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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 >> Introduction >> SUMMARY


In 2010-11, there were a total of 586,391 defendants finalised in Australia's criminal courts: 16,298 in the Higher Courts; 533,857 in the Magistrates' Courts; and 36,236 in the Children's Courts (Table 1.1). Between 2009-10 and 2010-11, the number of defendants finalised across all criminal courts decreased by 11%, resulting from decreases in all three court levels (Table 1.2).

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, 2006-07 to 2010-11
Graph: DEFENDANTS FINALISED, 2006–07 to 2010–11

In 2010-11, male defendants decreased by 12% (from 512,278 in 2009-10 to 452,491), while female defendants decreased by 11% (from 139,610 in 2009-10 to 124,993). The number of organisations heard by the courts decreased by 6% (from 5,629 in 2009-10 to 5,309).

Of those defendants adjudicated, 97% were proven guilty, a small increase from 2009-10. Of those proven guilty, 11% (55,663) were sentenced to a custodial order, the same proportion as 2009-10.

Of all defendants finalised, 8% had their cases withdrawn (Table 1.1).

At the state and territory level, Queensland contributed the most to the defendant population with 28% (164,367), followed by New South Wales with 27% (155,630) and Western Australia with 17% (97,483) (Table 1.3).

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Proportion of defendants by states and territories
Graph: DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Proportion of defendants by states and territories

Across the jurisdictions, the proportions of defendants who were male ranged from 81% in South Australia to 75% in Western Australia.

The highest proportions of cases withdrawn by the prosecution were in the Australian Capital Territory (21%) and South Australia (20%) and the lowest were in Tasmania (2%) and Western Australia (5%) (Table 1.3).

The proportions of all finalised defendants proven guilty also varied across the jurisdictions. In Queensland and Western Australia 90% of defendants were proven guilty, while in the Australian Capital Territory 67% of defendants were proven guilty.

Custodial orders were issued to 33% of defendants proven guilty in the Northern Territory, 19% of those proven guilty in the Australian Capital Territory and 15% of those proven guilty in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania; all higher than the national average of 11%. Western Australia had the lowest proportion of custodial orders at 6%.

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