While violence is far less common at football matches than it was in the past, we occasionally see instances of hooliganism and disorder at today's games. Football-related offences can be dealt with by way of legislation that has been enacted for the specific purpose of dealing with these types of crimes – such as the Football Offences Act or Football Spectators Act – or can be prosecuted as a public order offence. Whatever the circumstances, having the support of a team of specialist criminal defence solicitors is invaluable in ensuring that your position is protected.
What are violent crimes?
In England and Wales, violent crimes may either be statutory offences (that is offences that are set down in legislation) or common law offences (that is crimes that have been created and developed by the courts over many years).
The majority of these offences are found in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. They include:
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
This covers a wide range of violent acts that cause physical or psychiatric harm to a victim. You may be charged with this offence even if you didn't intend to harm anyone – the fact that harm was caused will be sufficient.
Malicious wounding or infliction of grievous bodily harm
This offence differs from assault in that, generally speaking, it deals with more severe kinds of damage being suffered by the victim. ‘Grievous bodily harm' deals with harm that is particularly serious, such as broken limbs or lacerations.
Common law offences
A common law assault does not need to include physical violence – making the victim feel fearful or nervous can amount to assault.
Someone may be charged with battery if they have inflicted violence on a victim. The threshold of harm is low – touching someone without permission may constitute battery.
Wilford Smith's expert criminal defence lawyers will take a strategic and proactive approach from the earliest stage to conduct the most robust defence possible on your behalf. We will work tirelessly to ensure your rights and interests are protected, and that investigations and interviews are carried out fairly and properly.
If your case goes to court, we have the skills, knowledge and expertise to develop a strategy that offers the strongest chance of success. Our expertise in litigation and advocacy mean that we are excellently placed to provide you with the very best representation, and we can call on the support of top-quality barristers if required.
Contact our Specialist Football Violence Solicitors in Sheffield and London
We appreciate that not everyone accused of committing violent offences at a football match is guilty of doing so – being part of a large group of supporters, many of whom will be dressed similarly, can easily result in innocent supporters being mistakenly identified as perpetrators of offences. Whatever the nature and circumstances of your arrest, contact Wilford Smith immediately for clear, pragmatic legal advice.