NSW guilty findings and imprisonment on the rise
A report has highlighted a recent increase in defendants found guilty in the NSW justice system, and shed light on sentencing practices within the judiciary.
The NSW Parliamentary Research Service’s A statistical snapshot of crime and justice in NSW “collates recent statistical information on crime, policing, the criminal courts and corrections in New South Wales.”
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Over a four-year period to 2017, the report said there was a 19.32 per cent increase in “the overall number of defendants found guilty in the NSW higher, local and children’s criminal courts.”
Increased instances of guilt were found across a number of offence types over the period measured, with the largest percentage increase found within prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offence types, recording a 53.6 per cent incidence increase, from 1,623 in 2013 to 2,493 guilty defendants in 2017.
The next largest jump was seen in sexual assault and related offences at 43.06 per cent, with 1,186 defendants found guilty in 2017 compared with 829 in 2013.
Fraud, deception and related offences recorded a 41.5 per cent increase and illicit drug offences saw an overall increase in guilty verdicts up 38.43 per cent.
Offences against justice procedures, government security and operations, traffic and vehicle regulatory offences, abduction, harassment and other offences against the person also saw increases in findings of guilty charges.
The report also laid out the penalty types placed upon guilty parties in 2017. The largest number of defendants were sentenced with a fine, at 45,884 persons making up 35.9 per cent of the penalties.
The second most popular sentencing form was bond without conviction, which saw 18,048 individual cases at 14.13 per cent of all penalty types. A further 16,910 received a bond without supervision and made up 13.24 per cent of all cases.
Imprisonment was reserved for 13,042 defendants, making up 10.2 per cent of those sentenced. This marked both a number increase, and a percentage increase, over the last four years. In 2013, the imprisonment rate was 8.9 per cent, with 9,570 persons incarcerated.
The aim of A statistical snapshot of crime and justice in New South Wales is to “provide an evidence base to inform public discussion and policy development,” and uses information from national and state-based resources to do so.
Lawyers Weekly recently reported on the amount of finalised defendants seen within the NSW judiciary between 2013 and 2017.