Definition of RIOT


RIOT

crim. law. At common law a riot is a tumultuous
disturbance of the peace, by three persons or more assembling together of their
own authority, with an intent, mutually to assist each other against any who
shall oppose them, in the execution of some enterprise of a private nature, and
afterwards actually executing the same in a violent and turbulent manner, to
the terror of the people, whether the act intended were of itself lawful or
unlawful.


2. In this case there must be proved, first, an unlawful assembling; for
if a number of persons lawfully met together; as, for example, at a fire, in a
theatre or a church, should suddenly quarrel and fight, the offence is an
affray and not a riot, because there was no unlawful assembling; but if three
or more being so assembled, on a dispute occurring, they form into parties with
promises of mutual assistance, which promises may be express, or implied from
the circumstances, then the offence will no longer be an affray, but a riot;
the unlawful combination will amount to an assembling within the meaning of the
law. In this manner any lawful assembly may be converted into a riot. Any one
who joins the rioters after they have actually commenced, is equally guilty as
if he had joined them while assembling.


3. Secondly, proof must be made of actual violence and force on the part
of the rioters, or of such circumstances as have an apparent tendency to force
and violence, and calculated to strike terror into the public mind. The
definition requires that the offenders should assemble of their own authority,
in order to create a riot; if, therefore, the parties act under the authority
of the law, they may use any necessary force to enforce their mandate, without
committing this offence.


4. Thirdly, evidence must be given that the defendants acted in the
riot, and were participants in the disturbance. Vide 1 Russ. on Cr. 247 Vin.
Ab. h. t.; Hawk. c. 65, s. 1, 8, 9; 3 Inst. 176; 4 Bl. Com. 146 Com. Dig. h.
t.; Chit. Cr. Law, Index, h. t. Roscoe, Cr. Ev. h. t.




Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition

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