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Riot is one of the several offences in NSW that pertains to a breach or disturbance of public order. The offence of riot is defined under section 93B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). 'Riot' is a term used to describe a situation where 12 or more individuals are present together, engaging in or threatening unlawful violence. To establish the offence of riot, it is crucial to demonstrate that the group shares a 'common purpose,' and their collective conduct is of such a nature that it causes a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their personal safety. Being charged with riot is an extremely serious matter, and the potential penalties for this offence are significantly, which can understandably lead to distress for those facing such charges. However, you do not have to navigate this challenging situation alone. Our team of expert criminal lawyers is here to provide you with invaluable assistance, advice and support throughout the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your options moving forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the options below to learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Riot.

To be convicted of a riot offence, the prosecution must establish each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The presence of 12 or more individuals together at the scene of the alleged offence.
2. The group’s engagement in or threat of unlawful violence for a ‘common purpose.’
3. The conduct of the entire group caused a reasonable person at the scene to fear for their personal safety.

If you believe that the prosecution will be unable to prove any of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you may choose to plead ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

By opting for a ‘not guilty’ plea, you will have the opportunity to present evidence in court to demonstrate your innocence. For instance, you may seek to establish that there were not 12 individuals present during the alleged incident or that the group did not share a ‘common purpose’ for their actions.

Furthermore, you may seek to rely on a defence to justify your involvement, and if accepted, this could result in a ‘not guilty’ verdict.

Possible defences might include:

  • Duress: By demonstrating that you were coerced or threatened into participating in the riot against your will.
  • Self-Defence: By showing that you engaged in the riot to protect yourself, another person, or your property from harm.
  • Necessity: By asserting that your involvement in the riot was necessary to prevent serious injury or danger.
  • Mistaken Identity:
    You were not present at the riot
    Fewer than 12 people were present
    No violent acts or threats occurred
    Others may have threatened or indulged in violence, but not the accused;
    Each individual acted for his or her own reasons, and not for a common purpose;
    The conduct of the accused and others in the group could not have caused a reasonable person to feel fear.

When facing riot charges, it is crucial to have the representation of our experienced criminal lawyers who possess a proven track record in handling and winning riot cases. Our team can provide invaluable guidance and come up with tailored strategies to best suit the specifics of your case, including the potential use of a valid defence to challenge the charges and seek a just resolution.

When pleading guilty to a riot charge, the court exercises its discretion in determining the appropriate penalties for this offence, which may include:

1. Section 10 Dismissal: The court may dismiss the charge without imposing any further penalties.

2. Conditional Release Order: You are to be placed on a good behaviour bond and adhere to specified conditions imposed by the court.

3. Fine: A monetary penalty may be imposed.

4. Community Correction Order: You are to be placed on a good behaviour bond for a period of time with specified conditions and this may include community service and/or supervision.

5. Intensive Corrections Order: A term of imprisonment be served in the community.

6. Full-time imprisonment

It is crucial to bear in mind that engaging an experienced criminal lawyer with a proven track record of handling and winning riot cases can significantly improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your specific case.

Facing riot charges can be a daunting and complex situation. To comprehend the potential ramifications these charges may have on your life, it is crucial to gain a comprehensive understanding of the offence of riot.

What the Prosecution Must Prove

To be convicted for riot, the prosecution must establish three key elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The presence of 12 or more individuals together.

For an incident to be classified as a riot, there must be at least 12 individuals present at the same place and time.

2. The group engaged in or threatened unlawful violence for a ‘common purpose.’

The group involved in the riot must share a common purpose for their unlawful violence. This common purpose could be related to addressing prior conduct, expressing grievances of advocating for a particular cause.

The prosecution must demonstrate that the group intended to use violence or was aware that their conduct could cause others to fear violence.

Violence encompasses a range of actions leading to damage or injury to individuals or property, as well as conduct that could potentially result in harm, such as throwing objects capable of causing injury, even if no actual injury occurs.

Physical acts, like making threatening movements or gestures, must be evident. Verbal statements alone are insufficient to constitute a riot.

The threatening conduct may occur in either public or private places.

3. The conduct of the entire group would cause an ordinary person at the scene to fear for their personal safety.

The group’s conduct must be significant enough to cause an ordinary person to fear for their safety.

The presence of other individuals is not necessary for an incident to be classified as a riot.

Possible Penalties

According to the law, the maximum penalty for rioting is 2 years imprisonment when dealt with in the Local Court, or 15 years imprisonment if the prosecution chooses to have the case heard in the District Court.

The actual penalty you may receive depends on various factors, including the nature and severity of the violence, the number of individuals involved, any damages or injuries inflicted on individuals or property, as well as your prior criminal record.

Given the complexity and seriousness of riot charges, it is crucial to seek the advice of our experienced criminal lawyers. They can provide tailored advice and guidance based on the particulars of your case, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive a fair and just resolution to the matter.

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