Abduction and related offences
Acts intended to unlawfully deprive another person of their freedom of movement against that person's will or against the will of any parent, guardian or other person having lawful custody or care of that person. This offence category is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Abduction and kidnapping (051), and Deprivation of liberty/false imprisonment (052).
An outcome of criminal proceedings in which a court declares a not guilty verdict as a charge laid against a defendant has not been proven. This also includes a finding of not guilty on the grounds of insanity/unsoundness of mind at the time the defendant committed the offence.
Defendants who have an unfinalised case in the courts at some point during the reference period. The active workload for a reference period consists of the number of defendants finalised during the reference period together with the number of defendants pending at the end of the reference period.
Acts intended to cause injury
Acts, excluding homicide and related offences, which are intended to cause non-fatal injury or harm to another person and where there is no sexual or acquisitive element. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Assault (021) and Other acts intended to cause injury (029).
A method of finalisation based on a judgement or decision by the court as to whether or not the defendant is guilty of the charge(s) laid against them.
Age is calculated at a defendants date of finalisation within a court level. A defendants age is the time elapsed (in years) between a defendants date of birth and their date of finalisation.
Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC)
The ASOC is a hierarchical classification developed by the ABS for use in the collection and publication of crime and justice statistics. It provides a classificatory framework for the comparison of statistics on offences across Australia. Within the classificatory structure of ASOC, Divisions represent the broadest categories of offences (see Appendix 4 in the publication).
Bench warrant executed
The apprehension of an absconder who is brought back before the court to answer outstanding (and new) charges. For the purposes of these statistics, this process is regarded as a method of initiation in the Higher Criminal Courts and results in a person being counted as a new defendant initiated.
Bench warrant issued
A warrant signed by a Judge or Magistrate ordering a person to be arrested and brought back before the court. This process takes place when a defendant, who has at least one charge that has not been finalised by the court, absconds from criminal proceedings. This is considered a method of finalisation in the Higher Criminal Courts.
One or more defendants against whom one or more charges have been laid and which are heard together by a court as one unit of work. The charge(s) usually relate to the same criminal incident and appear together on one indictment.
An allegation laid before a court by the police or other prosecuting agency that a person or organisation has committed a criminal offence.
A preliminary hearing of a charge relating to an indictable offence which is conducted by a Magistrate in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction. The aim of this hearing is to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant the defendant being committed to a Higher Criminal Court for trial or sentence.
The plea to a charge which is entered by a defendant at the end of committal proceedings in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction.
Committed for sentence
An outcome of a committal hearing where a defendant enters a guilty plea to all charges and is transferred to a Higher Criminal Court to be sentenced. This process is regarded as a method of finalisation for the Magistrates' Criminal Court and a method of initiation into a Higher Criminal Court level.
Committed for trial
An outcome of a committal hearing where a defendant enters a not guilty plea to at least one charge and is transferred to a Higher Criminal Court to stand trial. This process is regarded as a method of finalisation for the Magistrates' Criminal Court and a method of initiation into a Higher Criminal Court level.
Community Service Orders
An order requiring a person to undertake a specified number of hours of unpaid work for the community.
Community Supervision or Work Orders
Non-custodial orders that require a person to perform work within the community or report to a person nominated by the court (for example a corrections officer). Examples of sentence types included in this category are: Community Service Orders, Probation Orders and Treatment Orders.
See Intermediate Court.
Separate tiers of the court system which are established under legislation and have certain prescribed powers. Court levels can be distinguished from one another on the basis of the extent of their legal powers (see Jurisdiction). Court levels include Court of Summary Jurisdiction, Intermediate Court and Supreme Court. The names assigned to each of these court levels varies across Australia.
Court of Petty Sessions
See Court of Summary Jurisdiction.
Court of Summary Jurisdiction
A Lower Court level (also referred to as Magistrates' Court, Local Court or Court of Petty Sessions) which deals with relatively less serious charges and has the most limited legal powers of all the state and territory court levels. A Court of Summary Jurisdiction is presided over by a Magistrate and has jurisdiction to try and sentence matters relating to summary offences. Under some circumstances, this court level may also deal with less serious indictable offences known as 'minor indictable' or 'triable either way' offences. Courts of Summary Jurisdiction are also responsible for conducting preliminary (committal) hearings for indictable offences.
