4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/03/2017   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


INDIGENOUS STATUS

This chapter presents data about defendants finalised in the criminal courts in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory in 2015–16 based on their Indigenous status. Data for other states and territories were not of sufficient quality and/or did not meet ABS standards for self-identification for national reporting in 2015–16.

Defendants with a principal offence of Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences or Dangerous and negligent driving offences have been excluded from Indigenous status data within this publication. Organisations are also excluded. For more information see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 59-62.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEFENDANTS

In 2015–16, the number of defendants finalised who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander across the selected states and territories was:
  • 11,064 (13% of all defendants) in New South Wales;
  • 23,938 (22%) in Queensland;
  • 4,731 (18%) in South Australia; and
  • 6,353 (78%) in the Northern Territory. (Table 12)

COURT LEVEL

In 2015–16, the proportion of defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander within the Children’s Courts was:
  • 30% (1,777) in New South Wales;
  • Almost half (46% or 3,115) in Queensland;
  • Over one-third (36% or 666) in South Australia; and
  • Almost nine in ten (89% or 773) in the Northern Territory. (Table 13)

SEX

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female defendants accounted for:
  • 25% of defendants in New South Wales, compared with 18% for non-Indigenous defendants;
  • 31% of defendants in Queensland, compared with 24% for non-Indigenous defendants;
  • 27% of defendants in South Australia, compared with 18% for non-Indigenous defendants; and
  • 20% of defendants in the Northern Territory, compared with 19% for non-Indigenous defendants. (Table 12)

Graph Image for PROPORTION OF DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Sex by Indigenous Status, Selected states and territories, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia


PRINCIPAL OFFENCE

In 2015–16, Acts intended to cause injury was the most common principal offence for defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous defendants in:
  • New South Wales (38% or 4,246 compared with 33% or 21,363 respectively);
  • South Australia (32% or 1,511 compared with 24% or 4,685 respectively); and
  • The Northern Territory (41% or 2,601 compared with 25% or 406 respectively).

In Queensland, the most common principal offence amongst defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander was Public order offences (24% or 5,696). In contrast, the most common principal offence amongst non-Indigenous defendants finalised in the state was Illicit drug offences (27%, or 21,772 defendants). (Table 12)

Graph Image for PROPORTION OF DEFENDANTS FINALISED, All Courts, Selected principal offence by Indigenous status, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia


METHOD OF FINALISATION

In 2015–16, the proportion of defendants who were proven guilty was greater for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants compared to non-Indigenous defendants. The difference was greatest in South Australia where 70% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants were proven guilty, compared with 63% of non-Indigenous defendants. (Table 12)

Graph Image for PROPORTION OF DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Selected method of finalisation by Indigenous status, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia


PRINCIPAL SENTENCE

In 2015–16, the proportion of defendants who were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution was greater amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants compared with non-Indigenous defendants across all selected states and territories.

The difference was greatest in the Northern Territory where over half (59% or 3,080) of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants proven guilty were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution, compared with 33% (397) of non-Indigenous defendants. (Table 12)

SENTENCE LENGTH

The median sentence length for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants sentenced to custody in a correctional institution (excluding those sentenced to life or indeterminate sentence) was less than that of non-Indigenous defendants in:
  • Queensland (6 months compared with 9 months respectively);
  • South Australia (3.5 months compared with 9 months respectively); and
  • The Northern Territory (3 months compared with 4 months respectively).

In New South Wales, median sentence length was 12 months for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous defendants. (Table 51)

Graph Image for MEDIAN LENGTH OF CUSTODY IN A CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, Selected states and territories by Indigenous status, 2015-16

Source(s): Criminal Courts, Australia