4513.0 - Higher Criminal Courts, Australia, 2000-01  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2002   
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  • Higher Criminal Courts Dealing With Defendants Faster: ABS (Media Release)


June 4, 2002
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Higher Criminal Courts Dealing With Defendants Faster: ABS

Australia's Higher Criminal Courts were, overall, one week faster on average in finalising defendants in 2000-01 than in the previous year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The median time taken by Australia's Higher Courts to finalise defendants was 21 weeks in 2000-01. The largest decrease was in New South Wales with a 9 week (26%) reduction.

Graph - Defendants finalised, change in median duration, 1999-2000 - 2000-01

For defendants who had their cases finalised in the Higher Courts during 2000-01:
  • One in two of all defendants were aged between 17 and 29 years. Males represented 87% of total defendants;
  • Over three-quarters (77%) were proven guilty (either pleaded guilty or were declared guilty at trial), 7% were acquitted and another 13% had their charges withdrawn by the prosecution;
  • Of the 13,722 defendants who were proven guilty, 89% pleaded guilty and the other 11% were declared guilty at trial;
  • Of the 5,459 defendants who initially pleaded not guilty (excluding Queensland where data are not available), 3,168 (58%) changed their plea to guilty during proceedings in the Higher Courts.

Media please note:

For the first time, ABS has published experimental data showing offences and penalties associated with defendants who were proven guilty or acquitted. For all States and Territories, further development work is required in order to improve the quality and coverage of the data. The ABS is continuing to work with the relevant bodies in each jurisdiction to achieve these improvements.

Further details are in Higher Criminal Courts, Australia 2000-01 (cat. no. 4513.0).