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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VICTORIA

DEFENDANTS FINALISED

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
DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Victoria, 2010–11 to 2017–18

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth of Australia 2019.



COURT LEVEL

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)


PRINCIPAL OFFENCE

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:
  • 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  • 14% (16,432) had their matter(s) withdrawn by the prosecution – the largest number of all states and territories. This represented an increase of 19% (2,681), which was partly due to failure to vote offences being withdrawn during 2017–18.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)


PRINCIPAL SENTENCE AND SENTENCE LENGTH

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)

Footnotes

1 The decrease is partly attributable to a diversion program targeted at young people charged with minor offences in Victoria (see Explanatory Note 83).
2 Excluding life and indeterminate imprisonment (see Explanatory Note 48).