4513.0 - Higher Criminal Courts, Australia, 1999-2000  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/06/2001   
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June 20, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Majority of defendants finalised as guilty

Charges were proven against almost 80 percent of defendants whose cases were finalised in the higher criminal courts across Australia in 1999-2000, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The vast majority of these defendants were male (87 percent) and had a median age of 29 years.

The higher criminal courts finalised cases for 18,890 defendants in 1999-2000, a 20 percent increase over the number finalised in 1996-1997.

Other findings in Higher Criminal Courts, Australia show that for defendants with cases finalised in 1999-2000:
  • Just over half (52 percent) of all defendants were aged between 17 and 29 years.
  • 70 percent of defendants ultimately pleaded guilty;
  • 60 percent of defendants who initially pleaded not guilty later changed their plea to guilty during court proceedings;
  • Of the 3,017 defendants that went through trial, over half (53 percent) were found guilty and 47 percent were acquitted;
  • Half the defendants dealt with had their cases finalised within five months while about one fifth (19 percent) took one year or longer.
  • It took almost three times as long to finalise a guilty verdict case (11.4 months) compared to a guilty plea case (four months). The median time taken to finalise an acquittal case was 9.5 months.

Further details are available in Higher Criminal Courts, Australia 1999/00 (cat. no. 4513.0) available from ABS Bookshops .

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