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Supreme Court - Case Senario 2

Case Scenario Supreme Court



At about 9.00 pm on Saturday 10 June 2002, a male employee was working at the Central Newsagency in Hobart Road, Kings Meadows. There were no customers in the shop at the time. Another employee was out the back having a coffee break.

A female wearing a balaclava, red jumper and blue jeans entered the premises. She held up a blood filled syringe and demanded money from the till. She said "If you don't give me the money right now, I will stick this into you."

The male employee responded by saying "Go away or I will call the police." The female then approached him waving the syringe in the vicinity of his left arm. Fearing that he would be harmed, the employee emptied the contents of the till into a brown paper bag and gave it to the female. She ran out of the store and was seen running down Hobart Road.

The male employee called the Police. The Police located a female fitting the description in Betty's Café nearby. She had approx $600 on her person which could not be accounted for. She gave her name as Cherie Ann Brown. She was interviewed on video at the Launceston Police Station where she admitted to her involvement in the incident.

She stated that she needed the money for drugs. She also said she needed new shoes for her 6 year old son. She said she had no intention of harming anyone with the syringe but felt that it was a good weapon to use as people are "real scared of being infected." All but $10 of the money stolen was recovered.

The Defendant was charged and bailed to reside with her mother at West Launceston.


1989 Stealing - S234 Criminal Code. No conviction recorded

1993 Stealing – S234 Criminal Code Conviction recorded.

1998 Possession of Prohibited Substance. Conviction Recorded $100 fine

2001 Stealing - S234 Criminal Code. Conviction recorded with a good behaviour bond for 2 years.

(Current until November 2003)


Cherie is the fifth child of a family of nine siblings. Her father was an alcoholic who abandoned his family when Cherie was nine. She has not seen him since. Her mother put her into foster care when she was ten years old. She had twelve different foster homes and four different schools between the age of ten and sixteen. She was a poor scholar. She started using drugs and abusing alcohol when she was 17 and lived on the streets at that time. She was sexually abused by a group of youths in a park when she was 18. She has never been employed. She has had several relationships over the years. Her son, Ricky was born when she was living with a known criminal, who is currently in prison for wounding. At present she lives with her son in a Housing Commission home in Mowbray.


Prevalence of robberies of small businesses.

Is a deterrent sentence needed?

She is a mother of a young son.

Rehabilitation - Is detention the most appropriate way to deal with this offence?

Supreme Court Plan

Supreme Court plan

Judges Bench

Judge's Bench

This is where the judge sits. The proper way to address a judge of the Supreme Court is "Judge". If you want to speak to a judge you say "Good morning Judge" or "Excuse me Judge" or, if you are in court you say "Your Honour"…"If Your Honour please…" or "Your Honour I submit this".

Judeges associate and attendant

Judeges associate and attendant

The Associate is the person who runs the court, organises for the lawyers to be there at the right time, organises the court list and keeps all the court records. The Judge’s Associate is usually a young lawyer who is fresh out of law school, newly graduated and seeking experience in the court. The Judge’s Attendant is the person who swears in the witnesses, makes sure the jurors are in the right place, gets books and provides general assistance to the Judge as necessary.

Witness Box

Witness Box

Witnesses sit near to the Judge but separately from the bar table. The Witness Box is elevated so that witnesses can be seen and heard by all in the court.

Jury box

Jury box

The jury box seats twelve – in Tasmania as in all states of Australia criminal issues are tried by twelve jurors. The jury sit there to hear charges, evidence and pleas. They adjourn to the separate jury room to deliberate. If the accused is found guilty a plea in mitigation is conducted and then the Judge decides the sentence.

Defence counsel

Defence Counsel

The defence sits at the bar table, traditionally on the Judge’s right.

Crown Prosecutor

Crown Prosecutor

The crown prosecutor sits at the bar table, traditionally on the Judge’s left.

Dock Defendant

Dock Defendant

This is where the accused sits. Sometimes there is more than one accused and the dock has 5 seats. The accused is always accompanied by the Officer in charge or the Jailor, whose job it is to make sure the accused remains under effective control.

Door Holding Cells

Door Holding Cells

Through this door is the way to the cells, which are located behind the courtroom. The accommodation is very basic. While waiting to be called up the accused is escorted to a secure waiting area just outside this door.

Supreme group worksheet

Supreme group worksheet

1 What crime have been committed?

see Indictment

2 What is the penalty range for each offence?

See relevant legislation

3 what should the sentence be?

