|Page tools: Print Page Print All RSS Search this Product|
In 2009-10, those finalised with a principal offence of theft formed the largest proportion of defendants (20%) in the Children's Courts. This was also the largest for 2008-09. This was followed by: acts intended to cause injury (19%); unlawful entry with intent (13%); and public order and traffic offences (both 10%). Combined, these principal offences accounted for almost three-quarters (72%) of defendants appearing before the Children's Courts in 2009-10.
In 2009-10, 79% (32,663) of defendants heard in the Children's Courts were males, while females accounted for 21% (8,580). The number of males decreased 3% from the 33,594 defendants finalised in 2008-09, while the number of females increased by less than 1% (up from 8,530) (Table 4.2).
The proportion of males and females was similar across the states and territories. Queensland had the lowest proportion of males (76%) and New South Wales had the highest proportion of males (81%).
The proportion of males proven guilty was similar to the proportion of females proven guilty (78% and 76% respectively) and both males and females had the same proportion of defendants acquitted (4%) (Table 4.3).
The largest proportion of defendants finalised in the Children's Courts were aged 17 years at the time of finalisation (25% or 10,448), followed by those aged 16 years (24% or 9,818). Those aged 10 to 12 years comprised 3% (1,072).
The largest proportion of males finalised were aged 17 years (26%), followed by those aged 16 years (24%). The age profile for females was younger with the largest proportion of females finalised aged 16 years (24%) followed by those aged 17 years (22%) (Table 4.6).
Charges withdrawn by the prosecution
Defendants finalised through charges being withdrawn by the prosecution decreased by 9% from 4,334 in 2008-09 to 3,942 in 2009-10 (Table 4.2).
During 2009-10, principal offences with the largest number of defendants finalised through charges withdrawn by the prosecution were (Table 4.5):
The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory (both 15%); and South Australia and Victoria (both 13%) had larger proportions of defendants finalised through charges withdrawn than the national average of 10%. Tasmania had the smallest proportion of defendants finalised through charges withdrawn (5%) (Table 4.3).
In 2009-10, 1,479 or 4% of defendants finalised in the Children's Courts in Australia were acquitted.
For those acquitted, the largest proportion of defendants had the following principal offences: acts intended to cause injury (27%), theft (18%), public order offences (14%), unlawful entry with intent (9%) and property damage (8%) (Table 4.5).
The highest proportions of defendants acquitted were in Tasmania (15%) and the Australian Capital Territory (11%). South Australia had the lowest proportion at less than 1% (Table 4.3).
Defendants proven guilty
Defendants are referred to as 'convicted' where they were proven guilty of at least one of the final charges laid against them in a court. This includes defendants who pleaded guilty or are found guilty, including those found guilty ex-parte.
Defendants proven guilty in the Children's Courts accounted for 31,990 (78%) of defendants finalised in 2009-10.
For those proven guilty, the largest proportion of defendants had the following principal offences: theft (20%), acts intended to cause injury (19%), unlawful entry with intent (13%), traffic offences (11%) and public order offences (10%) (Table 4.5).
Queensland had the largest proportion of defendants proven guilty (88%), while South Australia had the smallest (62%) (Table 4.3).