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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NORTHERN TERRITORY

DEFENDANTS FINALISED

During 2017–18, there were 11,070 defendants finalised in the Northern Territory criminal courts, a decrease of 4% (420) on the previous year. They accounted for 2% of all defendants finalised nationally.

Males accounted for 80% (8,807) of all defendants – the highest proportion of males of any state or territory. The median age of all defendants was 32 years. (Tables 2 and 40)

The rate of defendants finalised was 5,266 per 100,000 persons (aged 10 years and over). (Table 55)

DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Northern Territory, 2010–11 to 2017–18
DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Northern Territory, 2010–11 to 2017–18

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.



COURT LEVEL

During 2017–18, the majority (90%, 9,946) of defendants were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts.

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

  • 10% (48) in the Higher Courts
  • 2% (207) in the Magistrates’ Courts
  • 19% (165) in the Children’s Courts. (Table 40)


PRINCIPAL OFFENCE

During 2017–18, around two-thirds all defendants had one of the following principal offences:
  • Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (29%, 3,184)
  • Acts intended to cause injury (26%, 2,827)
  • Offences against justice (13%, 1,425). (Table 40)


METHOD OF FINALISATION

In 2017–18, 89% had their matter(s) adjudicated (9,835), a decrease of 3% from the previous year. Almost all (9,531) of these were proven guilty – mostly by entering a guilty plea (8,447). (Table 40)


PRINCIPAL SENTENCE AND SENTENCE LENGTH

Of the 9,531 defendants proven guilty during 2017–18:
  • 52% (4,911) received a non-custodial order, of which the majority received a fine (3,444), with a median fine amount of $800 (the highest median fine amount of all states and territories)
  • 48% (4,620) received a custodial sentence, which was the highest proportion of custodial sentences nationally. (Tables 8 and 60)

Of the defendants sentenced to a custodial order:
  • 83% (3,834) were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution, with a median sentence length1 of 3 months
  • 15% were given fully suspended sentences. (Tables 8 and 58d)

MEDIAN FINE AMOUNT, States and territories, 2017–18
MEDIAN FINE AMOUNT, States and territories, 2017–18
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.



INDIGENOUS STATUS

During 2017–18, over three-quarters (78%) of defendants finalised in the Northern Territory identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.2

Between 2016–17 and 2017–18:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants decreased by 4%, down to 5,723 defendants
  • Non-Indigenous defendants decreased by 5%, down to 1,455 defendants. (Table 12)

The most common principal offence for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous defendants was Acts intended to cause injury (42% or 2,405 and 27% or 390, respectively).

Around one in three (62%, 2,922) 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.