Part 1 for discussion within your group

A factors to take into account

  • Issues listed in scenario
  • Circumstances of the crime
  • Victim impact
  • Personal Circumstances of the Defendant
  • Character of the Defendant
  • Remorse (if any) shown by Defendant
  • Financial Circumstances of the Defendant (relevant to capacity to pay fine)
  • Prior convictions

B Sentencing options

  • Suspended sentence – wholly or partly
  • Community service order up to 240 hours
  • Probation order – can add special conditions
  • Fine
  • Adjourn for up to 5 years & release on undertaking to be of good behaviour with conditions
  • Record a conviction and discharge offender
  • Dismiss charge

Part 2 for presentation

Group Color:

A sentencing decision (only write final decision on paper)

  • *Imprisonment for ...........................months/ years
  • Wholly / partly suspended for .........months/ years
  • Community service order for ............hours
  • Driving disqualification for.................months/ years
  • Probation order for ..........................months/ years

Specify any speical conditions

Fine for $.............. at the rate of $.............per fortnight

Adjourn for .............. months & release on undertaking to be of good behaviour with conditions –

  • Discharge offender
  • Dismiss charge

B why (3 Main reasons)

C. *Non-Parole Period (only relevant to imprisonment)

Yes for ....................months/years







This                 day of              2015.

MICHAEL TERRENCE PHIBBS Esquire Crown Law Officer on behalf of Her Majesty charges CHERIE ANN BROWN with -


ARMED ROBBERY – Contrary to Section 240 (3) of the Criminal Code.


CHERIE ANNE BROWN at Kings Meadows in Tasmania on the 10th day of June, 2014 stole $600.00 from Gary Black and at that time was armed with an offensive weapon, namely a blood filled syringe.

(Sgd) Michael Terrence Phibbs

Filed in the Supreme Court of Tasmania
this                 day of                 2015.


Legislation - Crime

Legislation - Crime


Armed Robbery

Criminal Code Act 1924 ("Criminal Code")

Robbery, &c.
240. (1) A person who steals anything and, immediately before, at, or immediately after the time of stealing that thing, uses or threatens to use violence to any person or property in order to obtain that thing or to prevent or overcome resistance to the stealing of that thing is guilty of a crime which is called robbery.


(3) A person who commits robbery and is armed with a firearm or other dangerous or offensive weapon or instrument at the time of committing that robbery is guilty of a crime which is called armed robbery.

Armed robbery.

Chapter XLIII - Punishments

(3) Subject to the provisions of the Sentencing Act 1997 or of any other statute, and except where otherwise expressly provided, the punishment for any crime shall be by imprisonment for 21 years, or by fine, or by both such punishments, and shall be such as the judge of the court of trial shall think fit in the circumstances of each particular case.

Victim Impact Statement

Victim Impact Statement

Re: Cherie Ann Brown
From: Gary Short Black

I work at the Central Newsagency in Hobart Road, Kings Meadows. I am employed on a permanent basis and work from 2 to 10 pm Saturday to Thursday. On Saturday 10 June 2014 I started work as usual at 2 pm. My mate Andrew was also working that day. We started the day off normally by sorting the previous day's papers, sorting the display and leaving the excess papers out the back for the driver. We had been really busy all afternoon. Andrew had been on a drinking binge the night before and decided that he needed something to eat. He headed out the back to the tea room and left me in charge of the shop. It was about 9 pm, I think.
I was tidying up behind the front counter when a female customer entered the shop. I didn't really notice what she was wearing, but when she came closer to the counter I noticed she had a balaclava on her head. I remember wondering what she was up to. The closer she came I could see she had a blood-filled syringe in her hand. She demanded that I empty the till and hand her all the money. I opened the till and as I was very nervous I fumbled with the cash tray.
She threatened to stick the needle into me if I didn't hurry. I put all the money in a brown paper bag and gave it to her. She left the shop. I was so frightened, I couldn't stand up, and my legs just wouldn't hold me.
Andrew came from out the back after hearing me fall over. He came over and wondered what on earth was wrong. I was as white as a sheet and the till was open and the cash drawer minus the cash was on the floor. I remember him asking what had happened. All I could say was, "Call the cops, we've been robbed."
The rest of the evening passed in a blur. The police wanted to know what had happened.  I had to explain it also to my boss. They wanted to know if I knew the person who took the money. They wanted to know if I had set the whole thing up. I hadn't, I was the innocent one here.
I still have nightmares about that day. I didn't work for a few weeks, I was just too frightened. I wasn't paid for that time, but have since returned to work. I won't stay in the shop by myself and I always jump when the bell rings confirming that the front door has opened. I live in fear that someone else will come and rob the shop.
I don't know if the blood in the syringe was HIV positive, but I have nightmares that the blood was splattered all over me and I died a long and painful death. None of this was my fault I was just doing my job and earning some money to keep my family.
I know that I am different at home now. I have two little girls. I won't let them go anywhere unless either my wife or I are with them. I won't answer the front door at home. All my friends know to come around the back; I won't open the front door any more. My wife has had the hardest time. I yell at her when I can't cope with what is happening and I know I am really mean to her. I can't help it I am still so frightened.
I am getting some help and hope that I will be better soon. It has been nine months already. I think I am making progress. I have been warned that it will take a while and I may never forget what happened.

