There were 172,367 finalised defendants in Queensland in 2014–15. This was the highest number of finalised defendants of any state or territory in 2014–15 and accounted for 29% of the national total. (Table 2)
The number of finalised defendants in Queensland decreased by 1% (1,288) compared with 2013–14. This is compared with a national increase in 2014–15 of 2% (9,015). (Tables 1 and 22)
In 2014–15, of all defendants finalised in Queensland:
- 75% (129,009) were male;
- 24% (41,862) were female; and
- less than 1% (557) were organisations. (Table 2)
Of defendants finalised in Queensland:
- 93% (161,023) were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts;
- 4% (6,823) were finalised in the Children's Courts; and
- 3% (4,523) were finalised in the Higher Courts.
Compared with the previous year, the number of defendants finalised in the:
- Magistrates' Courts decreased by 1% (1,052);
- Children's Courts decreased by 7% (527); and
- Higher Courts increased by 7% (297). (Table 22)
The median age of finalised defendants in Queensland was 30 years, below the national median of 31 years.
Young defendants (aged 10–19 years) comprised 13% (22,883) of finalised defendants. This was the largest proportion of young defendants in any state or territory. (Table 2)
In 2014–15, defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander represented 22% (23,746) of all finalised defendants in Queensland (excluding traffic offences and organisations).
The most common offence amongst defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander was Public order offences (29% or 6,810 defendants). In comparison, the most common principal offence amongst non-Indigenous defendants was Illicit drug offences (26% or 20,789).
In 2014–15, 14% (3,070) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants proven guilty received a principal sentence of custody in a correctional institution, compared with 8% (5,680) 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 (30% or 51,946);
- Illicit drug offences (14% or 23,970, the highest proportion of any state or territory); and
- Public order offences (11% or 19,069).
The greatest decrease in the number of defendants finalised in Queensland in 2014–15 occurred amongst those with a principal offence of:
- Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (down 13% or 7,431); followed by
- Public order offences (down 6% or 1,203).
Defendants with a principal offence of Illicit drug offences and Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations experienced the largest increases in 2014–15 (up 19% or 3,850 and 11% or 1,918 respectively). (Table 22)
METHOD OF FINALISATION
Of the 172,367 defendants finalised in Queensland in 2014–15:
DEFENDANTS PROVEN GUILTY
- 90% (155,389) were proven guilty. This was the second highest proportion of defendants proven guilty nationally, following Western Australia;
- 7% (11,828) had their charges withdrawn by the prosecution;
- 2% (3,751) were transferred to another court level; and
- 1% (1,300) were acquitted. (Table 2)
Of the 155,389 defendants proven guilty in 2014–15:
- 84% (130,235) pleaded guilty;
- 13% (19,474) were found guilty ex-parte; and
- 4% (5,679) were found guilty by the court. (Table 22)
Of those defendants proven guilty:
- Nine in ten were sentenced to a non-custodial order (90% or 140,299); and
- One in ten were sentenced to a custodial order (10% or 15,093).
There were 9,976 defendants sentenced to custody in a correctional institution in Queensland 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 (18% or 1,797), with a median sentence length of 12 months;
- Illicit drug offences (14% or 1,352), with a median sentence length of 9 months; and
- Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations (13% or 1,308), with a median sentence length of 6 months. (Table 47d)
The median sentence length or fine amount for defendants proven guilty and sentenced to:
- Custody in a correctional institution was 9 months; (Table 47d)
- A community service order was 60 hours; and (Table 48)
- A fine was $400. (Table 49)