In 2007-08, there were a total of 675,765 defendants finalised in Australia's courts: 16,811 in the Higher Courts; 619,542 in the Magistrates' Courts; and 39,412 in the Children's Courts. Between 2006-07 and 2007-08, the number of defendants finalised across all criminal courts increased by 5%.
In 2007-08, male defendants increased by 5% (from 497,990 in 2006-07 to 521,404), while female defendants increased by 9% (from 132,278 in 2006-07 to 143,862). The number of organisations heard by the courts decreased 15% over this same period (from 7,971 in 2006-07 to 6,819).
Across all court levels, 96% of defendants adjudicated were proven guilty (up from 95% in 2006-07). Of those proven guilty, 10% (59,276) were sentenced to a custodial order.
Of all defendants finalised, 7% had their cases withdrawn.
Across the jurisdictions, the proportions of defendants who were male ranged from 80% in South Australia and the Northern Territory, to 66% in Tasmania.
The proportions of all finalised defendants proven guilty also varied across the jurisdictions. In Queensland and Western Australia 91% of defendants were proven guilty, while in the Australian Capital Territory 70% of defendants were proven guilty.
Custodial orders were issued to 31% of defendants proven guilty in the Northern Territory and 17% of those proven guilty in the Australian Capital Territory; higher than the national average of 10%. Tasmania had the lowest proportion of custodial orders at 5%.
In the Australian Capital Territory, 22% of cases were withdrawn by the prosecution, compared to 11% in South Australia and 1% in Tasmania.