What is Affray ?

Affray occurs when a person uses or threatens 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.

Affray generally involves a disturbance of the peace.

Some examples of affray include:

  • Getting into a fight in a public place such as a nightclub or a bar;
  • Partaking in road rage;
  • taking part in a violent public demonstration; and/or
  • a two-sided brawl;

Case law/Jurisdiction
An offence of affray is what is known as a “Table 1” offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is it is to be dealt with on indictment by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The nature and elements of the offence of affray were considered in Colosimo v DPP (2005) 64 NSWLR 645.

What must the prosecution prove?

Since affray is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of affray.

To establish affray, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You used, or threatened to use violence towards another person;
  • You intended to use or threaten to use violence;
  • Your actions would cause a reasonable person to fear for their personal safety; and
  • You did so without lawful excuse.

The Law
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”.

The conduct of the offender of an affray charge is to be considered when sentencing those who are guilty or found guilty by the Local Court.

If you are charged with the offence of Affray what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers (NCL) have been successful in defending a large number of affray charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of affray. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for affray charges.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with affray:

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Fequently Asked Questions

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. Your best chance to get the result you’re after

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. How a Senior Defence Lawyer Can Help You Deal With Criminal Charges

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Affray offence our Team at National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

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