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Riot Offences and Penalties in Tasmania

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Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

Any unregulated or uncontrolled mob/crowd is undesirable and a potential source of destruction to the region. Chapter VIII of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) prohibits all actions or movements that constitute an unlawful assembly in Tasmania.

The legislation in Tasmania vehemently criminalises all forms of participation in unlawful or other unlawful assemblies. It includes all gatherings that are immediately unlawful by their illegal purpose or those further proscribed by particular bodies.

If an individual is convicted for a riot offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a police check.

  1. Unlawful Assembly in Tasmania

The legislation through s73 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) describes an unlawful assembly as;

  • ✔ A group of 3 or more people with illegal or dubious intent (as defined by the law). Under the subsections, any of these actions can cause a gathering to be unlawful;
  • ✔ If the common purpose for such group (either illegal or lawful) will cause a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their lives
  • ✔ With an ill intent to prevent an authorised person from executing a lawful purpose. It also includes where any member of the group helps others to carry these actions
  • ✔ And where the actions of the group cause other people in the vicinity to fear for their lives, it is considered an unlawful assembly
  • ✔ A lawful assembly can also become unlawful if it in any form degenerates to any of the random or ill manners mentioned above.

The charge for unlawful assembly is powerful and incurs severe penalties under Tasmanian laws. Anyone who partakes in a riot offence will be charged with the crime of "taking part in an unlawful assembly.”

  1. Rioting in Tasmania

It is a serious offence to be found guilty of partaking or supporting a riot in Tasmania; it is an offence that carries the criminal implications of "Rioting". The court can impose additional conditions to the charges, including the Penalty and Sentencing.

Section 75 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) explicitly prohibits all forms of rioting in Tasmania. It includes all cases where the defendant supports, provokes, participates in such acts.

What is a Riot Offence in Tasmania?

Section 76 of the Act gives a Riot offence to mean gathering 12 or more people with an unlawful common purpose. Usually, it is immaterial the place where they are gathered as long as their actions are accessible to public members.

Section 76 gives the permission and approval of the State for a Justice or Sheriff to proclaim against the riots publicly. Following subsection 1 of that part, the Act mandates the Sheriff or Justice to communicate (usually in a loud voice) to the crowd as safely as possible.

The proclamation should be made usually with some form of pre-announcement to the rioting group.

  1. Disobeying Riot proclamation

It is an offence to hurt or violently oppose any officer/person making the denunciatory proclamations. It includes all acts of wilful violence and malevolence towards a person making such lawful proclamation.

The crime of opposing such proclamation is punished as the charge of "Opposing the making of a riot proclamation.

It is an offence that carries the Charge of Disobeying a lawful proclamation if;

  • ✔ All persons gathered to remain in such a place, executing the same proscribed actions.
  • ✔ They still number at least 12 people after the proclamation
  • ✔ Do not disperse within one hour of hearing such proclamation
  • ✔ Knew about the proclamation under good reason and remained at the place

They are all guilty of a crime that carries the charge; Opposing a lawful declaration or attacking an officer.

Section 77 of the Act describes it as the offence of

  • Disobeying a riot proclamation under the law
  • Failing to disperse after a declaration is made

Subsection 3 of the Act also gives a limitation period for the prosecution within 12 months of the Crime. Also, such offences are usually heard summarily in the Magistrate or other local courts.

  1. Being armed in public

Being unnecessarily armed in public in Tasmania can cause fears and distress to others in the vicinity. Section 78 of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) prohibits a person from going out in public and being fully armed without a lawful reason.

It can aggravate if the person recklessly flaunts the weapon or arm or recklessly discharges it. Anyone who goes to the public being fully armed and causes a person to fear their safety is guilty of an offence.

The Act stipulates punishments with the Charge of "Being unlawfully armed in public."

  1. Forcible entry and detainer in Tasmania

It is dangerous and unlawful to force your passage into private property or place in Tasmania. Entry into a place through violence is a serious offence of "forcible entry" and incurs the severe penalty under the law.

It includes where the accused person used force,

  • Attempted force,
  • Deter oppositions to entry in the land

It is immaterial that the accused person had legal entry into the property.

It is also a crime to enter a property or land illegally and detain such properties under any laws. Such actions constitute an act of forcible detainer and are condemned under subsection 2 of s79 under the Criminal Code Act.

  1. Affray Offences in Tasmania

Any act that causes terror or fear to people nearby is usually considered an affray offence. It includes where the offender engaged in public fights, fisticuffs or threatened people loudly and publicly. Section 80 of the Criminal Code Act describes the offence of affray in Tasmania as a "Taking part in an affray" charge.

If more than one person is involved in the offence, they will be prosecuted and charged individually.

Furthermore, the charge of affray or rioting does not mandate the presence of a person who fears for their life before it prohibits such actions.

  1. Duelling

Engaging in a public brawl or duel for any reason is an offence under the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas). It includes cases where the accused challenges or provokes another person to fight. It is regarded as the crime of “inciting to duelling”.

Will a Riot Offence show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

If an individual is found guilty of a Riot offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check.

Individuals can obtain a police check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

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