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150,000+ finalised matters in NSW criminal courts over 2016-17
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150,000+ finalised matters in NSW criminal courts over 2016-17

NSW criminal courts

A new report has provided insight into the NSW criminal justice system, telling an interesting story about the state’s judicial process and highlighting key figures and statistics.

The NSW Parliamentary Research Service’s A statistical snapshot of crime and justice in New South Wales “collates recent statistical information on crime, policing, the criminal courts and corrections in New South Wales”.

The aim of the report 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.

More than 155,000 finalised defendants had matters dealt with across NSW Higher, Local and Children’s Courts in the 2016-17 period, according to the report.

Of these defendants, 136,145 (or 86.9 per cent) were proven guilty, 6,637 were acquitted (4.2 per cent), and 5,269 (3.4 per cent) were transferred to another court level.

Over the same period, only 8,388 individuals (5.4 per cent) had charges withdrawn by prosecution.

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Bail refusals saw a notable jump, increasing by 38.67 per cent to 9,948 cases in 2017 as compared with 7,174 in 2013.

In the NSW Higher, Local and Children’s Courts, there has been an increase in the number and percentage of defendants sentenced to imprisonment, from 9,570 (8.9 per cent) in 2013 to 13,042 (10.2 per cent) in 2017.

A breakdown of numbers in the report also highlighted a 25.14 per cent increase in female finalised defendants over a four-year period from 2013, while the percentage increase of male finalised defendants also went up, but less significantly, at 15.11 per cent.

Over the same period, the number of Indigenous finalised defendants increased by 16.24 per cent, while the percentage increase of non-Indigenous finalised defendants was slightly lower at 15.29 per cent.

According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, “a finalised defendant is a person or organisation for whom all charges in a case have been formally completed so that they cease to be an item of work”.

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