4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2011   
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In 2009-10, there were a total of 661,713 defendants finalised in Australia's criminal courts: 16,834 in the Higher Courts; 603,604 in the Magistrates' Courts; and 41,275 in the Children's Courts (Table 1.1). Between 2008-09 and 2009-10, the number of defendants finalised across all criminal courts decreased by 5%, the first time decreases have been recorded in all court levels since 2006-07 (Table 1.2).

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, 2006-07 to 2009-10
Graph: DEFENDANTS FINALISED, 2006–07 to 2009–10

In 2009-10, male defendants decreased by 5% (from 540,817 in 2008-09 to 512,278), while female defendants decreased by 3% (from 144,255 in 2008-09 to 139,610). The number of organisations heard by the courts decreased by 20% over this same period (from 7,010 in 2008-09 to 5,629).

Of those defendants adjudicated, 96% were proven guilty (the same proportion as in 2008-09). Of those proven guilty, 11% (60,665) were sentenced to a custodial order.

Of all defendants finalised, 8% had their cases withdrawn (Table 1.2).

At the state and territory level, Queensland contributed the most to the defendant population with 28% (184,307), followed by New South Wales with 25% (168,758), then Western Australia with 17% (113,199) (Table 1.3).

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Proportion of defendants by states and territories
Graph: DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Proportion of defendants by states and territories

Across the jurisdictions, the proportions of defendants who were male ranged from 80% in South Australia, to 75% in Western Australia.

The proportions of all finalised defendants proven guilty also varied across the jurisdictions. In Queensland 91% of defendants were proven guilty, while in the Australian Capital Territory 65% of defendants were proven guilty.

Custodial orders were issued to 32% of defendants proven guilty in the Northern Territory and 16% of those proven guilty in the Australian Capital Territory; higher than the national average of 11%. Western Australia had the lowest proportion of custodial orders at 6%.

In the Australian Capital Territory, 21% of cases were withdrawn by the prosecution, compared to 17% in South Australia and 2% in Tasmania (Table 1.3).


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