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4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/03/2015   
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KEY FINDINGS

INCREASE IN FINALISED DEFENDANTS

The number of finalised defendants increased in 2013-14 after decreasing the previous four years. (Table 1)

In 2013-14, there were 579,152 defendants finalised in Australia's criminal courts. This represented an increase of 3% (17,592 defendants) compared with 2012-13. (Table 1)

Graph Image for NUMBER OF DEFENDANTS FINALISED, All Courts, 2009-10 to 2013-14

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia


PRINCIPAL OFFENCE

Illicit drug offences

Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, the number of defendants finalised with a principal offence of Illicit drug offences increased by 15% or 6,442 defendants. This increase was driven by an increase in Possess and/or use illicit drugs (3,085 defendants or 12% compared with 2012-13). Numbers of defendants finalised for Illicit drug offences have been increasing since 2010-11. (Table 3)

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Principal offence, Illicit drug offences, 2009-10 to 2013-14


Principal offence
2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14

101 Import or export illicit drugs
368
380
458
464
546
102 Deal or traffic in illicit drugs
7 569
7 224
7 147
7 637
8 834
103 Manufacture or cultivate illicit drugs
6 008
6 113
5 909
5 521
6 076
104 Possess and/or use illicit drugs
22 842
21 487
22 630
25 324
28 409
109 Other illicit drug offences
4 296
4 110
4 459
5 470
6 995
10 Illicit drug offences(a)
41 087
39 309
40 593
44 412
50 854

(a) Includes ANZSOC Group 1000 Illicit drug offences, n.f.d.


Illicit drug offences accounted for 9% of the total number of finalised defendants in 2013-14, compared with 6% in 2009-10. (Table 3)

One in five (20%) or 10,209 defendants finalised for Illicit drug offences were aged between 20 and 24 years. (Table 5)

The median fine imposed for defendants proven guilty of Illicit drug offences was $400. This varied across states and territories, from a low of $330 in New South Wales to a high of $703 in South Australia. (Table 46)

Other principal offences

Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, increases in other offences included:
  • Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations (3,713 defendants or 10%);
  • Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (2,261 defendants or 1%); and
  • Acts intended to cause injury (2,038 defendants or 3%). (Table 3)
Increases in Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations were driven by increases in Breach of violence and non-violence restraining orders (1,660 defendants or 12%). Numbers of finalised defendants with this offence have been increasing since 2009-10. (Table 3)

Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences remained the principal offence accounting for the greatest proportion of all finalised defendants (212,116 defendants or 37%). The next most common principal offence was Acts intended to cause injury (69,016 defendants or 12%). (Table 3)

COURT LEVEL

The Magistrates' Courts accounted for 92% (534,607) of all finalised defendants in 2013-14, while the Children's Courts and Higher Courts accounted for 5% (29,597 defendants) and 3% (14,941 defendants) respectively. (Table 1)

The number of defendants in the Children's Courts decreased by 1,958 defendants (6%) compared to 2012-13, and the number in the Higher Courts decreased by 159 defendants (1%) over the same period. The number of defendants in the Children's and Higher Courts has been decreasing over the last five years. (Table 1)

Graph Image for NUMBER OF DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Higher and Children's Courts, 2009-10 to 2013-14

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia



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