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4515.0 - Federal Defendants, Selected States and Territories, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/04/2011   
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GLOSSARY

Abduction, harassment and other offences against the person

Acts intended to threaten or harass, or acts that unlawfully deprive another person of their freedom of movement, that are against that person's will or against the will of any parent, guardian or other person having lawful custody or care of that person. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: abduction and kidnapping (051), deprivation of liberty/false imprisonment (052) and harassment and threatening behaviour (053).

Acquitted

A determination by the court that a defendant is not guilty of the charge(s) on the grounds that the charge has not been proven. A not guilty verdict by the court. This includes dismissal of charge(s) by a magistrate on the grounds that the defendant is found not guilty or dismissal of charge(s) by a member of the judiciary due to lack of evidence or no evidence given by the prosecution. This excludes a finding of not guilty by reason of mental illness or condition at the time the defendant committed the offence. This is a method of finalisation.

Acts intended to cause injury

Acts, excluding attempted murder and those resulting in death, which are intended to cause non-fatal injury or harm to another person and where there is no sexual or acquisitive element. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: assault (021) and other acts intended to cause injury (029).

Adjudicated finalisation

A method of finalisation based on a judgement or decision by the court as to whether or not the defendant is guilty of the charge(s) laid against them.

Adjudicated outcomes

The outcomes of the judgement or decision by the court as to whether or not the defendant is guilty of the charge(s) laid against them. These outcomes include: acquitted, guilty finding, guilty plea and guilty ex-parte.

Age

A defendant's age is the time elapsed (in years) between a defendant's date of birth and the date of finalisation of the defendant's case.

Assault

The direct (and immediate/confrontational) infliction of force, injury or violence upon a person or persons or the direct (and immediate/confrontational) threat of force, injury or violence where there is an apprehension that the threat could be enacted. This is a Subdivision of ASOC which includes the following Groups: serious assault resulting in injury (0211), serious assault not resulting in injury (0212) and common assault (0213).

Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC)

The ASOC is a hierarchical classification developed by the ABS for use in the collection and publication of crime and justice statistics. It provides a classificatory framework for the comparison of statistics on offences across Australia. Within the classificatory structure of ASOC, Divisions represent the broadest categories of offences (see Appendix 2). The main purpose of Divisions is to provide a limited number of categories which represent broad groups of criminal offences. The Subdivision and Group levels provide increasingly detailed dissections of these broad categories. The 2008 version of ASOC is used to classify offence data within this publication. The Australian Standard Offence Classification (2008) (cat no. 1234.0) is available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website <http://www.abs.gov.au>.

Aviation

Offences under the Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005. The intent of this Act is to safeguard against the unlawful interference of aviation throughout Australia.

Case

One or more defendants against whom one or more charge(s) have been laid and which are heard together by a court as one unit of work. The charge(s) usually relate to the same criminal incident.

Charge

An allegation laid before a court by the police, Director of Public Prosecutions or other prosecuting agency that a person or organisation has committed a criminal offence.

Charged

In this publication, the term charged refers to those defendants who were adjudicated i.e. finalised via a plea of guilty or a decision by the court as to their guilt or otherwise of the final charge(s) laid against them.

Children's Court

The Children's Court is primarily a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, to hear and determine criminal charges against persons generally aged less than 18 years. The Children's Court may also determine some minor indictable offences and conduct committal proceedings in relation to young people who have been charged with major indictable offences.

Commonwealth officials

Offences under the sections of the Criminal Code Act 1995 that relate to bribery of Commonwealth officials, demands with menaces, and the harming or impersonating of Commonwealth officials.

Commonwealth property

Offences under the sections of the Criminal Code Act 1995 that relate to theft, robbery and burglary of Commonwealth property or on Commonwealth premises.

Commonwealth sexual offences

Offences under Commonwealth legislation of a sexual nature e.g. child sex tourism, importation of child pornography, sexual slavery.

Communications

Offences under Commonwealth legislation that relate to the use of computers and other telecommunications and the use of the postal service.

Community supervision or work orders

Sentences imposed on a defendant requiring a person to perform work within the community or report to a person nominated by the court (for example a corrections officer). These non-custodial orders include: community service orders, probation orders, treatment orders and referral to conference.

Convicted

In this publication the term convicted refers to those defendants who were proven guilty of at least one of the final charge(s) laid against them.

