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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28 February 2018
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Decrease in defendants finalised by the courts

The number of defendants finalised in court has decreased, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

During 2017–18, there were 592,455 defendants finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts. This represented a decrease of two per cent (12,074 defendants) since 2016–17, the first overall decline in five years.

The rate of defendants finalised also decreased to 2,714 persons per 100,000 (aged 10 and over) this year, down four per cent from 2,821 in 2016–17.

ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics William Milne said “Over the past five years, the most common principal offences for criminal court defendants continue to be traffic offences, assault or illicit drug offences.”

During 2017–18, more than half of all defendants finalised had a principal offence of traffic offences (35 per cent or 206,838 defendants), assault (12 per cent or 72,103 defendants) or illicit drug offences (11 per cent or 63,508 defendants).

The Criminal Courts Australia annual publication contains national information on defendants finalised in the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate), Magistrates' and Children's criminal courts between 1 July and 30 June each year. Details are presented for the three court levels in each state and territory, including the characteristics of defendants and their court outcomes.

Further information can be found in Criminal Courts, Australia, 2017–18 (cat. no. 4513.0) available for free download from the ABS website - https://www.abs.gov.au.

Media notes:
  • A finalised defendant is a person or organisation for whom all charges for one case have been formally completed so that the defendant ceases to be an item of work.
  • Offences relate to the most serious offence for a finalised defendant.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.