In 2008-09, there were a total of 695,331 defendants finalised in Australia's criminal courts: 17,207 in the Higher Courts; 635,926 in the Magistrates' Courts; and 42,198 in the Children's Courts. Between 2007-08 and 2008-09, the number of defendants finalised across all criminal courts increased by 3%.
In 2008-09, male defendants increased by 4% (from 521,404 in 2007-08 to 540,817), while female defendants increased by less than 1% (from 143,862 in 2007-08 to 144,255). The number of organisations heard by the courts increased 3% over this same period (from 6,819 in 2007-08 to 7,010).
Across all court levels, 96% of defendants adjudicated were proven guilty (the same proportion as in 2007-08). Of those proven guilty, 10% (62,165) were sentenced to a custodial order.
Of all defendants finalised, 7% had their cases withdrawn.
Across the jurisdictions, the proportions of defendants who were male ranged from 80% in the Northern Territory, to 73% in Tasmania.
The proportions of all finalised defendants proven guilty also varied across the jurisdictions. In Queensland and Western Australia 91% of defendants were proven guilty, while in the Australian Capital Territory 66% of defendants were proven guilty.
Custodial orders were issued to 32% of defendants proven guilty in the Northern Territory and 15% of those proven guilty in the Australian Capital Territory; higher than the national average of 10%. Western Australia had the lowest proportion of custodial orders at 7%.
In the Australian Capital Territory, 25% of cases were withdrawn by the prosecution, compared to 12% in South Australia and 3% in Tasmania.
Of the total finalised defendants, 2% (15,386) had one or more federal offences.