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4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2010–11 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/02/2012   
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Contents >> Higher Courts >> ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS

Limited data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants are presented for the second time in this publication. In the Higher Courts, this information is available for defendants finalised in the Higher Courts in Queensland and the Northern Territory only.

The majority of defendants in the Higher Courts with a traffic offence as their principal offence have an unknown Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. This is because most traffic offences are related to fines issued by road traffic authorities, who do not collect or record Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. These defendants have a large impact on the proportion of unknowns in the data, therefore they have been removed from the data in order to enable a focus on those defendants that are more likely to have been in contact with police and are more likely to have had their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status recorded.

Other offence categories that may also be affected by this issue are: public order offences; offences against justice procedures, government security and operations; and miscellaneous offences. This should be taken into account when comparing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous data for these offence categories. For further information on the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in the Criminal Courts collection (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 49-52).


Queensland

In 2010-11, 708 (14%) defendants in the Higher Courts in Queensland identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

The proportion of males and females varied for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants when compared to non-Indigenous defendants, with 19% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants being female compared to 13% of non-Indigenous defendants.

There was also variation when comparing offence categories. The three main offence categories for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants adjudicated in Queensland were: acts intended to cause injury (43%), sexual assault (16%) and robbery and extortion (9%). For non-Indigenous defendants the three main offence categories were: acts intended to cause injury (23%), illicit drugs (20%), and sexual assault (17%).

In 2010-11, 469 (83%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants proven guilty were sentenced to custodial orders and 2,209 (77%) non-Indigenous defendants were sentenced to custodial orders (Table 2.12).


Northern Territory

In 2010-11, 193 (59%) defendants in the Higher Courts in the Northern Territory identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

The proportion of males and females was similar for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants and non-Indigenous defendants: 9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants were female compared with 8% of non-Indigenous defendants.

Between the two populations, there was variation in the main offence categories. In the Northern Territory two offence categories accounted for almost three-quarters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander defendants adjudicated: acts intended to cause injury (48%) and sexual assault (21%). For non-Indigenous defendants in the Northern Territory there were three main offence categories: illicit drugs (34%), sexual assault (23%), and offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations (18%).

In the Northern Territory in 2010-11, almost all defendants proven guilty were sentenced to custodial orders. The proportion was 96% for both guilty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants and guilty non-Indigenous defendants (Table 2.12).


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