4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/03/2017   
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2 March 2017
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Increase in traffic offences finalised in court

The rise in defendants finalised for traffic offences is behind the overall increase in the number of defendants finalised in court, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In 2015-16, there was a total of 602,759 defendants finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts. This represented an increase of 3 per cent (14,592 defendants) since 2014-15.

ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics William Milne said that the majority of the increase in the number of defendants finalised in 2015-16 was accounted for by traffic and vehicle regulatory offences, up by 5 per cent on the previous year, in particular, for drug-driving and drink-driving.

“According to police annual reports there has been an increased focus in a number of state and territories on drivers under the influence, particularly drugs, leading to a rise in the number of defendants prosecuted for this offence,” he said.

The number of defendants finalised for offences related to exceeding the limit accounted for 12 per cent (72,508 defendants) of the total number of defendants finalised in 2015-16.

“Some 99 per cent of defendants finalised for exceeding the limit were proven guilty in 2015-16,” Mr Milne said.

The increase in finalised traffic offences was partially offset by a decrease in the number of defendants finalised for a principal offence of public order offences (down by 17 per cent or 6,621 defendants). The number finalised for this offence has been decreasing since 2008-09.

For the first time, this publication includes experimental statistics on defendants who have been finalised for one or more family and domestic violence related offences. In addition to providing a separate data cube for these statistics, the ABS has released commentary and explanatory material. This follows release of information about offenders and victims of family and domestic violence in Recorded Crime – Victims (cat. no. 4510.0) and Recorded Crime – Offenders (cat. no. 4519.0).

Further information can be found in Criminal Courts, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 4513.0) available for free download from the ABS website: https://www.abs.gov.au/.

Media notes:
  • Offences relate to the most serious charge faced by a defendant.
  • A defendant finalised is a person or organisation for whom all charges for one case have been formally completed so that the defendant ceases to be an item of work.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
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