2AMona, Karen and Nancy could all be potentially liable for violentdisorder under s2 Public Order Act 1986 (POA) by throwing the eggs. However, inorder for this to stand there must be ‘3 ormore persons who are present together’1and this would not be the case if Nancy has fled the scene. Therefore, none ofthe three can be found guilty of violent disorder if Nancy is not ‘present’. Next to consider is Karen and Mona’s individual liability foraffray (s3 POA).
The first element of the actus reus (AR) to fulfil is if they’used or threatened unlawful violence towards another’2which both Mona and Karen have satisfied by ‘pelting’ the eggs towards ‘thepresident’ – by ‘throwing objects’ they have committed affray.3The second element is whether their actions caused ‘a person of reasonablefirmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety’4and, due to the nature of the visit being one of political means, a person of’reasonable firmness’5would ‘fear for his personal safety’6as this is a high-tension scenario and Mona and Karen collective actions7would, therefore, satisfy the AR. Mona and Karen fulfil the mens rea (MR) as they had a directintention8to use or threaten violence when they were throwing the eggs.9As they satisfy both the AR and MR of violent disorder they are liable for theoffence and could face ‘imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or a fineor both’.10The next issue at hand is the glitter bomb for which Mona andKaren could not be charged with intentional harassment, alarm or distress11(s4A POA) as there is not enough information provided regarding the outcome oftheir actions, but could be liable for harassment, alarm or distress12(s5 POA). One element of the AR for s5 is ‘threatening or abusive wordsor behaviour’13which is sufficed based on the fact that Mona and Karen built the glitter bombwith a ‘small explosive charge’ which could pose a threat; there were also noproblems with the other elements of the AR for this offence.
14Mona and Karen have fulfilled the MR as their conduct was designed to give thepresident a ‘good scare’ which can be deemed as threatening behaviour. Next isto consider the defence of their conduct being ‘reasonable’15,as the others16are not relevant, which is not available to Mona or Karen as their behaviourwas not necessary – there are many alternatives ways to protest without threateningbehaviour. Based on both the AR and MR being fulfilled, Mona and Karen can bothbe charged with the appropriate penalty being ‘a fine not exceeding level 3 onthe standard scale’.
17Regarding the planting of the glitter bomb by Nancy, shecould be liable for fear or provocation of violence (s4 POA)18,unlike Mona or Karen as they were aware that the glitter bomb was only to givethe president a ‘good scare’ rather than incite ‘immediate unlawful violence’19.Nancy must now be shown to satisfy the AR of this offence which includes theuse of ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’ ‘towards anotherperson’ ‘in a public or a private place’.20Her conduct was threatening as she was planting what she believed to be a ‘bomb’,it was also intended to be used against President Plump and the laboratoryfalls under the definition of a ‘public or private place’; therefore Nancy satisfiesall elements of the AR.21Nancy satisfied the MR of ‘immediate unlawful violence’22as she intended to incite the fear in the president pertaining to that if itwere a ‘real’ bomb – which she believed it to be, rather than the glitter bombwhich it truly was.
Despite both the AR and MR of the s4 offence being satisfiedby Nancy, defences to this must now be examined; namely the defence of duressby threats. The first threat arises when Karen says she will reveal that Nancy ‘hada one-night stand with another student’. For the defence to stand, the threatposed must be of serious injury or death and aimed towards Nancy or animmediate member of her family, as well as fulfilling the necessary tests of reasonableness.23As Karen’s threat is not of death or serious injury, Nancy cannot rely upon thedefence. Mona also threatened Nancy, to the point of her becoming ‘very frightened’when she told her that she knows ‘what happens to traitors!’. However, ‘she and Mona are quite close friends’,suggesting that it would not be reasonable for Nancy to believe Mona’s threatswould be followed up with any serious level of harm, hence the objective reasonablenesstests are not satisfied regarding Mona’s threat. Based on duress by threat notbeing available to Nancy, she would be liable for the s4 offence, leading to ‘imprisonmentfor a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on thestandard scale or both’.24 2BThe liability of all three still remains for the glitterbomb incident, as laid out above, regardless of whether Nancy contributed to ‘throwingeggs’ at the president based on her fear from the earlier threats made by Karenand Mona.
