4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/02/2009   
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Contents >> Higher Courts >> DEFENDANTS FINALISED


Since 2001-02, the number of defendants finalised in the Higher Courts has averaged about 16,800 defendants. Over the last four years, the average has lowered, to about 16,600 defendants.

DEFENDANTS FINALISED(a), 2001-2002 to 2007-2008
Graph: GRAPH 2007-08 Higher Courts defendants finalised time series

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court has made a finding as to the guilt or otherwise of the defendant; finalisation by transfer between court levels; withdrawn by prosecution; and other methods such as defendant deceased or unfit to plead.

Charges withdrawn by the prosecution

Of the 2,291 defendants whose charges were withdrawn by the prosecution in 2007-08, the greatest number of these defendants had charges for sexual assault (580) and acts intended to cause injury (542).

Principal offences with the largest proportion of defendants finalised by charges withdrawn were sexual assault (21%) and unlawful entry with intent (16%). In contrast, 7% of defendants facing charges of illicit drug offences, and 9% of defendants facing charges of dangerous or negligent acts and robbery and extortion, had their charges withdrawn.

South Australia (24%) and Tasmania (20%) had larger proportions of defendants finalised by charges withdrawn than the national average of 14%. New South Wales (7%) and Victoria (4%) had the smallest proportion of defendants finalised by this method.

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