During 2017–18, there were 91,698 defendants finalised in Western Australia’s criminal courts, a decrease of one per cent (1,051 defendants) on the previous year. They comprised 15% of defendants finalised nationally.
The median age of defendants was 32 years. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of all defendants were male. (Tables 2 and 32)
The rate of defendants finalised was 4,082 per 100,000 persons (aged 10 years and over). (Table 53)
DEFENDANTS FINALISED, Western Australia, 2010–11 to 2017–18
Australian Bureau of Statistics
© Commonwealth of Australia 2019.
During 2017–18, the majority (92%, 84,082) of defendants were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts.
From the previous year, the number of defendants finalised:
- Decreased by 1% in both the Magistrates' and Children's Courts (1,248 and 62 defendants, respectively)
- Increased in the Higher Courts (10%, 259). (Table 32)
During 2017–18, more than half of all defendants finalised had a principal offence of:
- Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (38%, 34,932)
- Illicit drug offences (14%, 12,413).
Illicit drug offences decreased for the first time since 2011–12, however the number of defendants finalised for this offence has more than doubled since then, going from 5,787 defendants in 2011–12 to 12,413 in 2017–18. (Table 32)
METHOD OF FINALISATION
Nine in ten defendants (93%, 85,562) were adjudicated, most of whom (84,660) were proven guilty.
PRINCIPAL SENTENCE AND SENTENCE LENGTH
Of the 84,660 defendants proven guilty during 2017–18:
- 82% (69,400) received a sentence of a fine, with a median amount of $500
- 9% (7,629) were sentenced to a custodial order, of which most (4,709) were sentenced to custody in a correctional institution, with a median sentence length1 of 9 months. (Tables 8, 58d and 60)
The number of defendants sentenced to a custodial order increased for the fourth consecutive year in Western Australia (up 4% or 328 during 2017–18). (Tables 8 and 32)
Excluding life and indeterminate imprisonment (see Explanatory Note 48).