Court level

This indicates the level of the court in which a defendant's case is heard. Court levels can be distinguished from one another on the basis of the extent of their legal powers (see Jurisdiction). Court levels include Court of Summary Jurisdiction, Intermediate Court and Supreme Court. The names assigned to each of these court levels varies across Australia.

Court of Summary Jurisdiction

A lower court level (also referred to as Magistrates' Court, Local Court or Court of Petty Sessions) which deals with relatively less serious charges and has the most limited legal powers of all the state and territory court levels. A Court of Summary Jurisdiction is presided over by a magistrate and has jurisdiction to try and sentence matters relating to summary offences. Under some circumstances, this court level may also deal with less serious indictable offences known as 'minor indictable' or 'triable either way' offences. Courts of Summary Jurisdiction are also responsible for conducting preliminary (committal) hearings for indictable offences.

Custodial orders

Sentences imposed on a defendant requiring a person to have restricted liberty for a specified period of time either through detainment in an institution/home or being subject to regular supervision while residing in the community. The court may set aside the order subject to the person being of good behaviour. Includes: custody in a correctional institution, custody in the community and fully suspended sentence.

Custody in a correctional institution

Sentences imposed on a defendant requiring a person to be detained within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration. Includes: life and indeterminate imprisonment, imprisonment with determined term, imprisonment with partially suspended term, periodic detention, juvenile detention with determined term, and juvenile detention with partially suspended term.

Custody in the community

Sentences imposed on a defendant requiring a person to have restricted liberty for a specified period of time while living within the community. Includes: intensive corrections orders, home detention and other custody in the community.

Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons

Dangerous or negligent acts which, though not intended to cause harm, actually or potentially result in injury to oneself or another person. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle (041) and other dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons (049).

Date of finalisation

The date on which all charges laid against a defendant are regarded as formally completed by a particular court level and the defendant ceases to be an active unit of work to be dealt with by that court level.

Date of initiation

Date of initiation represents either the date of committal or the date of registration depending on the process of entry into that level of court. For defendants who are committed from a Magistrates' Court to a higher criminal court, date of committal is used for the date of initiation. For defendants who have any other method of initiation, including direct presentment to a higher court by ex-officio, date of registration for that court level is used as the date of initiation. Where there are multiple dates of initiation for charges for a defendant, the earliest date is used.

Defendant

A person or organisation against whom one or more criminal charges have been laid and which are heard together as one unit of work by a court level.

District Court

See Intermediate Court.

Drugs

Offences under the Customs Act 1901 that relate to the importing of performance enhancing and non-narcotic drugs; offences under the Criminal Code Act 1995 that relate to illicit drug offences; and offences under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 that relate to the supply of therapeutic goods.

Duration

The time elapsed between the earliest date of initiation and the latest date of finalisation for a defendant that has been finalised.

Federal defendant

A finalised defendant in the Criminal Courts who has been charged with at least one Commonwealth legislative offence.

Federal offence group

A listing of broad offence categories, as agreed with by the Attorney-General's Department (AGD), that are amalgamations of Commonwealth Acts/Sections. These do not relate to ASOC. See Appendix 4 for a list of the AGD federal offences groups and associated Commonwealth Acts/Sections.

Federal offence group n.e.c.

Federal offence types not elsewhere classified. A listing of those Commonwealth Acts/Sections not able to be classified to a specific federal offence group. See Appendix 4.

Finalised defendant

A person or organisation for whom all charges relating to the one case have been formally completed so that the defendant ceases to be an item of work to be dealt with by the court.

Financial

Offences under Commonwealth legislation relating to the improper handling of finance e.g. bankruptcy; money laundering; the improper use of public money.

Fraud

Offences under Commonwealth legislation relating to fraudulent activities e.g. tax fraud; social security fraud; false passports.

Fraud, deception and related offences

Offences involving a dishonest act or omission carried out with the purpose of deceiving to obtain benefit. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: obtain benefit by deception (091); forgery and counterfeiting (092); deceptive business/government practices (093); and other fraud and deception offences (099).

Fully suspended sentence

A custodial order which provides that all of the sentence not be served, subject to the person being of good behaviour for the length of the sentence. Excludes fully suspended sentences that have added conditions other than good behaviour.

Good behaviour bond

An obligation, with or without sureties, aimed at securing the performance of some act by the person bound by the undertaking. Includes recognisance orders.

