Violent Disorder

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tony_walsh2011 | 22:30 Sat 23rd Apr 2011 | Criminal
19 Answers
A relative of mine recently was arrested and charged to attend court for Violent Disorder. He apparently kicked and smashed a front door of a building and then carried onto hit it with a wooden stick causing damage to the enterance. Nobody was targeted,injured or threatened in the occurance just damage to the building itself.
My question is what is the likely outcome to this charge if pleaded guilty and/or found guilty. And is there a chance this crime could be brought down to the lesser offence of 'affray'?
Any answers would be deeply appreciated.


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Charging is a metter for the CPS and the full facts would determine the charge laid. There is always a possibility that the charge would be reduced, especially if the lesser charge would encourage a guilty plea.

If the charge of violent disorder is maintained this is a serious offence under Section 2 of the Public Order Act. It carries a maximum penalty of five years custody and Magistrates’ sentencing guidelines suggest that the matter should usually be heard in the Crown Court, which indicates that the Magistrates’ maximum of six months’ custody is generally insufficient.
Hi Tony

As New Judge has stated violent Disorder is a serious offence. The acts you have described are more consistant with the offences of criminal damage, are there further surrounding facts to this case?.
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Question Author
exdc- the incedent was at a large demonstration which is why i believe they are pushing for violent disorder charges rather than criminal damage. I know the law is the law but i dont see how somebody who used violence against property and not against another person leads to the same punishment. thanks for the answers anymore info would be appreciated.
Hi Eddie

Affray used to have involved two or more persons but not now.

Violent disorder involves three or more persons hence my initial question to the poster.
Hi Tony

I thought it would be during a demo and violent disorderis the appropriate charge here. I will try and find a link detailing the offence so you can see how it fits etc.
Question Author
ok i see. So to be charged with violent disorder you dont have to of actually harmed or intended to harm another person?
Just for your info, if it were a large demo then technically you have an offence of 'Riot' (Sec 1 of the Public Order Offence), but this is rarely charged for numerous reasons.
Question Author
ok. The only thing i can see in the act that may not fit with my relatives charge is:
'If 3 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence and the conduct'.
Of course at the demonstration there where lots of people but if the accused person went to the demonstration alone and didnt actually know or meet up with anybody there but may have attacked property but not with companions would this still stand? Sorry im not sure if this has made full sense....
Hi Tony

We would then look at Case Law for guidance
Whilst three or more persons must have been present and used or threatened unlawful violence, it is not necessary that three or more persons should actually be charged and prosecuted: (R v Mahroof (1988) 88 Cr App R 317) (R v Fleming & Robinson (1989) 153 JP 517). The charge must make clear, however, that the defendant was one of the three or more involved in the commission of the offence.

The expression "present together" does not require any degree of co-operation between those who are using or threatening violence; all that is required is that they be present in the same place at the same time, R v NW, CA, 3 March 2010.
Question Author
yeah i understand now. Also with your experience on this subject would you think that a lighter sentence would be given if the violence was not against another person?
I would say both are considerd serious in these circ's.

Is your relative legally represented and has any consideration been given to how he / she will plead?. (there are sentecing discounts for early plea's).
Early guilty pleas's that is
Question Author
I am not totally sure on what actually happened i'v just being told the rough story and the charges. And im really trying to find out a rough idea of what the charges will be if found guilty or like you said pleads guilty wether true or not.....The magistrates court is dealing with the case is this positive or negative on the final sentencing? Or does it not really make a difference?
Hi Tony

There are advantages and disadvantages regarding the jurisdiction of advocacy. A lot of people would advise that one advantage of Mags court is that they can only give a max custodial sentence of six months, which is true, but if the Magistrates believe a six month sentence is insufficient then they send the case to Crown Court for sentencing anyway.

I don't like to predict any sentencing as it has beome far too inconsistant nowadays, however, several years ago you could expect a min 1 yr custody if convicted of Violent Disorder. (this is not meant to cause you worry and remember you have to be convicted before any sentence is passed).
Question Author
ok. thanks alot for your time and help!
Your welcome.

Hopefully one of regular members will post the sentencing guidelines for violent disorder and affray etc as i can not seem to find any current ones. (sorry).

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