Judge's Decision

The Judge's Decision

Alright, stand up Cherie Ann Brown.

Cherie Ann Brown you are sentenced upon your own plea to one count of armed robbery.
Shortly stated the facts are that at 9:00 pm on Saturday the 10th of June last year you entered a newsagency in King's Meadows. A male employee was the only occupant of the shop at the time. You were wearing a balaclava. You were carrying a blood-filled syringe and you used it to threaten the shop assistant, as you demanded money.

At first he refused to do so, but you approached him waving the syringe and in fear of being stabbed with it he emptied the contents of the till into a plastic bag and gave it to you.
You made good your escape with about six hundred dollars. You were apprehended a short while after the robbery at a nearby café and taken into custody.

You told the police you needed the money to buy drugs and also to buy shoes for your son who is six years old.

You have had an appalling upbringing due to no fault of your own. You are now 28 years old and cannot be described any longer as a youthful offender.

From about the age of 17 you've been addicted to drugs, and although you may have well have needed money for your son's shoes, I'm satisfied that the reason you committed this crime was to get money to buy drugs. That is no circumstance of mitigation.

Your criminal conduct had a devastating effect on the young shop assistant who still suffers from nightmares.

Although you've not been to prison before, you have three prior convictions for stealing and one for possession of a prohibited substance.

This crime was committed in breach of a condition you be of good behaviour for a period of two years.

Regrettably crimes like this are all too prevalent. Often the targets are small businesses like this one and penalty has to act, not only to punish the offender, but also to send a clear message that crimes like this to feed drug habits will be severely dealt with.

Your prospects for rehabilitation are not all that good, but all hope should not be abandoned and I take into account in your favour that you cooperated with the police and entered an early plea of guilty.

The orders of the court are a conviction and a sentence of eighteen months imprisonment. There will be a further order that the last six months of that sentence be suspended upon condition you be of good behaviour for a period of two years from this day.

Take her down.

Thankyou and credits

Thankyou and Credits

You be the Judge - Senetencing Law in Tasmania web site and accompanying video were produced by Roar Film on behalf of the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania with funding from the Law Foundation of Tasmania.

The Sentencing Workshop is a joint initiative of:

  • Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania;
  • Crime Prevention and Community Safety Council;
  • Neighbourhood Watch Tasmania; and
  • Department of Justice and Industrial Relations

Special thanks to:
Hon Justice Peter Underwood
Chief Magistrate Arnold Shott
Deputy Chief Magistrate Michael Hill
Constable Jayson Taws
Evan Hughes
Lang Goodsell
Peter Sherriff
Dale Chen

Sentencing Workshop team:
Sandra Lovell
Anne Askford
Wendy Heatley
Eve Murray
Jim Connolly
Inspector Craig Waterhouse
Ian Ritchard



The information contained on The Sentencing Law in Tasmania website is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem you should talk to a lawyer before making a decision about what to do. The information on this website is written for people resident in, or affected by, the laws of Tasmania, Australia only.



This site is designed to work as part of a staged workshop together with the video You be the Judge: Sentencing Law in Tasmania. On the video you'll find mock case scenarios based on two real examples of cases and sentences in the Magistrates Court and Supreme Court of Tasmania. People's names and other details have been changed to protect privacy.
Sentencing is a discretionary exercise. This website presents the information needed to analyse the two pleas in mitigation presented in the video and make your own determination on the sentence that each defendant should receive, before hearing the sentences as determined on the day of the workshop by a real Magistrate and Judge.

Each main section of this web site - General Sentencing Principles, Magistrates Court and Supreme Court - has the option to download a PDF document which brings together the papers and worksheets used in the workshop.

If you or your school / community organisation would like to borrow a video at no cost or have any queries about using this website and/or the video please contact:

Telephone Legal Advice Service
Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania
Ph. 1300 366 611 (local call cost within Tasmania)
9am-5pm Mon-Fri