Anyone who has been to the Sydney Royal Easter Show will know that it is a very populous and public place. Recently, video footage emerged of a group teenagers participating in a wild brawl that left two people injured with lacerations on their legs which required hospitalisation. Whilst police intervened, no charges have been laid thus far. The incident is analogous to another brawl at the Sydney Royal Easter Show which took place two days prior. The brawl was captured by mobile phone and was circulated on Instagram and other social media platforms. In incidents such this, it is important to understand the relevant charges which could be laid.


In situations such as the above, the likely charge police would lay is the charge of Affray. Affray is defined as where a person uses or threaten unlawful violence towards another person and this causes a person of “reasonable firmness” present at the scene to fear for his or her personal safety. From this definition, a range of different violent situations may be applicable. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Getting into a fight in a public place where there are many people around;
  • Partaking or instigating road rage;
  • Taking part in a violent demonstration; and/or
  • A brawl in a public place



Broadly speaking, a charge of affray is a public order offence. Whilst a person may be charged with affray, a charge of assault is usually accompanied to address the personal aspect of a fight or brawl.

According to section 93(C) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides that a:


“A person who uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another and whose conduct is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his or her personal safety is guilty of affray and liable to imprisonment for 10 years”.


Should you be found guilty of Affray, your conduct will be considered when sentencing those who are guilty or found guilty by the Local Court.

Whilst a person may be charged with Affray, the charge of Assault pursuant to section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) could also be laid if it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the person(s) assaults any person.


According to section 418 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), self-defence may be raised in the following:

(1) A person is not criminally responsible for an offence if the person carries out the conduct constituting the offence in self-defence.

(2) A person carries out conduct in self-defence if and only if the person believes the conduct is necessary–

(a) to defend himself or herself or another person, or

(b) to prevent or terminate the unlawful deprivation of his or her liberty or the liberty of another person, or

(c) to protect property from unlawful taking, destruction, damage or interference, or

(d) to prevent criminal trespass to any land or premises or to remove a person committing any such criminal trespass,

and the conduct is a reasonable response in the circumstances as he or she perceives them.


A former boxer, was charged with Affray after kicking and punching a male outside a busy nightclub in Sydney’s Kings Cross. CCTV outside the nightclub showed that there was more than one participant in the melee. This constituted the offence of Affray for the purposes of section 93(c) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The former boxer can be seen knocking out the male involved in the brawl. Having been charged with Affray and Assault, the former boxer argued that his conduct was done in self-defence.

The CCTV, although clearly picturing the former boxer’s participation in the brawl, failed to express the male’s drunken and abusive behaviour to several women in the vicinity. The former boxer was subsequently acquitted of the charges after it was shown that the brawl only occurred after several aggressive advances were made by the male. As the conduct of the former boxer was proportional and reasonable to the circumstances, self-defence cleared him of any wrongdoing.


Should you be faced with the unfortunate circumstance of being charged as a result of actions done in self-defence, you need a competent and experienced criminal defence lawyer to defend your liberty and interests.

Contact our office immediately to ensure you are getting the best criminal defence possible.

Read more about self-defence in one of our previous blogs “Stand Your Ground: Can You Be Charged For Protecting Your Home?”.

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