4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/02/2019   
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AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

DEFENDANTS FINALISED

During 2017–18, there were 7,879 defendants finalised in the Australian Capital Territory criminal courts, an increase of 46% (2,494) from 2016–17. This was the largest percentage increase across the states and territories and was largely due to failure to vote offences. (Tables 2 and 44)

The increase was larger for females (79%, 921 defendants) compared to males (37%, 1,558). Despite this, males accounted for nearly three-quarters (73%) of all defendants finalised.

The median age of all defendants was 32 years. (Tables 2 and 44)

The rate of defendants finalised was 2,171 per 100,000 persons (aged 10 years and over). (Table 56)

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Australian Capital Territory, 2010–11 to 2017–18
DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Australian Capital Territory, 2010–11 to 2017–18

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.



COURT LEVEL

During 2017–18, the majority (94%, 7,371) of defendants were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts.

From the previous year, the number of defendants finalised in each court level increased by:

  • 6% (13) in the Higher Courts
  • 48% (2,392) in the Magistrates’ Courts
  • 40% (75) in the Children’s Courts. (Table 44)


PRINCIPAL OFFENCE

During 2017–18, nearly four in five defendants had one of the following principal offences:
  • Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (40%, 3,167)
  • Offences against justice (27%, 2,101)
  • Acts intended to cause injury (11%, 898).

The largest increase occurred for Offences against justice (up from 221 to 2,101 defendants) due to failure to vote offences. A similar increase was recorded in the 2013–14 data. (Table 44)


METHOD OF FINALISATION

Of the defendants finalised during 2017–18, nearly two-thirds (63%, 4,973) had their matter(s) adjudicated, the lowest proportion of all states and territories. The majority of these defendants (4,725) were proven guilty.

Just over a third (34%, 2,661) of defendants had their matter(s) withdrawn by the prosecution (the highest proportion of all states and territories), mostly due to a large number of failure to vote offences being withdrawn during 2017–18. (Table 44)

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Proportion of matters withdrawn by the prosecution in each state and territory, 2016–17 to 2017–18
DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Proportion of matters withdrawn by the prosecution in each state and territory, 2016–17 to 2017–18

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.



PRINCIPAL SENTENCE AND SENTENCE LENGTH

Of the 4,725 defendants proven guilty during 2017–18:
  • Four in five (80%, 3,785) were sentenced to a non-custodial order, most commonly a fine (2,497), with a median amount of $200
  • One in five (937) were sentenced to a custodial order, of which the majority (66%) were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution, with a median sentence length1 of 6 months. (Tables 2, 58d and 60)

Footnotes

1 Excluding life and indeterminate imprisonment (see Explanatory Note 48).