft and assault. The recent development whereby the bag snatcher (and cellphone snatcher) has been included in the ambit of the robbery crime (based on the authority of the dictum in 1978 (2) SA 412 (A)) is considered. It is ultimately concluded that this development is not unconstitutional, and is consistent with the structure and function of the crime.

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