What the law says about Riot and Unlawful Assembly
Sections 61 of the Criminal Code Queensland states:
- When 3 or more persons, with the intent to carry out some common purpose, assemble in such a manner, or being assembled, conduct themselves in such a manner, as to cause persons in the neighbourhood to fear on reasonable grounds that the persons so assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace, or will by such assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion provoke other persons tumultuously to disturb the peace, they are unlawfully assembled.
- It is immaterial that the original assembling was lawful if, being assembled, they conduct themselves with a common purpose in such manner in subsection (1)
- An assembly of 3 or more persons who assemble for the purpose of protecting the house of any 1 of them against persons threatened to break and enter the house in order to commit an indictable offence therein is not an unlawful assembly
- When an unlawful assembly has begun to act in so tumultuous a manner as to disturb the peace, the assembly is called a riot and the persons assembled are said to be riotously assembled.
A person who takes part in an unlawful assembly is guilty of a misdemeanour.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
- with at least 2 others assembled, that is, gathered together.
- with the intention of carrying out some common purpose at that time
- with at least 2 others assembled in such a manner or being gathered together, conducted themselves in such a way as to cause people in the vicinity to fear on reasonable ground that he and at least 2 others so gathered would tumultuously disturb the peace.
It is immaterial that the original assembling was lawful if they conduct themselves with a common purpose in the manner described.
A tumult occurs where people usually, but not always, to the accompaniment of noise, engage in agitated movement or are excited or emotionally aroused.
A disturbance of the peace occurs when an unlawful assembly has begun to act in so tumultuous a manner to disturb the peace, the assembly is called a riot.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Riot and Unlawful Assembly is 1 year imprisonment.
Which court will hear the matter
This matter is a misdemeanour and indictable which means it is dealt with in the District Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to
- The accused had no common purpose with the other persons gathered.
- No ordinary person would be fearful the gathering would tumultuously disturb the peace
- The accused was not part of the group which had gathered.
- There were not three people in the group.
Our Criminal Lawyers are experienced in a broad range of Violent Offences, including Riot and Unlawful Assembly. If you are facing such charges contact Potts Lawyers today for quality advice and representation.