4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/02/2019   
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HIGHER COURTS

During 2017–18, there were 18,958 defendants finalised in the Higher Courts, an increase of 8% (1,337 defendants) on the previous year. (Table 1)

FIGURE 2: NUMBER OF DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Higher Courts, Method of finalisation, Principal sentence, 2017–18
FIGURE 2: NUMBER OF DEFENDANTS FINALISED(a), Higher Courts, Method of finalisation, Principal sentence, 2017–18

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.


Summary characteristics

Of all defendants finalised in the Higher Courts during 2017–18:

  • 87% had their matter(s) adjudicated (16,508), most of whom were proven guilty (15,348)
  • 11% had their matter(s) withdrawn by the prosecution (2,101)
  • Over half were aged between 20 and 34 years (9,813)
  • 86% were male (16,287), the highest proportional representation of males by court level. (Table 1)

Principal offence

During 2017–18, around three in five defendants finalised in the Higher Courts had a principal offence in the following offence categories – all of which increased from 2016–17:
  • Deal or traffic illicit drug offences – 22% (4,245) – an increase of 9% (334)
  • Assault – 19% (3,614) – an increase of 18% (541)
  • Sexual assault and related offences – 18% (3,429) – an increase of 3% (92). This increase was mostly due to non-assaultive sexual offences, up by 13% (84) to 729 defendants. (Table 1)

Principal sentence

Of the 15,348 defendants with charges proven in the Higher Courts during 2017–18, the majority (71%, 10,904) were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution. (Table 7)

Of those sentenced to custody in a correctional institution:
  • A majority (89%) were male
  • The median sentence length1 was two and a half years. (Tables 9 and 57)

The principal offences most commonly sentenced to custody in a correctional institution in the Higher Courts were:
  • Homicide and related offences (88%, 297 defendants)
  • Dangerous/negligent acts (82%, 311 defendants)
  • Robbery/extortion (82%, 1,171 defendants). (Table 10)

The number of defendants sentenced to custody in a correctional institution increased by 10% (1,000 defendants) during 2017–18. (Table 7)

Footnotes

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