In many legal jurisdictions related to English common law, affray is a public order offence consisting of the fighting of one or more persons in a public place to the terror (in French: à l'effroi) of ordinary people. Depending on their actions, and the laws of the prevailing jurisdiction, those engaged in an affray may also render themselves liable to prosecution for assault, unlawful assembly, or riot; if so, it is for one of these offences that they are usually charged.

The common law offence of affray was abolished for England and Wales on 1 April 1987. Affray is now a statutory offence that is triable either way. It is created by section 3 of the Public Order Act 1986 which provides:

(1) 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.

(2) Where 2 or more persons use or threaten the unlawful violence, it is the conduct of them taken together that must be considered for the purposes of subsection (1).
(3) For the purposes of this section a threat cannot be made by the use of words alone.
(4) No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.
(5) Affray may be committed in private as well as in public places.
(6) . . . See sections 6(5) to 6(7).
(7) A person guilty of affray is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or a fine or both, or on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both.

The term "violence" expression is defined by section 8.

Section 3(6) once provided that a constable could arrest without warrant anyone he reasonably suspected to be committing affray, but that subsection was repealed by paragraph 26(2) of Schedule 7 to, and Schedule 17 to, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

This page was last edited on 9 February 2018, at 14:48 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

Related Topics

Recently Viewed