In relation to throwing the eggs, violent disorder25is still the relevant offence to consider, of which the AR is fulfilled due tothere now being ‘3 or more persons whoare present together’26as Nancy did not flee in this scenario. Alongside this, ‘unlawful violence’27is necessary and as all three threw the eggs at the president this is satisfiedas they were ‘throwing at or towards a person a missile of a kind capable ofcausing injury’28. Finally,as depicted above, the last element of the AR is satisfied as throwing the eggswould cause ‘a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear forhis personal safety’29because of the political nature of the visit where the protest was takingplace. Regarding the MR, it is once again fulfilled as the intent to use orthreaten violence remains, now including Nancy, based on their collective directintention30 togive the president a ‘good scare’ and the eggs would threaten violence.31As argued above, Nancy would still be liable for violent disorder32as there were ‘3 or more persons..
. present together’33and no defence of duress by threats available. This means all three are liablefor the s234offence and will face ‘a term not exceeding 5 years or a fine or both’.
35 2CRegarding the eggs, the AR and MR are still satisfied for Nancywhich means that Mona, Karen and Nancy are all still liable and can be chargedwith violent disorder (s2 POA).36Concerning the glitter bomb, the liability still remains thesame as Nancy later realised thepresident was ‘never in any real danger’ but, when planting the glitter bomb,she still considered it to be a ‘real bomb’. Therefore, if Nancy ‘enthusiasticallythrows eggs at Plump’ later in the day, she can still be charged with fear orprovocation of violence (s4 POA)37as she had the required MR. 1 PublicOrder Act 1986, s2(1).2 PublicOrder Act 1986, s3(1).3Bingham LJ in R v Smith 1997 1 CrApp R 14 at 16.4 PublicOrder Act 1986, s3(1).5 Ibid.6 Ibid.7 PublicOrder Act 1986, s3(2).8 R v Mohan 1975 2 All ER 193.9 DavidOrmerod and Karl Laird, Smith and Hogan’s Criminal Law, 14th Edition, (Oxford UniversityPress, Oxford, 2015); Chapter 32.10 PublicOrder Act 1986, s3(7).11 PublicOrder Act 1986, s4A; David Ormerod and Karl Laird, Smith and Hogan’s CriminalLaw, 14th Edition, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015).12 PublicOrder Act 1986, s5(1).13 PublicOrder Act 1986, s5(1)(a).14 PublicOrder Act 1986, s5(1), namely that the offence must take place ‘within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be causedharassment, alarm or distress thereby’.15 PublicOrder Act 1986, s5(3)(c).16 PublicOrder Act 1986, s5(3)(a) and (b).17 PublicOrder Act 1986, s5(6).18 PublicOrder Act 1986, s4.19 PublicOrder Act 1986, s4(1).20 PublicOrder Act 1986, s4(1) and (2).21 Thorntonet al, Public Order Law, 1.137.22 PublicOrder Act 1986, s4(1).23 R v Hasan 2005 2 WLR 709.24 PublicOrder Act 1986, s4(4).25 PublicOrder Act 1986, s2.26 PublicOrder Act 1986, s2(1); R v Mahroof 1988Cr App R 317.27 PublicOrder Act 1986, s2.28 PublicOrder Act 1986, s8(b).29 PublicOrder Act 1986, s3(1).30 R v Mohan 1975 2 All ER 193.31 PublicOrder Act 1986, s6(2); David Ormerod and Karl Laird, Smith and Hogan’s CriminalLaw, 14th Edition, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015).32 PublicOrder Act 1986, s2.33 PublicOrder Act 1986, s2(1); R v Mahroof 1988Cr App R 317.34 PublicOrder Act 1986, s2.35 PublicOrder Act 1986, s2(5).36Public Order Act 1986, s2.37 PublicOrder Act 1986, s4.