Custody in a Correctional Institution
An order requiring a person to be detained within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration. Includes Life and Indeterminate Imprisonment, Imprisonment with Determined Term and Periodic Detention.
Custody in the Community
An order requiring a person to have restricted liberty for a specified period of time while living within the community. Includes Intensive Corrections Orders, Home Detention and Community Custody Centres.
An order requiring a person to have restricted liberty for a specified period of time either through detainment in an institution/home or being subject to regular supervision while residing within the community. Includes Custody in a Correctional Institution, Custody in the Community and Suspended Sentences. Within this publication, reference has been made in some tables to 'custodial orders to be served' (i.e. custodial orders excluding fully suspended sentences). This concept was previously known as 'imprisonment' in the experimental tables of the 2000-01 Higher Criminal Courts publication.
Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons
Dangerous or negligent acts which, though not intended to cause harm, actually or potentially, result in injury to oneself or another person. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle(041) and Other dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons (049).
Date of committal
The date at the end of a committal hearing which results in a defendant being transferred to a Higher Criminal Court for a trial or sentence hearing.
Date of finalisation
The date on which all charges laid against a defendant are regarded as formally completed by the courts and the defendant ceases to be an active unit of work to be dealt with by the courts.
Date of initiation
The date on which a defendant is regarded as having started within the Higher Criminal Courts as a new item of work. For defendants who were committed for trial or sentence from a Court of Summary Jurisdiction to a Higher Criminal Court, the date of committal is used as the date of initiation. For defendants who have any other method of initiation (e.g. ex-officio, bench warrant executed), the date of registration for that court level is used as the date of initiation. Where there are multiple dates of initiation for charges for a defendant, the earliest date is used.
Date of registration
The date on which a defendant first enters a particular court level and becomes a new item of work to be dealt with by the court. This refers to the date when formal notification for a defendant is first received and a new case or file is created by the registry/listing area of the court.
Deception and related offences
The use of deception, secret agreements or the making of false instruments with the intent of dishonestly obtaining property, services or other advantage. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Fraud, forgery or false financial instruments (091), Counterfeiting currency and related offences (092), Dishonest conversion (093), Bribery (094) and Other deception offences (099).
A person or organisation against whom one or more criminal charges have been laid and which are heard together as the one unit of work by a court level. It should be noted that the Criminal Courts collection does not enumerate distinct persons or organisations. If a person or organisation is a defendant in a number of criminal cases active within the courts during the reference period, such a person or organisation will be counted more than once in this statistical collection.
See Intermediate Court.
The time elapsed between specified dates for a defendant that has been finalised. This collection provides statistics on the number of weeks elapsed between the date of initiation and date of finalisation.
Elapsed time since initiation
The time elapsed since the date of initiation for a defendant who has at least one charge that has not been finalised. This collection provides statistics on the elapsed time since initiation for defendants pending at the start of the reference period and for defendants pending at the end of the reference period.
The laying of charges against a defendant directly in a Higher Criminal Court, by the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Attorney-General. This process is regarded as a method of initiation into the Higher Criminal Courts.
The last plea entered by a defendant in relation to a criminal charge that is laid against him/her in a court.
A person or organisation for whom all charges have been formally completed so that the defendant ceases to be an item of work to be dealt with by the courts.
A monetary penalty where the offender is required to pay a sum of money to the 'Crown'.
Forfeiture of Property Order
The deprivation of a person of his/her property as a penalty for some act or omission.
Fully suspended sentence
A custodial order which provides that all of the sentence not be served, subject to the person being of good behaviour for the length of the sentence.
Good Behaviour Bond/Recognisance Orders
An obligation, with or without sureties, aimed at securing the performance of some act by the person bound by the undertaking.
The formal statement by a defendant admitting culpability in relation to a criminal charge. By pleading guilty, a defendant indicates to the court that they do not intend to contest the charge. If the guilty plea is accepted by the court, the charge will be considered to be proven.
An outcome of a trial in which a court determines that the criminal charge against a defendant has been proven.
