Note: The common law offence of Riot was was replaced by the statutory offence of Violent Disorder.

Riot is an offence that can cover a very wide range of behaviour. It can arise out of civil protest like the G20 riots in Melbourne or it can simply be a wild fight after a pub is closed.

It has a severe maximum penalty but it would take a serious example of the offence for the penalty to get anywhere near that maximum.

The legal elements of the offences are, in essence – where three or more people are present with a common purpose which is executed or started to be executed. Each of the three must have an intent to help one another by force if necessary against anyone who opposes their purpose.

The prosecution must also establish that they used force or violence in such a manner as to terrify at least one person of reasonable firmness.

Defences to this can be a factual dispute about who did what. By their very nature riots are a mess and it is often very hard to establish who did what.

Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

As a common law offence, riot does not come under particular legislation but rather the law surrounding it is from case law.

Possible Defences

In a case of Riot, the following defences may be applicable to the charge:

What penalties can be imposed for a charge of Riot?
  • Deferral of Sentencing
  • Diversion
  • Without Conviction Order
  • Adjournment of the Charges on Undertaking (Good Behaviour Bond)
  • Fine
  • Community Corrections Order
  • Suspended Prison Sentence
  • Term of Imprisonment
What is the legislation for the charge of Riot?

There is no specific legislation for the charge of Riot as this is a common law offence. The principles that relate to the offence derive from case law. Section 320 of the Crimes Act prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

Case studies related to the charge of Riot:
Media articles related to the charge of Riot:
Links to further information about the charge of Riot: