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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H00M28S

Tom and four friends are taking part in a small protest in Bristol. The situation escalates, and they are arrested for rioting. Tom and his friends argue that they cannot possibly be guilty of the offence as there were only eleven people involved in the protest. With reference to the Public Order Act 1986 (the Act), which of the following statements best describes the legal position?

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According to the Public Order Act 1986, the offence of riot requires "twelve or more persons present together" who use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose, and their conduct taken together would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety. Since there were only eleven people involved, Tom and his friends cannot be charged with rioting. However, they may be liable for other offences under the Act. 

Key Point: The Public Order Act 1986 stipulates that a minimum of twelve persons must be involved to constitute the offence of rioting. Fewer than twelve individuals may be charged with other related public order offences if the necessary elements are met.

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