Affray is an offence under the Public Order Act 1986 s 3, which states:
(1)A person is guilty of affray if he uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another and his conduct is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety.
(2)Where 2 or more persons use or threaten the unlawful violence, it is the conduct of them taken together that must be considered for the purposes of subsection (1).
(3)For the purposes of this section a threat cannot be made by the use of words alone.
(4)No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.
(5)Affray may be committed in private as well as in public places.
(6)A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonably suspects is committing affray.
(7)A person guilty of affray is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or a fine or both, or on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both.
The CPS guidance states:
It must be proved that a person has used or threatened:
- unlawful violence;
- towards another;
- and his conduct is such as would cause;
- a person of reasonable firmness;
- present at the scene;
- to fear for his personal safety.
The maximum sentence is 3 years.
The Huffington Post reported that the prosecutor, when opening the case to the judge, said:
“somewhat ironically” the men had targeted their victims because of what they were wearing. He added: “The two defendants together with another man were in fancy dress as Oompa Loompas – fictional characters from Loompa Land which end up being preyed upon by Whangdoodles, Hornswogglers and Snozzwangers.
“They are in fact peaceable characters who Willy Wonka employs in his factory to keep them away from trouble.
“Far from keeping out of trouble, these men got into what was initially a verbal altercation, were abusive, calling one of the men ‘gay’, and ended up pushing the men resulting in facial injuries to one of them.”
The victim, a man aged 28, suffered cuts and bruises. The incident was captured on CCTV.
Jonathan Morgan, mitigating on behalf Gelinas, said: “Clearly they were not dressed for trouble.
“My client’s braces were hanging down so it is easy to tell on the CCTV which of the Oompa Loompas he was.
“He did not start the violence and is seen walking away.”
Wright’s barrister, Ian James, described Wright as a “hard-working and busy” young man who is training to become an electrical inspector.
“He had taken drink and believed that one or other of his friends, by way of the unusual way they were dressed, was involved in a confrontation and he involved himself,” he said.
Gelinas was sentenced to a community order with 240 hours of unpaid work whilst Wright was sentenced to 10 months detention in a young offender institution.
An explanation of youth custodial sentences is available here.