What is Affray?
An affray charge is generally laid by the police when a person is involved in a brawl or fight in a public place. The offence most commonly occurs where a person behaves in a manner in public which would cause others to fear for their safety, however, the offence may also occur in private situations.
Affray is usually considered more serious than common assault and carries heavier penalties. The main difference between assault and affray is that other people fear for their safety.
If you are charged with affray, you will have to go to Court. If convicted by the Court, you will have a criminal record, and you may face imprisonment. The offence of affray carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and 10 years imprisonment in the District Court.
A lawyer experienced in affray and public violence offences may be able to persuade the Courts not to record a conviction against you and have the matter dealt with by way of a “section 10” or a non-conviction Conditional Release Order.
What are the elements of Affray?
To prove affray, the prosecution must show beyond reasonable doubt that –
- A person used or threatened to use unlawful violence toward another person, and
- That this person intended to use, or intended to threaten to use violence, and
- The actions would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety, and
- The person did so without lawful excuse.
It is worth noting that a person of reasonable firmness need not necessarily be present at the scene and that a threat cannot be made by the use of words alone.
What are some examples of Affray?
Examples of “Affray & Public Violence” include -
- Road rage
- Fighting inside a pub or bar
- Threatening to punch another person in public
- Participating in a violent public demonstration
The actions of the person being sentenced and the behaviour of any co-offender will both be considered when determining an appropriate sentence for an affray charge.
What is Violent Disorder?
Violent disorder offences involve a group of 3 or more people together who use or threaten unlawful violence that would cause a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their personal safety. A maximum penalty or 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,100 can be imposed for this offence.
Are Affray and Riot the same?
No. The offence of riot occurs where 12 or more persons are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and their conduct (as a group) is such that it would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety, each of the persons using unlawful violence for the common purpose is guilty of riot and liable to imprisonment for 15 years.
We are here to help
Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience defending clients on the Central Coast facing affray and public disorder charges in Court. If you have been charged with affray and the police invite you to participate in a record of interview you should exercise your “right to silence” and call us immediately.
Your lawyer can explain and guide you through the entire Court process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence.
If a section 10 or a non-coviction Conditional Release Order is not appropriate, our affray and public disorder lawyers can help reduce any penalties, minimise any fines you may face and help you avoid or minimise a gaol term.
Contact our Central Coast Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building the strongest case possible, the higher your chance of getting the best outcome.
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Had the most amazing experience with Fourtree Lawyers kevin vierboom who represented my partner was helpful and understanding and we got a great result better then expected ? jane hogan, I was so blessed to have her by my side. They are an amazing team and i would recommend them to everyone also great value for money. Especially considering i only called the morning of the court case and they were all over it at my bek and call thankyou so much guys im so appreciative for all your help today
I was lucky enough to have Kevin take my case and am truly grateful for the services he and his team provided. From the outset, I was made to feel comfortable and knew from the first time meeting with them that they would go above and beyond to get the best possible outcome and that is exactly what they did. Fourtree Lawyers provides exceptional service with outstanding results and I would recommend Kevin to anyone and everyone who is in need of these services.
Affray, 2 x Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm T2 | Gosford Local Court
Our client, a 24-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast with his partner, was charged with affray and 2 counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm T2. The maximum penalties for these offences are 10 years imprisonment and 5 years imprisonment respectively. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom conducted negotiations with the police to obtain agreed facts in this matter. Mr. Vierboom made extensive submissions to the Court with regard to whether or not the conduct by our client was unlawful in the circumstances of this case. Following consideration of these submissions, the Magistrate formed the view that our client’s conduct was indeed not unlawful in the circumstances. The Magistrate dismissed the matter and our client was free to go. Our client was extremely grateful for the outcome of this case.
12-month Community Correction Order | Affray & Destroy or damage property | Wyong Local Court
Our client is a 19-year-old male who lives with his girlfriend on the Central Coast. Our client is working full time as a tradesman in Newcastle and Coffs Harbour.
Our client had a disagreement with his girlfriend on the morning of the offence. Several hours later, our client sought to resolve the issue and drove over to see her. On arrival at the house, our client and his girlfriend went for a walk to talk through their issues. During the conversation our client became agitated. The occupants of the house saw this and began to scream and shout at our client. Our client punched a fence in frustration, resulting in damage to the fence. A shouting match followed, and Police arrived soon after at the request of a local resident. On Police arrival, our client was charged with Affray and Destroy or Damage Property.
Solicitor Erin Nulty attended Court and made submissions in mitigation of the penalty, focusing on our client’s young age and lack of criminal record. The Magistrate accounted for these factors and convicted and sentenced our client to 12-month Community Corrections Order.
Our client was pleased with the result, especially given the maximum penalties for Affray include 10 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.
12-month CCO | Affray | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 26-year-old male. He lives with his partner in Gosford and supports her financially as she studies full-time.
During an evening at a nightclub on the Central Coast, our client got into a verbal altercation with the co-accused. Both parties were heavily intoxicated at the time and upon leaving the venue they continued their verbal taunts at each other. The tension escalated and resulted in a violent wrestle which took place on a public roadway. The fight ended with the Police using Capsicum spray on both parties.
Our client was charged with affray, the maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment in the District Court and a fine of $11,000.
Solicitor Denise McCarthy attended Gosford Local Court and made submissions in mitigation of the penalty. Our client was convicted and received a 12-month Community Corrections Order with no fine.
Considering the heavy potential penalties, this was a fantastic result. Our client was very pleased with the outcome.