Higher Criminal Court
The criminal jurisdiction of an Intermediate Court or Supreme Court.
An order in which a person serves part of a sentence of imprisonment at home or at another approved place that is not a correctional institution.
Homicide and related offences
The unlawful killing, attempted unlawful killing or conspiracy to kill another person. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Murder (011), Conspiracies and attempts to murder (012), and Manslaughter and driving causing death(013).
Illicit drug offences
The possession, sale, dealing or trafficking, importing or exporting, manufacture or cultivation of drugs or other substances prohibited under legislation. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Import or export illicit drugs (101), Deal or traffic in illicit drugs (102), Manufacture or cultivate illicit drugs (103), Possess and/or use illicit drugs (104) and Other illicit drug offences (109).
See Custodial order.
Imprisonment with Determined Term
An order requiring a person to be detained for a specified period of time within a facility built especially for the purpose of incarceration.
A serious criminal offence as defined by specific Commonwealth, state or territory legislation. Charges relating to indictable offences generally require a trial and/or sentence hearing in a Higher Criminal Court but under some circumstances, a defendant can elect to have these charges dealt with in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction.
The first plea entered by a defendant in relation to a criminal charge that is laid against him or her in a court. For charges that were committed to a Higher Criminal Court from a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, this corresponds to the plea at committal.
A person or organisation for whom at least one criminal charge has been formally started within a court so that the defendant is regarded as a new item of work to be dealt with by that court.
Intensive Corrections Order
An order that has a component of restricted liberty and requires a person to report to a correctional services officer on a specified basis.
A Higher Court level (known either as the District Court or County Court) which has legal powers that are between those of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction and the Supreme Court and deals with the majority of cases involving serious criminal offences. An Intermediate Court is presided over by a Judge, and has original jurisdiction to hear trial and sentence matters relating to most indictable offences. In some states, the Intermediate Court may have appellate jurisdiction over decisions made in the Court of Summary Jurisdiction. Note: As Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory do not have an Intermediate Court, all indictable offences are heard in the Supreme Court.
The legal power or authority which may be exercised by a particular court level and within which the judgements or orders of the court can be enforced or executed. The criminal jurisdiction of a court includes the original and appellate jurisdictions. Each court level has its own defined jurisdictional limits and these vary across states and territories.
Licence Disqualification, Suspension, Amendment
An order relating to the cancellation/suspension or amendment of a licence/permit, or the review or modification of conditions associated with it.
Life and Indeterminate Imprisonment
The most serious sentence of imprisonment.
Life - This does not necessarily mean that the person will be held in custody for the term of his/her natural life. In some states or territories a minimum time to serve in custody is specified by the court, while in others an administrative body such as a Parole Board makes this decision.
Indeterminate - Persons declared as habitual criminals, persons who are either permanently or temporarily deemed not responsible for their actions because of a mental disorder or intellectual disability and prisoners who are sentenced to imprisonment but have not had a release date set. The prisoner may be released, at any time, at the discretion of the administrative body within each jurisdiction responsible for making that decision.
See Court of Summary Jurisdiction.
Magistrates' Criminal Court
A Court of Summary Jurisdiction, which for the purposes of this collection includes only the adult criminal Magistrates' Court. Where used in this publication, the term 'Magistrates' Court' includes the Court of Petty Sessions. Of the six states and territories included in this publication, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have Magistrates' Courts, while Western Australia has a Court of Petty Sessions. Excluded from this collection are the other Courts of Summary Jurisdiction, including Childrens' Courts, Electronic Courts and Drug Courts.
The average of a set of population values.
The middle value of a population when values are ranked by order of size. Below and above this point lie an equal number of values.
Method of finalisation
The process which leads to the completion of a criminal charge within a court so that it ceases to be an item of work in that court. There are different methods by which a charge may be finalised (see Appendix 3 in the publication).
Method of initiation
The process which leads to the introduction of a criminal charge within a court so that it becomes a new item of work to be dealt with by that court. There are different methods by which a charge may be initiated (see Appendix 2 in the publication).
Minor Indictable offence
See Triable either way offence.
