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4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2014   
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants

Data for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status of defendants are only available for the following states and territories for 2012–13: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. For more information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status data, see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 57–60.

During 2012–13, there were 11,337 defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in New South Wales (representing 14% of all finalised defendants in that state); 21,769 (24%) in Queensland; 4,933 (17%) in South Australia; and 6,008 (68%) in the Northern Territory.

Female defendants made up a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants compared to non-Indigenous defendants. The greatest difference occurred in South Australia where 29% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants were female compared to 18% of non-Indigenous defendants. (Table 8)

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants, the principal offences accounting for the largest proportion of defendants were:
  • acts intended to cause injury in the Northern Territory (45%), New South Wales (41%), and South Australia (27%); and
  • public order offences in Queensland (31%).

For non-Indigenous defendants, the principal offences accounting for the largest proportion of defendants were:
  • acts intended to cause injury in New South Wales (34%), the Northern Territory (23%), and South Australia (21%); and
  • illicit drug offences in Queensland (21%). (Table 9)

Graph Image for PROPORTION OF DEFENDANTS FINALISED(a), All Courts, Principal offence by Indigenous status

Footnote(s): (a) Excludes ANZSOC Division 14 and Subdivision 041 (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 59-60) and organisations.

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia



A higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants were proven guilty compared to non-Indigenous defendants across the four states and territories. The difference was largest in the Northern Territory where 86% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants were proven guilty compared to 77% of non-Indigenous defendants.

For those defendants proven guilty, a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants received a custodial order compared to non-Indigenous defendants. In the Northern Territory, 61% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants proven guilty were sentenced to a custodial order compared to 33% of non-Indigenous defendants. (Table 9)

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