Violent disorder
Violent disorder

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Violent disorder
  • The offence of violent disorder
  • Elements of the offence of violent disorder
  • Three or more persons using or threatening unlawful violence
  • 'Use or threaten unlawful violence'
  • Intention to use or threaten unlawful violence
  • Person of reasonable firmness
  • Place of commission of the offence
  • Defences to a charge of violent disorder
  • Self-defence and related defences
  • More...

The offence of violent disorder

Violent disorder can be tried in the magistrates' court or the Crown Court. These offences will normally be dealt with in the Crown Court. However, there may be cases involving minor violence or threats of violence leading to no or minor injury, with few people involved and no weapon or missiles, where the magistrates’ court can accept jurisdiction because its sentencing powers are sufficient.

Elements of the offence of violent disorder

The prosecution must prove:

  1. three or more persons present together

  2. use or threaten unlawful violence

  3. intend to do so, and

  4. the conduct of them taken together is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety

Three or more persons using or threatening unlawful violence

The Public Order Act 1986 (POA 1986) stipulates that it is immaterial whether or not the three or more people present together use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously. But it is essential that the prosecution prove that three or more people were present together and using or threatening unlawful violence.

It is not necessary that an indictment or charge identifies every potential participant.

In R v Mahroof (1988) 88 Cr App R 317 (not reported by LexisNexis®), the Court of Appeal held that where other persons not before the jury could make up the numbers to three,

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