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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NEW SOUTH WALES

DEFENDANTS FINALISED

During 2017–18, the number of defendants finalised in the New South Wales criminal courts increased by 2% (3,858) to 160,510 defendants. They comprised just over a quarter (27%) of all defendants finalised nationally, the highest proportion of all states and territories. (Tables 2 and 16)

The rate of defendants finalised during 2017–18 was-2,290 per 100,000 persons (aged 10 years and over) which remained stable from the previous year. (Table 49)

The median age of defendants was 33 years. Over three-quarters (78%) of all defendants were male. (Table 2)

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, New South Wales, 2010–11 to 2017–18
DEFENDANTS FINALISED, New South Wales, 2010–11 to 2017–18

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.



COURT LEVEL

During 2017–18, the majority (93%, 149,842) of defendants were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts.

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

  • 3% (122) in the Higher Courts
  • 2% (3,607) in the Magistrates’ Courts
  • 2% (132) in the Children’s Courts. (Table 16)


PRINCIPAL OFFENCE

During 2017–18, seven out of ten defendants had a principal offence of:
  • Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (40%, 64,038)
  • Acts intended to cause injury (19%, 30,119)
  • Illicit drug offences (11%, 17,048).

Between 2016–17 and 2017–18, the most notable increases occurred for:
  • Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (8%, 4,492)
  • Robbery/extortion (7%, 82).

Over the same period, the number of defendants finalised for Unlawful entry with intent decreased by 8% (242). (Table 16)


METHOD OF FINALISATION
  • 91% (146,782) of defendants had their matter(s) adjudicated, most of whom (140,005) were proven guilty.
  • 5% (8,402) of defendants had their matter(s) withdrawn by the prosecution. (Table 16)


PRINCIPAL SENTENCE AND SENTENCE LENGTH

Of the 140,005 defendants proven guilty during 2017–18:
  • 14% (20,203) received a custodial sentence (a decrease of 3% from 2016–17), including custody in a correctional institution (9%, 12,708) and fully suspended sentence (4%, 5,431). (Tables 8 and 16)
  • The median sentence length for custody in a correction institution1 was 12 months. (Table 58d)


INDIGENOUS STATUS

During 2017–18, the number of defendants who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander2 increased by 4% (617) to 14,966 defendants, comprising 16% of all defendants finalised in New South Wales. (Table 12)

The most common offence among both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous defendants was Acts intended to cause injury (40% or 6,041 and 34% or 22,219, respectively).

Just over a quarter (27%, 3,269) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants who were proven guilty were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution. (Table 13)

Footnotes

1 Excluding life and indeterminate imprisonment (see Explanatory Note 48).
2 Excludes defendants with a principal offence of Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (ANZSOC Division 14) or Dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle (ANZSOC Subdivision 041). See Explanatory Note 56.