During 2017–18, there were 115,850 defendants finalised in Victoria’s criminal courts, which was stable from the previous year (down 137 defendants). This equated to a rate of 2,022 defendants per 100,000 persons (aged 10 years and over). (Tables 20 and 50)
Defendants finalised in Victoria accounted for 20% of all defendants finalised nationally, the third largest contributing state or territory after New South Wales (27%) and Queensland (26%).
The median age of defendants was 33 years. Three-quarters (74%) of all defendants were male. (Table 2)
DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Victoria, 2010–11 to 2017–18
Australian Bureau of Statistics
© Commonwealth of Australia 2019.
During 2017–18, the majority (94%, 109,037) of defendants were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts.
From the previous year, the number of defendants finalised remained stable in both the Higher and Magistrates’ Courts, while there was a 17% (997) decrease in the Children’s Courts.1 (Table 20)
During 2017–18, more than half of all defendants had a principal offence of:
- Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (38%, 44,447)
- Acts intended to cause injury (14%, 16,350). (Table 2)
Between 2016–17 and 2017–18, decreases occurred across most offence categories, the largest was for Theft (17%, 1,705 defendants).
Over the same period, a notable increase occurred for Offences against justice, up 29% (2,183 defendants), which was in part due to failure to vote offences. (Table 20)
METHOD OF FINALISATION
Of all defendants finalised during 2017–18:
PRINCIPAL SENTENCE AND SENTENCE LENGTH
- 85% of defendants (98,842) had their matters adjudicated, of which almost all (99%) were proven guilty.
- 14% (16,432) had their matter(s) withdrawn by the prosecution – the largest number of all states and territories. This represented an increase of 19% (2,681), which was partly due to failure to vote offences being withdrawn during 2017–18. (Tables 2 and 20)
Of the 98,264 defendants proven guilty during 2017–18:
- 92% (90,212) were sentenced to a non-custodial order, the most common being a fine (56%, 50,086) with a median amount of $581.
- 8% (8,051) were sentenced to a custodial order, most commonly (90%, 7,212) custody in a correctional institution with a median sentence length2 of 4 months. (Tables 8, 58d and 60)
The decrease is partly attributable to a diversion program targeted at young people charged with minor offences in Victoria (see Explanatory Note 83).
Excluding life and indeterminate imprisonment (see Explanatory Note 48).