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7.4.21.1 – Charge: Common law riot

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I must now direct you about the crime of riot. To prove this crime, the prosecution must prove the following five elements beyond reasonable doubt.

One – the accused was one of three or more people who were assembled.

Two – at least three of these people, including the accused, had a common purpose.

Three – the people who had the common purpose, including the accused, embarked on executing that common purpose.

Four – the people who had the common purpose intended to help each other, by force if necessary, against any person who may oppose the group in the execution of its common purpose, and the accused also intended to provide such help.

Five – the people with the common purpose used such violence to alarm at least one person of reasonable firmness and courage.

I will now explain each of these elements in more detail.

The accused was one of three or more people who were assembled

The first element that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt is that the accused was one of three or more people who were assembled. The accused must have been present at the scene with these people at the same time, unless s/he incited the riot that subsequently ensued in his/her absence.

In this case the prosecution alleged that NOA was part of the following group: [identify alleged group].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments about alleged group].

It is for you to determine, based on all the evidence, whether NOA was one of three or more persons who were assembled. It is only if you are satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that s/he did, that this first element will be met.

Those people had a common purpose

The second element that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt is that at least three of these people, including the accused, had a common purpose. The common purpose may be lawful or unlawful. It may also be a private or public or political purpose.

In this case the prosecution alleged that at least three of these people, including NOA, had the following common purpose: [identify alleged common purpose].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments about alleged common purpose].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments about accused’s purpose].

It is only if you are satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that at least three people, including NOA, had a common purpose, that this second element will be met.

The group embarked on executing that common purpose

The third element that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt is that the people with the common purpose, including the accused, embarked on executing that common purpose.

In this case, the prosecution alleged that the people with the common purpose, including NOA, embarked on executing that common purpose by: [identify acts alleged to have been done in pursuance of that common purpose].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments about acts alleged to have been done in pursuance of the common purpose].

It is only if you are satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the assembled people, including NOA, embarked on executing that common purpose, that this third element will be met.

The group including the accused intended to help each other by force if necessary

The fourth element that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt is that the people who had the common purpose intended to help each other by force if necessary and that the accused individually had that intent.

In this case the prosecution alleged that the people who had the common purpose intended to help each other by force if necessary because: [identify evidence alleged to prove intent of group].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments about evidence alleged to prove intent of people with common purpose].

The prosecution also alleged that NOA had that intent individually because: [identify evidence alleged to prove intent of NOA].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments about evidence alleged to prove intent of NOA].

It is only if you are satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the people who had the common purpose intended to help each other by force if necessary, and that NOA individually had that same intent, that this fourth element will be met.

The group used such violence to alarm at least one person of reasonable firmness and courage

The fifth element that the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt is that the group with the common purpose used such violence so as to alarm at least one person of reasonable firmness and courage.

In this case the prosecution alleged that the group with the common purpose used such violence to alarm at least one person of reasonable firmness and courage by: [identify alleged acts of violence].

[Summarise relevant evidence and arguments about evidence regarding acts of violence and their capacity to cause the requisite level of alarm].

It is only if you are satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the group used such violence to alarm at least one person of reasonable firmness and courage, that this fifth element will be met.

Relate law to the evidence

[If not previously done, apply the law to the relevant evidence here.]

Summary

To summarise, before you can find NOA guilty of riot the prosecution must prove to you beyond reasonable doubt:

One – that s/he was one of three or more people who were assembled; and

Two – that at least three of these people, including NOA, had a common purpose; and

Three – the people with the common purpose, including NOA, embarked on executing that common purpose; and

Four – the people who had the common purpose intended to help each other by force if necessary and NOA also intended to provide such help; and

Five – that the people with the common purpose used such violence to alarm at least one person of reasonable firmness and courage.

If you find that any of these elements have not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you must find NOA not guilty of riot.

Rout or unlawful assembly

[In most cases, it will be necessary to leave a rout or unlawful assembly offence as an alternative offence. In such cases, a suitably modified version of the appropriate charge should be inserted here. When modifying the charge, the judge must carefully explain the differences between riot, rout and unlawful assembly.]

Last updated: 1 July 2017

See Also

7.4.21 – Common law riot

7.4.21.2 - Checklist: Common law riot