4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2011   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Children's Courts >> DEFENDANTS FINALISED

DEFENDANTS FINALISED

Defendants can have their charges finalised via different methods (see Appendix 2). The main categories of finalisation are: adjudicated finalisations, where the court has made a finding as to the guilt or otherwise of the defendant; finalisation by transfer between court levels; withdrawal by the prosecution; and other methods such as defendant deceased or unfit to plead.

Since the first Children's Courts collection in 2006-07, the number of defendants finalised has remained steady, ranging from a low of 39,412 in 2007-08 to a high of 42,198 in 2008-09. Four jurisdictions had decreases in the numbers of defendants finalised in the Children's Courts in 2009-10: New South Wales (12%), Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory (both 4%) and Western Australia (2%). The remaining four states and territories had increases: Queensland (11%), the Northern Territory (3%), South Australia (2%) and Tasmania (less than 1%) (Table 4.10).

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



Principal offence

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.

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Selected principal offence
Graph: DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Selected principal offence



Sex

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).


Age

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):
  • theft (1,023)
  • acts intended to cause injury (844); and
  • unlawful entry with intent (429).

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).


Defendants acquitted

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).

DEFENDANTS ACQUITTED, Selected principal offence
Graph: DEFENDANTS ACQUITTED, Selected principal offence


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 ACQUITTED, State and territory proportions of defendants finalised
Graph: DEFENDANTS ACQUITTED, State and territory proportions of defendants finalised



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).

DEFENDANTS PROVEN GUILTY, Selected principal offence
Graph: DEFENDANTS PROVEN GUILTY, Selected principal offence


Queensland had the largest proportion of defendants proven guilty (88%), while South Australia had the smallest (62%) (Table 4.3).





Previous PageNext Page