What is violent disorder?

Section 11A of the Summary Offences Act 1988 provides that if THREE or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence, and the conduct of them is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his or her personal safety, each of the persons using or threatening unlawful violence is guilty of an offence.

  • Violent disorder is a charge that is similar to that of affray. However, violent disorder requires the participation of at least three people.
  • It occurs where a group intentionally uses or threatens unlawful violence, or is aware that their conduct may be violent, or threaten violence in a way that 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 violent disorder.
  • The three (or more) persons need not use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously. However, each person must use or threaten violence.
  • Violent disorder may be committed in private or public places.

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