Australian Bureau of Statistics
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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(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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
Offences under Commonwealth legislation that are initiated overseas or relate to foreign persons e.g. harming Australians overseas; bribery of foreign officials; war crimes.
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.
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.
See Court of Summary Jurisdiction.
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.
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).
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).
Release of a defendant without an order following sentence that may or may not have conditions attached.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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).
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).
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).
Offences under Commonwealth legislation that relate to the security of Commonwealth property e.g. espionage, treason, domestic terrorism.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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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This page last updated 18 June 2012