Guilty ex-parte

Where the court adjudicates charge(s) and the charge(s) are proven either:

      (i) where the defendant pleaded guilty and the charges are proven in his/her absence, or
      (ii) the defendant failed to appear and the charge(s) were proven on the basis of the evidence presented.

This is a method of finalisation in the Magistrates' and Children's Courts.

Guilty finding

A guilty finding by the court, where the court finds the charge has been proven (and the case was not heard ex-parte). This is a method of finalisation.

Guilty plea

A guilty plea to charge(s) by the defendant (and the case was not heard ex-parte). This is not a trial outcome. This is a method of finalisation.

Higher Court

The criminal jurisdiction of an Intermediate Court or Supreme Court.

Homicide and related offences

Unlawfully kill, attempt to unlawfully kill or conspiracy to kill another person. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: murder (011), attempted murder (012), and manslaughter and driving causing death (013).

Illegal fishing

Offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991. The intent of this Act is to safeguard against illegal fishing in Australian waters.

Illegal use/importation of weapons

Offences under Commonwealth legislation relating to the illegal use or importation of firearms, other weapons and explosives.

Illicit drug offences

The possession, selling, dealing or trafficking, importing or exporting, manufacturing or cultivation of drugs or other substances prohibited under legislation. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: import or export illicit drugs (101), deal or traffic in illicit drugs (102), manufacture or cultivate illicit drugs (103), possess and/or use illicit drugs (104) and other illicit drug offences (109).

Imprisonment

See Custody in a correctional institution.

Imprisonment with determined term

An order requiring a person to be detained for a specified period of time within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration.

Imprisonment with partially suspended term

An order requiring a person to be detained for part of the specified period of time within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration, subject to the person being of good behaviour.

Indictable offence

A serious criminal offence as defined by specific Commonwealth, state or territory legislation. Charges relating to indictable offences generally require a trial and/or sentence hearing in a Higher Court. Under some circumstances, a defendant can elect to have these charges dealt with in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

Intermediate Court

A Higher Court level (known either as the District Court or County Court) which has legal powers that are between those of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction and the Supreme Court and deals with the majority of cases involving serious criminal offences. An Intermediate Court is presided over by a judge, and has original jurisdiction to hear trial and sentence matters relating to most indictable offences. Note: As Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory do not have an Intermediate Court, all indictable offences are heard in the Supreme Court.

International

Offences under Commonwealth legislation that are initiated overseas or relate to foreign persons e.g. harming Australians overseas; bribery of foreign officials; war crimes.

Jurisdiction

The legal power or authority which may be exercised by a particular court level and within which the judgements or orders of the court can be enforced or executed. The criminal jurisdiction of a court includes the original jurisdiction. Each court level has its own defined jurisdictional limits and these vary across states and territories.

Justice offences

Offences under Commonwealth legislation relating to the breach of justice orders; escaping from custody; escaping from immigration detention; and subverting the course of justice.

Juvenile detention with determined term

An order requiring a person to be detained in a juvenile facility for all of the specified period of time.

Juvenile detention with partially suspended term

An order requiring a person to be detained in a juvenile facility for part of the specified period of time, subject to the person being of good behaviour for the length of the sentence.

Life and indeterminate imprisonment

The most serious sentence of imprisonment.

Life - This does not necessarily mean that the person will be held in custody for the term of his/her natural life. In some states or territories a minimum time to serve in custody is specified by the court, while in others an administrative body such as a Parole Board makes this decision.

Indeterminate - Persons declared as habitual criminals, persons who are either permanently or temporarily deemed not responsible for their actions because of a mental disorder or intellectual disability and prisoners who are sentenced to imprisonment but have not had a release date set. The prisoner may be released, at any time, at the discretion of the administrative body within each jurisdiction responsible for making that decision.

Local Court

See Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

Magistrates' Court

Where used in this publication, the term 'Magistrates' Court' includes the adult criminal Magistrates' Court and the Court of Petty Sessions and New South Wales Local Court. Excluded from this are other Courts of Summary Jurisdiction, such as Children's Courts, Electronic Courts and Drug Courts.

See Court of Summary Jurisdiction for further information.

Method of finalisation

The process which leads to the completion of a defendant as an item of business in a particular court level. A defendant undergoing court proceedings is considered to be finalised when all charges against that defendant have been processed to completion within a court level. There are different methods by which a charge may be finalised (see Appendix 1).

