Friday, November 9, 2012

There is no offence of "armed robbery"

R. v. Moore, 2012 ONCA 770 points out that the offence of "armed robbery" does not exist. There is robbery and if a firearm is used an enhanced penalty. Similarly murder is murder with differing penalties determining if it is first or second degree:

[6]          The Criminal Code does not, in fact, create an offence of armed robbery. Section 343 of the Criminal Code creates the offence of robbery and describes the four ways in which robbery may be committed.  A count that charges robbery and refers to s. 344, the punishment provision, does not specify a particular mode of committing robbery nor limit the basis upon which the Crown may prove the substantive offence of robbery.

[7]          On the indictment in this case, it was open to the Crown to prove the respondent's guilt of robbery under any definition of that offence in s. 343. To engage the minimum punishment provisions of s. 344 in the circumstances of this case, however, the Crown was required to prove, as a matter of sentence, that the respondent used the firearm in the commission of the robbery within any definition of s. 343. See R. v. D. (A.) (2003), 173 C.C.C. (3d) 177 (B.C.C.A.), at paras. 29-31; and R. v. Watson, 2008 ONCA 614, at paras. 68-72.

[8]          In our view, the trial judge erred in law in acquitting the respondent of robbery, the offence with which he was charged in count 1 of the indictment. The error consisted of requiring proof of the respondent's use of a firearm as an essential element of the offence, thus a condition precedent to a conviction of robbery. It follows that the acquittal of robbery must be set aside.


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