NATIONAL CRIMINAL COURTS STATISTICS
This publication presents statistics about defendants dealt with by the criminal jurisdiction of the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate), Magistrates' and Children's Courts of Australia, for the period 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010. Defendants include persons charged with criminal offences for each court level as well as organisations charged with criminal offences for the Higher and Magistrates' Courts. The statistics are based on data extracted from administrative records held by state and territory agencies responsible for courts administration. The statistics have been compiled according to national standards and classifications (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 19-27).
The data in the Criminal Courts collection counts defendants finalised in the court, that is, a person or organisation for whom all charges have been formally completed so that the defendant ceases to be an item of work to be dealt with. If a person or organisation is a defendant in a number of criminal cases dealt with and finalised separately within the courts during the reference period they will be counted more than once in the reference period, either within the same court level or across court levels. For more information about the counting methodology (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 28-47).
Prior to 2009-10, data for the New South Wales Magistrates' and Children's Courts were based on finalised appearances rather than finalised defendants. This counting method resulted in slightly higher population counts for New South Wales than if the finalised defendant was counted. From August 2009, the New South Wales data conforms to the national counting unit of a finalised defendant. (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 13-14 and 63-64).
The statistics provide a profile of the characteristics of defendants, as well as data about the offences for which they have been charged, their guilt or innocence, and sentence outcomes for those proven guilty.
The Explanatory Notes provide detailed information on the data sources, comparability, definitions, counting rules and other technical matters associated with the ABS criminal courts data collection.
For ease of reading, some terms have been abbreviated throughout this publication: 'principal sentence' is referred to as 'sentence' and 'principal offence' is referred to as 'offence'. The term 'and related offences' has also been omitted for the following offence categories: homicide and related offences; sexual assault and related offences; robbery, extortion and related offences; theft and related offences; and fraud, deception and related offences.