4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2014   
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27 March 2014
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Court statistics show traffic offences have slowed down

Over a third of court cases finalised during 2012-13 were for traffic offences, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"Despite a fall of six per cent, traffic offences were still the most common principal offence in Australia with 209,859 defendants," said William Milne from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, "which was over one-third of all finalised defendants."

"The majority of traffic offences were either alcohol or driver's licence related, with speeding making up about nine per cent of the total.

"The largest increase in the number of defendants was for illicit drug offences which were up by nine per cent, from 40,593 to 44,415 defendants.

In total, 561,554 defendants had their cases finalised by the courts in 2012-13, which was down two per cent from the previous year.

"This is the fourth consecutive year that defendant numbers have fallen," said Mr Milne.

Of those defendants who were proven guilty, 89 per cent were given a non-custodial order such as a fine, 7 per cent were sentenced to jail, and a further 4 per cent were given a fully suspended sentence. The proportion given a non-custodial order has remained stable at 89 per cent since 2008-09.

Further information can be found in Criminal Courts, Australia, 2012-13 (cat. no. 4513.0) available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au)

Media notes:
  • Offences relate to the most serious charge faced by a defendant.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.