ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS
Limited data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in the Magistrates' Courts are presented for the third time in this publication. This information is available for defendants finalised in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory since 2009-10 and for South Australia for the first time this year.
More information about data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants in the Criminal Courts is provided at Explanatory Notes 49-52.
In the Magistrates' Courts, the majority of defendants with a traffic offence as their principal offence have an unknown Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. This is a consequence of the issuing of fines for traffic offences by law enforcement and road traffic authorities. These authorities do not collect or record Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status due to a lack of direct contact with the defendant to ask them to self-identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. These defendants have a large impact on the proportion of unknowns in the data, therefore they have been removed from statistics relating to Indigenous Status. This is to focus on those persons that are expected to have been in contact with police and therefore would be more likely to have had their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status recorded.
Other offence categories that may also be affected by this issue to a lesser extent are: public order offences; offences against justice; and miscellaneous offences. This should be taken into account when comparing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous data for these offence categories.
The data in this section are drawn from the Criminal Courts, Indigenous Status data cube.