Police v RHB

Key Words: Behave in an offensive manner in a public place, Section 4(1) Summary Offences Act 1988 – affray, Section 93C(1) Crimes Act 1900 – weak evidence against accused – plea negotiation, charge withdrawn – plea of guilty – good behaviour bond, Section 10(1)(b) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999

Facts:

RHB was charged with two offences – behaving in an offensive manner in a public place, and affray – as a result of a night out with a group of friends. The group was ejected from a pub due to their boisterous behaviour, and continued to act loudly and obnoxiously on the street. At one point, the group shouted verbal abuse at a group of waiters as they were closing their restaurant. The group then crossed the road so they were standing opposite the restaurant, and some members of the group – not including RHB – began to toss rocks at the restaurant.

Outcome:

Prior to the trial beginning, the defence for RHB sent representations to the prosecution noting that there was no video evidence of RHB actively participating in the throwing of rocks. The representations also pointed out that RHB at all times appeared to be a periphery member of the group, and his only action appears to be pulling the other group members away from the scene.

As a result of these representations, the prosecution withdrew the charge of affray, and the charge of offensive behaviour was dealt with by way of a plea of guilty. On sentencing for the offensive behaviour, RHB was given a non-conviction order conditional on him completing a 12-month good behaviour bond.