Offences involving the breach of statutory rules or regulations governing activities that are prima facie legal, where such offences are not explicitly dealt with under any other Division of ASOC. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Harassment and related offences (161), Public health and safety offences (162), Commercial/industry/financial regulation (163) and Other miscellaneous offences (169).
Includes Fines, Orders as Recompense to Victim (includes restitution orders and compensation orders) and Other Monetary Orders.
National Offence Index
The National Offence Index (NOI) is a seriousness ranking of the ASOC and is used to determine a principal offence when a defendant has multiple adjudicated charges. For defendants proven guilty, the Index is applied to the associated charges proven guilty. For acquitted defendants, the Index is applied to all acquitted charges. These charges are allocated an Index and the highest ranking charge for each adjudicated defendant is taken as the principal offence (see National Offence Index).
Release of a defendant without an order following sentence which may or may not have conditions attached. Includes Rising of the Court and Discharge/Dismissal.
A method of finalisation whereby a charge is considered completed and ceases to be active in a court even though there has not been a determination on whether the defendant is guilty. This includes where a charge is withdrawn by the prosecution, the defendant absconds and a bench warrant is issued, and where a defendant is deemed unfit to plead to the charge. For the purposes of this collection, bench warrants are considered a method of finalisation only for the Higher Criminal Courts.
Sentences imposed on an offender that do not involve custody. Includes Community Supervision or Work Orders, Monetary Orders and Other Non-Custodial Orders.
Not guilty plea
The formal statement by a defendant denying culpability in relation to a charge. This also includes 'no plea', 'plea reserved' and 'other defended plea'.
Not guilty verdict
Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations
An act or omission that is deemed to be prejudicial to the effective carrying out of justice procedures or any government operations including those specifically concerned with maintaining government security. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Breach of Justice Order (151), Other offences against justice procedures (152), Offences against government security (153) and Offences against government operations (154).
Orders as Recompense to Victim
A sentence order which requires the offender to pay a sum of money for a purpose other than fine, usually in relation to reparation to a victim. Includes Restitution and Compensation orders.
The power of a court to hear criminal charges and determine whether or not a defendant is proven guilty and/or to sentence defendants where a charge has been proven (see Jurisdiction).
All methods of initiation other than committed for trial, committed for sentence, ex-officio indictment of charges and bench warrant executed. This includes a re-trial ordered as a result of an appeal and the transfer of charges involving summary offences from a Court of Summary Jurisdiction to a Higher Criminal Court.
A defendant who has been initiated in a court and has at least one charge that has not been finalised at a particular date.
Persons given periodic detention are in custody for two consecutive days in a week (e.g. weekends) and remain at liberty during the rest of the week.
The formal statement by, or on behalf of, the defendant in response to a criminal charge that has been laid in a court. The nature of this response indicates whether or not the defendant intends to contest that charge.
Principal offence adjudicated
The offence category (based on ASOC) associated with the main charge that has an adjudicated finalisation (i.e. an outcome of acquitted or proven guilty). For a defendant who has a method of finalisation of proven guilty, the principal offence refers to the main charge proven guilty while for a defendant who has a method of finalisation of acquitted, the principal offence refers to the main charge acquitted (see National Offence Index).
Principal sentence type
The main sentence type for a defendant based on the hierarchy of the Sentence Type Classification (see Appendix 7 in the publication).
An order which requires an offender to be released to the supervision of an authorised officer. Includes any order which requires an offender to report periodically to an authorised officer but does not include any period of restricted liberty. Excludes Intensive Supervision orders and Intensive Corrections Orders that contain periods of restricted liberty.
Property damage and environmental pollution
The wilful and unlawful destruction, damage or defacement of public or private property, or the pollution of property or a definable entity held in common by the community. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Property damage (121) and Environmental pollution (122).
An outcome of criminal proceedings in which a court accepts a guilty plea entered by a defendant or arrives at a guilty verdict following a trial.
Public order offences
Offences involving personal conduct that involves or may lead to a breach of public order and decency, or that is indicative of criminal intent, or that is otherwise regulated or prohibited on moral or ethical grounds. The 'victim' of these offences is generally the public at large. However, some offences such as offensive language and offensive behaviour may be directed towards a single victim. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Disorderly conduct (131) and Regulated public order activities (132).
