4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2011   
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Contents >> Higher Courts >> ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS

Limited data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants are presented for the first time in this publication. In the Higher Courts this information is available for defendants finalised in the Higher Courts in Queensland and the Northern Territory only.

The majority of defendants in the Higher Courts with a traffic offence as their principal offence have an unknown Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status recorded. This is because most traffic offences are related to fines issued by road traffic authorities. These defendants have a large impact on the proportion of unknowns in the data, therefore they have been removed from the data in order to enable a focus on those defendants that are more likely to have been in contact with police and are more likely to have had their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status recorded.

Other offence categories that may also be affected by this issue are: public order; offences against justice procedures, government security and operations; and miscellaneous offences. This should be taken into account when comparing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous data for these offence categories. For further information on the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in the Criminal Courts collection (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 48-51).


Queensland

In 2009-10, 801 (15%) defendants in the Higher Courts in Queensland had identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

The proportion of males and females varied for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants when compared to non-Indigenous defendants, with 22% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants being female compared to 14% of non-Indigenous defendants.

There was also variation when comparing offence categories. The three main offence categories for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in Queensland were: acts intended to cause injury (46%); sexual assault (20%); and unlawful entry with intent (9%). For non-Indigenous defendants the three main offence categories were: acts intended to cause injury (26%); sexual assault (19%); and illicit drugs (17%).

In 2009-10, 508 (85%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants proven guilty were sentenced to custodial orders and 2,206 (75%) non-Indigenous defendants were sentenced to custodial orders (Table 2.11).


Northern Territory

In 2009-10, 204 (56%) defendants in the Higher Courts in Northern Territory had identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

The proportion of males and females varied for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants when compared to non-Indigenous defendants, with 7% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants being female compared to 5% of non-Indigenous defendants.

There was also variation when comparing offence categories. In the Northern Territory two offence categories accounted for almost three quarters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander defendants: acts intended to cause injury (48%); sexual assault (25%). For non-Indigenous defendants in the Northern Territory there were three main offence categories: illicit drugs (36%); and acts intended to cause injury and sexual assault (both 21%).

In the Northern Territory in 2009-10, almost all (98%) of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants proven guilty were sentenced to custodial orders. This was also the same proportion for non-Indigenous defendants proven guilty (Table 2.11).


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