Migration and people smuggling

Offences under Commonwealth legislation relating to people smuggling and other migration offences.

Minor indictable offence

See Triable either way offence.

Miscellaneous offences

Offences involving the breach of statutory rules or regulations governing activities that are prima facie legal, where such offences are not explicitly dealt with under any other Division of ASOC. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: defamation, libel and privacy offences (161), public health and safety offences (162), commercial/industry/financial regulation (163) and other miscellaneous offences (169).

Monetary orders

A sentence order that requires the offender to pay a sum of money, usually in the form of a fine or as recompense to victims (includes restitution orders and compensation orders) and other monetary orders, n.e.c. (does not include court levies and fees).

National Offence Index

The National Offence Index (NOI) is a seriousness ranking of the ASOC and is used to determine a principal offence when a defendant has multiple finalised offences across different offence categories, with the same type of finalisation (e.g. proven guilty, acquitted, charges withdrawn).

Nominal penalty

Release of a defendant without an order following sentence that may or may not have conditions attached.

Non-adjudicated finalisation

A method of finalisation whereby a charge is considered completed and ceases to be active in a court even though that charge has not been adjudicated. This includes where the defendant is deceased, unfit to plead, the charge is withdrawn by the prosecution, transferred to a non-court agency or another non-adjudicated finalisation n.e.c. such as diplomatic immunity and statute of limitation applies.

Non-custodial orders

Sentences imposed on a defendant that do not involve being held in custody. Includes: community supervision or work orders, monetary orders and other non-custodial orders.

Not guilty verdict

See Acquitted.

Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations

An act or omission that is deemed to be prejudicial to the effective carrying out of justice procedures or any government operations. This includes general government operations as well as those specifically concerned with maintaining government security. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: breach of custodial order offences (151), breach of community-based orders (152), breach of violence and non-violence orders (153), offences against government operations (154), offences against government security (155) and offences against justice procedures (156).

Original jurisdiction

The power of a court to hear criminal charges and determine whether or not a defendant is proven guilty and/or to sentence defendants where a charge has been proven (refer to Jurisdiction).

Other non-custodial orders

Sentences imposed on a defendant that do not require custody, are not fully suspended, and are not elsewhere classified in the non-custodial orders category of the Sentence Type classification. Includes: good behaviour bond/recognisance orders, licence disqualification/suspension/amendment, forfeiture of property order, nominal penalty and other non-custodial orders n.e.c.

Partially suspended sentence

An order of imprisonment requiring a person be detained for part of the specified period of time, subject to the person being of good behaviour for the length of the sentence.

Periodic detention

Sentence imposed on a defendant requiring a person to be in custody for two consecutive days in a week (e.g. weekends) and remain at liberty during the rest of the week. This sentencing option is available in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Plea

The formal statement by, or on behalf of, the defendant in response to a criminal charge that has been laid in a court. The nature of this response indicates whether or not the defendant intends to contest that charge. If the defendant does not enter a plea, this is treated by the court as if the defendant had pleaded not guilty.

Principal federal offence

The offence category, based on ASOC, that describes the most serious offence type associated with a finalised federal defendant. The most serious offence is determined by how the offences were finalised and/or the rankings in the National Offence Index 2009 (see National Offence Index).

Principal sentence

The main sentence type for a defendant who has a proven guilty finalisation. It is based on the hierarchy of the Sentence Type Classification (see Appendix 3).

Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences

Offences involving prohibited or regulated weapons and explosives. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: prohibited weapons/explosives offences (111) and regulated weapons/explosives offences (112).

Property damage and environmental pollution

The wilful and unlawful destruction, damage or defacement of public or private property, or the pollution of property or a definable entity held in common by the community. For this division, 'destruction' means altering the property in any way so as to render it imperfect or inoperative. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: property damage (121) and environmental pollution (122).

Proven guilty

An outcome of criminal proceedings in which a court accepts that a charge is proven through a guilty plea entered by a defendant or the defendant is found guilty by the court. In the Magistrates' and Children's Courts, this includes defendants found guilty ex-parte.

Public order offences

Offences relating to personal conduct that involves, or may lead to, a breach of public order or decency, or that is indicative of criminal intent, or that is otherwise regulated or prohibited on moral or ethical grounds. In general these offences do not involve a specific victim or victims; however some offences, such as offensive language and offensive behaviour, may be directed towards a single victim. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: disorderly conduct (131), regulated public order offences (132) and offensive conduct (133).