Road traffic and motor vehicle regulatory offences
Offences relating to vehicles and most forms of road traffic, including offences pertaining to the licensing, registration, roadworthiness or use of vehicles, bicycle offences and pedestrian offences. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Driving licence offences (141), Road vehicle registration and roadworthiness offences (142), Regulatory driving offences (143) and Pedestrian offences (144).
Robbery, extortion and related offences
Acts intended to unlawfully gain money, property or any other thing of value from, or cause detriment to, another person by using the threat of force or any other coercive measure. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Robbery (061) and Blackmail and extortion (062).
A penalty or punishment imposed by a court upon a defendant who is proven guilty of a criminal offence.
Sexual assault and related offences
Acts of a sexual nature against another person which are non-consensual or consent is proscribed. This offence category is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Sexual assault (031) and Non-assaultive sexual offences (032).
A criminal offence which is regarded as less serious relative to an indictable offence as defined by specific Commonwealth, state or territory legislation (see Indictable offence). Charges relating to summary offences are generally dealt with by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction and do not require a trial by jury in a Higher Criminal Court. In some states and territories, a defendant against whom summary charges are laid may be transferred to a Higher Criminal Court for sentencing, (e.g. if the Magistrate wants to impose a penalty which exceeds his/her jurisdictional powers).
A Higher Court level which deals with the most serious criminal charges and has the greatest legal powers of all the state and territory court levels. A Supreme Court is presided over by a Judge, and has jurisdiction to hear trial and sentence matters relating to all indictable offences. In states which have an Intermediate Court, the Supreme Court is usually reserved to deal with the most serious indictable offences, such as murder. The Supreme Court may also have appellate jurisdiction over decisions made in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction or the Intermediate Court.
A custodial order which provides that all or part of the sentence not be served, subject to the person being of good behaviour for the length of the suspended part.
Theft and related offences
The unlawful taking or obtaining of money or goods not involving the use of force, threat of force or violence, coercion or deception, with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner or possessor of the use of the money or goods, or the receiving or handling of money or goods obtained unlawfully. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Motor vehicle theft and related offences (081), Theft (except motor vehicles) (082), Receiving or handling proceeds of crime (083) and Illegal use of property (except motor vehicles) (084).
Transfer between court levels
A court outcome ordering that a criminal charge be transferred to another court level to be adjudicated and/or sentenced. For all transfers, except those between Higher Court levels, this process is regarded as a method of finalisation for the court level ordering the transfer and a method of initiation for the court level to which the defendant's charge(s) were transferred. Defendants who transfer from one Higher Court level to another will be considered as initiated only once (in the level they first entered) and finalised only once (from the level they finally left).
An order requiring a person to undertake a specified rehabilitation program aimed at behavioural or attitudinal modification.
Triable either way offence
An indictable offence which a defendant can elect to have heard either in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction before a Magistrate or in a Higher Criminal Court before a Judge and jury.
The examination of, and decision on, a matter of law or fact by a court. Where a defendant enters a not guilty plea or other defended plea in the committal proceedings, they are committed to a Higher Criminal Court for trial. In the Higher Criminal Courts, trials are usually conducted before a Judge and jury whereby the Judge rules on questions of law and the jury is responsible for determining whether or not the defendant is guilty. Some states and territories also allow for a trial before a Judge alone in the Higher Criminal Courts.
Unfit to plead
An outcome of court proceedings in which a court determines that a defendant's mental status is such that he/she is unfit to plead in relation to the charge against him/her. For the purposes of this collection, this process is regarded as a non-adjudicated method of finalisation.
Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter
The unlawful entry of a structure with the intent to commit an offence where the entry is either forced or unforced. This is a Division of ASOC which includes burglary and break and enter offences (071).
Weapons and explosives offences
Offences relating to weapons or explosives which are either prohibited or legalised/regulated by legislation. This is a Division of ASOC which includes the following Subdivisions: Prohibited weapons/explosives offences (111) and regulated weapons/explosives offences (112).
Withdrawn by prosecution
The formal withdrawal of charges by the prosecution (e.g. police, Director of Public Prosecutions, Attorney-General). This includes Nolle Prosequi and No True Bill.