NEW SOUTH WALES
The number of defendants finalised in New South Wales increased by 3% (3,553) from 139,847 defendants in 2013–14 to 143,427 defendants in 2014–15.
New South Wales was the second highest contributor to the total number of defendants finalised nationally (after Queensland).
Defendants finalised in New South Wales accounted for 24% of defendants finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts in 2014–15. (Tables 2 and 14)
In 2014–15, of all defendants finalised in New South Wales:
- 79% (112,920) were male;
- 19% (27,869) were female; and
- 2% (2,247) were organisations.
New South Wales had the smallest proportion of female defendants nationally. (Table 2)
Of the 143,427 defendants finalised in New South Wales:
- 93% (133,528) were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts;
- 4% (6,220) were finalised in the Children's Courts; and
- 3% (3,683) were finalised in the Higher Courts.
Compared with the previous year, the number of defendants finalised in the:
- Magistrates' Courts increased by 3% (4,223);
- Children's Courts decreased by 9% (632); and
- Higher Courts decreased by 1% (27). (Table 14)
In 2014–15, the median age of defendants finalised in New South Wales was 32 years, above the national median of 31 years.
Young defendants (aged 10–19 years) comprised 10% (14,880) of defendants finalised in New South Wales. (Table 2)
In 2014–15, defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander represented 13% (10,559) of all finalised defendants in New South Wales (excluding traffic offences and organisations).
The most common principal offence amongst both defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous defendants was Acts intended to cause injury (39% or 4,149 and 34% or 20,857 respectively).
One-quarter (25% or 2,176) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants proven guilty received a principal sentence of custody in a correctional institution, compared with 13% (6,441) of non-Indigenous defendants. (Table 11)
In 2014–15, the three most common principal offences for all finalised defendants were:
- Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (38% or 54,477);
- Acts intended to cause injury (19% or 27,446); and
- Illicit drug offences (10% or 14,956). (Table 2)
The greatest increase in the number of defendants finalised in New South Wales in 2014–15 occurred amongst those with a principal offence of:
- Illicit drug offences (up 16% or 2,107); followed by
- Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations (16% or 959).
Defendants with a principal offence of Robbery, extortion and related offences and Unlawful entry with intent/burglary break and enter experienced the largest decreases in 2014–15 (down 15% or 241 and 11% or 342 respectively). (Table 14)
METHOD OF FINALISATION
Of the 143,427 defendants finalised in New South Wales in 2014–15:
DEFENDANTS PROVEN GUILTY
- 86% (122,908) were proven guilty;
- 6% (9,093) had their charges withdrawn by the prosecution;
- 5% (6,605) were acquitted; and
- 3% (4,599) were transferred to another court level. (Table 2)
Of the 122,908 defendants proven guilty
- 70% (85,482) pleaded guilty;
- 20% (24,371) were found guilty ex-parte; and
- 10% (12,893) were found guilty by the court. (Table 14)
Of those defendants proven guilty:
- 14% (16,608) were sentenced to a custodial order; and
- 86% (106,296) were sentenced to a non-custodial order. (Table 7)
There were 10,338 defendants sentenced to custody in a correctional institution in New South Wales in 2014–15. This represented 8% 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 (28% or 2,929), with a median sentence length of 12 months;
- Theft and related offences (12% or 1,259), with a median sentence length of 6 months; and
- Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter (9% or 955), with a median sentence length of 16 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 12 months, the longest of any state or territory; (Table 47d)
- A community service order was 100 hours; and (Table 48)
- A fine was $500. (Table 49)