Brawl to Bond: Successful outcome for a client charged following a house party brawl


Recently, our client Ava* was charged with three serious offences following a brawl at a house party. Ava was facing charges for:

  • Common assault
  • Affray
  • Reckless wounding in company

The details of the brawl were unclear, but it was known that one of the complainants had suffered two shallow knife wounds. Despite Ava not being the person who wielded the knife, he still faced a charge of reckless wounding under the rules of joint criminal enterprise.

What is Joint criminal enterprise?

  • Joint criminal enterprise (JCE) is a legal principle in criminal law that allows for multiple individuals to be held responsible for the same crime, even if they did not personally carry out the illegal act.
  • Under JCE, individuals who participate in a common plan or scheme to commit a crime can be held equally responsible for the criminal act, even if they played a lesser role or did not actually carry out the crime themselves.
  • JCE is used to hold accomplices accountable for their role in a crime, regardless of their level of involvement or intent.

Defending Ava in Court

Extending the crime of reckless wounding via the rules of joint criminal offender requires the second offender to share an express or implied agreement to achieve a common result with the primary offender.

Our lawyers argued during pre-trial representations that there was no evidence of such an agreement, and Ava was merely in the same group as the knife-wielder did not provide evidence of such an agreement. The prosecution eventually withdrew this charge.

Ava was left with two remaining charges of common assault and affray. After successful negotiations with the prosecution, Ava was able to plead guilty to affray, with the common assault charge being withdrawn.

Upon sentencing, Ava received a year-long good behaviour bond and a fine, and no conviction was recorded.

Get in Touch with Our Lawyers

If you or a loved one is facing charges like Ava, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experienced defence lawyers. Speak with one of our experienced lawyer to provide you with advice on your legal options. Call us on (02) 9261 4281 today.

*Names have been changed for client confidentiality


O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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