Robbery, extortion and related offences

Acts intended to unlawfully gain money, property or other items of value from, or cause detriment to, another person by using the threat of force or any other coercive measure. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: robbery (061) and blackmail and extortion (062).

Security

Offences under Commonwealth legislation that relate to the security of Commonwealth property e.g. espionage, treason, domestic terrorism.

Sentence

A penalty or penalties imposed by a court upon a defendant who is proven guilty of a criminal offence.

Sexual assault and related offences

Acts, or intent of acts, of a sexual nature against another person which are non-consensual or where consent is proscribed. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: sexual assault (031) and non-assaultive sexual offences (032).

Summary offence

A criminal offence which is regarded as less serious relative to an indictable offence as defined by specific Commonwealth, state or territory legislation (see Indictable offence). Charges relating to summary offences are generally dealt with by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction and do not require a trial by jury in a Higher Court. In some states and territories, a defendant against whom summary charges are laid may be transferred to a Higher Court for sentencing (e.g. if the magistrate wants to impose a penalty which exceeds his/her jurisdictional powers).

Supreme Court

A Higher Court level which deals with the most serious criminal charges and has the greatest legal powers of all the state and territory court levels. A Supreme Court is presided over by a judge, and has jurisdiction to hear trial and sentence matters relating to all indictable offences. In states which have an Intermediate Court, the Supreme Court is usually reserved to deal with the most serious indictable offences, such as murder.

Theft and related offences

The unlawful taking or obtaining of money or goods, not involving the use of force, threat of force or violence, coercion or deception, with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner or possessor of the use of the money or goods, or the receiving or handling of money or goods obtained unlawfully. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: motor vehicle theft and related offences (081), theft (except motor vehicles) (082), receive or handle proceeds of crime (083) and illegal use of property (except motor vehicles) (084).

Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences

Offences relating to vehicles and most forms of traffic, including offences pertaining to the licensing, registration, roadworthiness or use of vehicles, bicycle offences and pedestrian offences. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: driver licence offences (141), vehicle registration and roadworthiness offences (142), regulatory driving offences (143) and pedestrian offences (144).

Transfer to non-court agency

An outcome of court proceedings whereby the charge(s) have been transferred to a non-court agency. This is a method of finalisation.

Transfer to other court levels

A court outcome ordering that a criminal charge be transferred to another court level to be adjudicated and/or sentenced. For all transfers, except those between Higher Court levels, this process is regarded as a method of finalisation for the court level ordering the transfer and a method of initiation for the court level to which the defendant's charge(s) were transferred. Defendants who transfer from one Higher Court level to another will be considered as initiated only once (in the level they first entered) and finalised only once (from the level they finally left).

Triable either way offence

An indictable offence which a defendant can elect to have heard either in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction before a magistrate or in a Higher Court before a judge and jury.

Trial

The examination of, and decision on, a matter of law or fact by a court. Where a defendant enters a not guilty plea or other defended plea in the committal proceedings, they are committed to a Higher Court for trial. In the Higher Courts, trials are usually conducted before a judge and jury whereby the judge rules on questions of law and the jury is responsible for determining whether or not the defendant is guilty. Some states and territories also allow for a trial before a judge alone in the Higher Courts.

Unfit to plead

An outcome of court proceedings when it has been determined that a defendant's mental status is such that he/she is unfit to plead in relation to the charge(s) against him/her. For the purposes of this collection, this process is regarded as a non-adjudicated method of finalisation.

Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter

The unlawful entry of a structure with the intent to commit an offence, where the entry is either forced or unforced (ASOC Division 7). A structure is defined as a building that is contained by walls and can be secured in some form. This includes a dwelling (e.g. house, flat, caravan), office, bank, shop, factory, school and church. This division is not further disaggregated.

Wildlife smuggling

Offences under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The intent of this Act is to safeguard protected wildlife and heritage areas.

Withdrawn by the prosecution

The formal withdrawal of charge(s) by the prosecution (e.g. police, Director of Public Prosecutions, Attorney-General). This includes nolle prosequi and no true bill. Withdrawal of charges allows the prosecution to charge the defendant on the same incident at a later time. This is a non-adjudicated method of finalisation.


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