4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2014-15 Quality Declaration
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/03/2016
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Illicit drug offences continue to rise
The number of defendants finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts for Illicit drug offences is at the highest level in the past five years, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics William Milne said "There were 59,341 defendants finalised with a principal offence of Illicit drug offences in 2014-15, an increase of 51 per cent (20,032 defendants) on 2010-11 figures.
"One in ten (10 per cent) defendants were finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts for Illicit drug offences in 2014-15, compared to seven per cent of defendants in 2010-11," Mr Milne said.
“In 2014-15, three-quarters (75 per cent) of defendants finalised for Illicit drug offences were aged less than 40 years.”
More than half (58 per cent) of those finalised for Illicit drug offences in 2014-15 were for Possession and/or use of illicit drugs and a further 17 per cent were finalised for Dealing or trafficking illicit drugs.
Almost nine in ten (89 per cent) of defendants finalised for Illicit drug offences were proven guilty. Of those proven guilty, the majority (59 per cent) were sentenced to a monetary order, while a further seven per cent were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution with a median sentence length of just over one year (13 months). The median fine imposed for defendants proven guilty of Illicit drug offences was $400.
A total of 588,167 defendants had their cases finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts in 2014-15. Over one-third (35 per cent) of these were finalised for Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences, decreasing from 39 per cent of all defendants finalised in 2010-11.
The Criminal Courts Australia annual publication contains national information on defendants finalised in the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate), Magistrates' and Children's criminal courts between 1 July and 30 June each year. Details are provided on the characteristics and outcomes of finalised defendants, and are also presented for each state and territory, and for each of the three court levels.
Further information can be found in Criminal Courts, Australia, 2014-15 (cat. no. 4513.0) available for free download from the ABS website - https://www.abs.gov.au.
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