What is riot?

Section 93B of the Crimes Act 1900 provides that where 12 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his or her personal safety, is guilty of an offence.

  • Riot is a charge that is similar to that of affray. However, riot requires the participation of at least twelve people at the scene of the riot.
  • It occurs where a group intentionally uses or threatens unlawful violence for a common purpose. The conduct of the group collectively would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety.  However, no person needs to be present at the scene; the violent behaviour can be aimed at property.
  • Any other violent conduct, such throwing an object that falls short of its target, can also attract a charge of riot
  • The twelve or more persons need not use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously. However, each person must use or threaten violence.
  • Riot may be committed in private or public places.

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