Appeal Allowed | Affray and destroy or damage property | Gosford District Court
Our client, a 47-year-old Central Coast man, was charged with affray and destroy or damage property. The maximum penalties for these offences are ten years imprisonment and 5 years imprisonment respectively. Our client served his Country overseas with the Australian Army. He was discharged from the army with PTSD. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom initially made a section 32 Application pursuant to the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990. The Magistrate was of the view that a section 32 was not appropriate for the offences before the court, convicted our client and ordered a Good Behaviour Bond for a term of 2 years pursuant to section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
Our client instructed us to appeal the sentence handed down in the Local Court on the basis of severity. On appeal to the Gosford District Court, Mr Vierboom made further submissions. Following consideration of these submissions, the Judge upheld the appeal and ordered a section 10(1)(b) Good Behaviour Bond for 2 years without proceeding to conviction on the condition that our client is of good behaviour for the term of the bond and continues professional counselling and medical treatment.
Our client was relieved to regain his unblemished record.
12 month Community Correction Order | Affray and Common Assault | Gosford District Court
Our client is a 45-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast with his wife and 2 sons. He works in maintenance for a large company in Sydney.
On the day of the offence, our client attended a licensed premise for a birthday dinner with his family. Also at the venue was a rugby team that had been drinking for a large part of that day. One of the members of the rugby team made a false accusation directed at our client’s son. The provocation escalated and an altercation took place. A number of patrons became embroiled in the incident which lasted several minutes before all patrons were asked by security to leave the premises. The entire event was captured on CCTV. Our client was charged with Affray and Common Assault.
Prior to entering a plea, representations were made to the Police in relation to the Common Assault charge. After consideration of the evidence presented, the Common Assault charge was withdrawn by the Police and a guilty plea was entered to the charge of Affray.
Our client attended Gosford Local Court and was represented by our Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom. Our client pleaded guilty to the offence and submissions were made in mitigation of his sentence. The Magistrate convicted our client and sentenced him to a 12-month Community Corrections Order with no fine, which requires him to be of good behaviour and no fine
This was a great result considering the maximum penalty for Affray is 10 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.
Affray | $900 fine | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 19-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast and works as a cook.
On a night out in Terrigal with some friends, our client became involved in an incident which was captured on CCTV footage. He was arrested and charged with Affray.
The maximum penalties for Affray are 10 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.
At the Police station, our client was advised by one of the officers that he should plead guilty or the CCTV footage would be shown, and he may face further charges. Having never been in trouble before our client trusted to Police to give him the right advice and went to Court on his own and entered a plea of guilty. The Magistrate was very concerned that our client was unrepresented due to the seriousness of the charges and suggested that our client seek legal advice.
Our client came to see us the next day and after review of the case it became clear that the Police facts were greatly exaggerated, and an application was made to uplift the guilty plea.
This allowed our solicitor the enter negotiations with the Police to have the facts downgraded to reflect the correct version of the what happened on the night. It was apparent from the CCTV footage that our client was involved in the incident but not to the extent outlined in the original Police version.
After successful negotiations, a revised set of facts were drafted and a guilty plea was entered. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions as to our client’s version of the events on the night, his unblemished record, his plans for travel and further education and his previous good character. The Magistrate ordered a $900 fine with no bond or further conditions.
Our client attended a Hotel in Woy Woy with two friends. Just before closing time, our client saw his friend being assaulted. Our client pulled the other male away from his friend and they began to walk towards the Hotel exit. While in the foyer, words were exchanged between the parties. Our client punched the male who had assaulted his friend. The incident lasted about 1 minute and our client left the hotel with his friends. Police were called, CCTV footage confirmed the incident and our client was charged with Affray.
Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions which focused on our client’s clean criminal record, stable employment and family situation and addressed on medical issues related to an assault he suffered some 12 years prior which required brain surgery.
The Magistrate imposed a 2-year Conditional Release Order with no conviction.
Affray carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment. Our client was elated to receive a Conditional Release Order without conviction.
Robbery in Company, Assault Occasioning ABH in Company, Larceny, Affray | Client Released on ICO | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 27-year-old male. He was in custody on remand charged with Robbery in Company, Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, Larceny and Affray after an altercation between two groups of males broke out in a park one evening.
The maximum penalty for the offence of Robbery in Company is 20 years imprisonment, the maximum penalty for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm in Company is 7 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty for Larceny is a fine of $5,500 and/or 12 months imprisonment, and the offence of Affray carries the maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom negotiated to have the proceedings kept in the Local Court where the maximum term of imprisonment is capped at 2 years. He made Representations to NSW Police resulting in one of the charges being withdrawn. The Magistrate imposed a $200 fine for the offence of Larceny and ordered that the client be immediately released from custody under an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO) in satisfaction of the remaining offences.
Our client was extremely grateful to have his matter resolved and to be released from custody to return home to his family.
Affray, ABH, Common Assault, Behave in an offensive manner| Intensive Corrections Order | Newcastle Local Court
Our client is a 30-year-old male who lives with his father and acts as his primary caregiver.
Our client entered an independent grocery store intoxicated and had an argument with a group of young persons whom he chased from the store. He then had an altercation with a staff member and a bystander. Our client was stopped by police after leaving the location and he was charged with Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, Common Assault, Behave in Offensive Manner and Affray.
In the Local Court the maximum penalty for ABH and Common Assault is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500. For Behave in Offensive Manner the max. penalty is 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $660 and for Affray the max penalty is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine $11,000.
After an initial adjournment for a sentencing assessment report, solicitor Erin Nulty attended Newcastle Court and made extensive written and oral submissions to the Magistrate. After considering the submissions and supporting documents the Magistrate sentenced our client to a 24-month term of imprisonment to be served by way of Intensive Corrections Order for the ABH and Affray. The other two charges were dismissed.
Our client was overwhelmed with the outcome as he had a very real chance of going to jail. He has taken steps to begin dealing with his alcohol issues.