4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/08/2008   
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Most defendants who are adjudicated proven guilty in Australian Courts

In 2006-07, there were 638,347 defendants finalised in the Higher Courts (16,191), Magistrates' Courts (580,998) and Children's Courts (41,158) in Australia. Between 2005-06 and 2006-07, the number of defendants finalised in the Higher Courts decreased by 1%, and increased in the Magistrates' Courts by 2%.

Nationally, 92% of defendants adjudicated in the Higher Courts were proven guilty, compared with 95% in the Magistrates' Courts and 96% in the Children's Courts.

Of those defendants proven guilty, 82% were sentenced to a custodial order in the Higher Courts, such as a term of imprisonment or home detention. The proportion of defendants sentenced to custodial orders was much lower in the Magistrates' (9%) and Children's Courts (8%).

Other key findings for 2006-07 include:

  • The number of finalised defendants charged in the Higher Courts with an offence of illicit drugs or sexual assault increased from 2002-03 to 2006-07 (up 33% or 602 and 23% or 367 respectively)
  • Road traffic offences accounted for the highest proportion (43%) of finalised defendants heard in the Magistrates' courts in 2006-07, followed by public order offences (11%)
  • Deception formed the largest proportion of finalised defendants (19%) in the Children's Court, followed by acts intended to cause injury and theft (both 13%).

Criminal Courts, Australia, 2006-07 (cat. no. 4513.0) was released by the ABS on 25 January 2008. This publication presents nationally comparable statistics relating to the criminal jurisdiction of the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate), Magistrates' and Children's Courts across Australia for defendants finalised during the period 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007. The statistics describe the characteristics of defendants, including information on the offences and sentences associated with those defendants. The next report is expected to be released in January 2009.