The number of defendants finalised in Victoria increased by 4% (3,899) from 104,935 defendants in 2013–14 to 108,834 defendants in 2014–15. This is compared with a national increase of 2% (9,015).
Victoria contributed 19% to the national total and was the third highest contributor after Queensland and New South Wales. (Tables 1, 2 and 18)
In 2014–15, of all defendants finalised in Victoria:
- 76% (82,213) were male;
- 22% (24,377) were female; and
- 2% (2,238) were organisations. (Table 2)
Of the 108,834 defendants finalised in Victoria:
- 93% (101,106) were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts;
- 5% (5,610) were finalised in the Children's Courts; and
- 2% (2,112) were finalised in the Higher Courts.
Compared with the previous year, the number of defendants finalised in the:
- Magistrates' Courts increased by 4% (4,138);
- Children's Courts decreased by 2% (97); and
- Higher Courts decreased by 7% (149). (Table 18)
In 2014–15, the median age of defendants finalised in Victoria was 32 years, above the national median of 31 years.
Young defendants (aged 10–19 years) comprised 9% (9,499) of defendants finalised. (Table 2)
In 2014–15, the three most common principal offences for all defendants finalised in Victoria were:
- Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (39% or 42,008);
- Acts intended to cause injury (13% or 14,553); and
- Theft and related offences (8% or 8,985).
The greatest increase in the number of defendants finalised in Victoria in 2014–15 occurred amongst those with a principal offence of:
- Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (4% or 1,758); followed by
- Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations (21% or 1,096).
The greatest decrease was recorded for Public order offences (down 9% or 260), followed by Fraud, deception and related offences (down 7% or 244). (Table 18)
METHOD OF FINALISATION
Of the 108,834 defendants finalised in Victoria in 2014–15:
DEFENDANTS PROVEN GUILTY
- 87% (94,969) were proven guilty;
- 11% (12,329) had their charges withdrawn by the prosecution;
- 1% (1,065) were acquitted; and
- Less than 1% (466) were transferred to another court level. (Table 2)
Of the 94,969 defendants proven guilty in 2014–15:
- 90% (85,369) pleaded guilty;
- 8% (7,310) were found guilty ex-parte; and
- 2% (2,292) were found guilty by the court. (Table 18)
Of those defendants proven guilty:
- Nine in ten were sentenced to a non-custodial order (91% or 86,324); and
- One in ten were sentenced to a custodial order (9% or 8,646).
There were 5,743 defendants sentenced to custody in a correctional institution in Victoria in 2014–15. This represented 6% of all finalised defendants proven guilty. (Table 7)
The most common principal offences amongst these defendants, excluding life and indeterminate imprisonment, were:
- Acts intended to cause injury (24% or 1,385) with a median sentence length of 4 months;
- Illicit drug offences (11% or 644) with a median sentence length of 7 months; and
- Theft and related offences (10% or 591) with a median sentence length of 2 months. (Table 47d)
The median sentence length or fine amount for those who were found guilty and sentenced to:
- Custody in a correctional institution was 4 months, which is below the national median of 7 months; (Table 47d)
- A community service order was 100 hours; and (Table 48)
- A fine was $500. (Table 49)