Under section 3 Public Order Act 1986, a person is guilty of affray if he uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another and his conduct is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety.
Where two or more persons use or threaten unlawful violence, it is the conduct of them taken together that must be considered. A threat cannot be made by the use of words alone. Affray may be committed in private as well as in a public place.
The maximum penalty on conviction on indictment is 3 years’ imprisonment. On summary conviction the maximum penalty is 6 months’ imprisonment.
Under section 3 of the Public Order Act 1986 it must be proved that a person has used or threatened:
The hypothetical bystander, rather than the complainant, must be put in fear for his or her personal safety. Apart from the hypothetical bystander, there must be present a ‘complainant’ against whom the violence is to be directed.
It is not enough for the prosecution to prove that unlawful violence has been used. There has to be violence of such a kind that a bystander would fear for his or her safety. Where the violence is focused solely and exclusively on the complainant, such that it would be incapable of causing a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his safety, then the offence is not made out.
If you are facing an allegation of affray, then it is essential that you take immediate legal advice from one of our expert Solicitors at SCM Law.
If you would like to discuss anything with us, please get in touch.