The offence of violent disorder is one of the most serious criminal offences involving public disorder. The offence is defined in Section 2 of the Public Order 1986.
If you are accused of violent disorder, the Prosecution must prove that:
- You were in a group of 3 or more people,
- That the group was using or threatening unlawful violence against people or property, and
- The conduct of the group (taken as a whole) would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety.
Unlike the offence of riot, there is no need for the group to have a common purpose for the offence to be proven. Even if there are more than 12 people involved in a disturbance, it is more likely that an incident would be classed as a violent disorder than as a riot.
Violent disorder is an either way offence, which means that technically it can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. However, the offence is so serious that usually the sentence would be too great for the maximum 6 months that could be imposed by the Magistrates Court. Practically all violent disorder allegations are heard by the Crown Court, where sentences of up to 5 years imprisonment can be imposed.
If you are accused of being involved in a violent disorder, it is crucial that you have expert advice from a specialist criminal defence lawyer. Contact us to see if we can help you find an experienced solicitor or barrister for your case.
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