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The majority of states and territories had increases in the numbers of defendants finalised in the Higher Courts in 2008-09. Tasmania (39%), the Northern Territory (29%), the Australian Capital Territory (15%) and South Australia (12%) had the largest increases, while Victoria and Queensland were the only states where the number of defendants finalised decreased (down 10% and 4% respectively).
Charges withdrawn by the prosecution
Of the 2,347 defendants whose charges were withdrawn by the prosecution in 2008-09, the greatest number of these defendants had charges for sexual assault (670) and acts intended to cause injury (603).
Principal offences with the largest proportion of defendants finalised by charges withdrawn were sexual assault (22%) and abduction, harassment and other offences against the person (21%). In contrast, 7% of defendants facing charges of illicit drug offences, and 4% of defendants facing charges of miscellaneous offences, had their charges withdrawn.
Tasmania (28%) and South Australia (26%) had larger proportions of defendants finalised by charges withdrawn than the national average of 14%. New South Wales and Victoria had the smallest proportion of defendants finalised by this method (both 5%).