Defendants can have their charges finalised via several different methods of finalisation (see Appendix 2). The main categories of finalisation are: adjudicated finalisations, where the court has made a finding as to the guilt or otherwise of the defendant; finalisation by transfer between court levels; withdrawn by prosecution; and other methods such as defendant deceased or unfit to plead.
The large decrease (7%) in defendants finalised in 2007-08 was expected as Victorian Courts were dealing with a large number of backlog of cases relating to fare evasion (which is a subset of deception offences) during 2006-07 and this was not expected to continue at these same levels in 2007-08 (see Explanatory Notes paragraph 63). The number of defendants finalised at the national level with a principal offence of fare evasion declined by 41% (2,473 defendants) between 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Charges withdrawn by the prosecution
Defendants finalised through charges being withdrawn by the prosecution declined by 14% from 4,864 in 2006-07 to 4,177 in 2007-08.
During 2007-08, principal offences with the largest number of defendants finalised through charges withdrawn by the prosecution were:
- theft (741)
- acts intended to cause injury (688); and
- deception (617).
The Australian Capital Territory (17%), Victoria (15%) and New South Wales (14%) had relatively larger proportions of defendants finalised through charges withdrawn than the national average of 11%. Tasmania has the smallest proportion of defendants finalised through charges withdrawn (3%).