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Affray

This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article.  It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem. 

What is Affray?

Generally speaking, the act of “Affray” relates to fighting or violent acts that occur in public or private places causing alarm to others in the public community and disturbing the peace. The act of Affray can be satisfied if the conduct of the defendant was such as to make a reasonable person fear for their safety. Affray can include acts such as, but not limited to, making loud threats, rioting, yelling loudly and fighting loudly and getting into group fights in front of others.

The Law:-

Section 72 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 states;

(1) Any person who takes part in a fight in a public place, or takes part in a fight of such a nature as to alarm the public in any other place to which the public have access, commits a misdemeanour.

Penalty—

Maximum penalty—1 year’s imprisonment.

Elements of the Offence:-

It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed the offence.  Every charge has a number of elements that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  For the charge of Affray the Prosecution must prove;

  1. Defendant – The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender;
  2. Used or threatened to use violence;
  3. That the violence used or threatened was likely to cause alarm to the public.

Penalty for Common Assault:-

The maximum penalty that a person can receive for the offence of Affray is 1 year.

Convictions:-

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of an Affray offence, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time);
  • Intensive Corrections Order;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service Order;
  • Fines.

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.

Possible Defences:-

There are a number of defences available to charges at law.  Not every defence is available to every charge.  You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge.  Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are;

  • Necessity;
  • Mistake of Fact;
  • Public Safety;
  • Self Defence or defence of another person;
  • Intoxication;
  • Provocation;
  • Accident;
  • Duress;
  • Compulsion;
  • Insanity;
  • Automatism

Which Court will your matter be heard in?

The charge of Affray will be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland.  The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty.  There is no jury in the Magistrates Court.

What should I do if the police want to speak to me about an Affray allegation or if I am charged with an Affray offence?

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer.

Call an Expert

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court. Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.

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