Full report - NSW Criminal Courts Statistics 2015 (Excel 463Kb)
Embargo: 10:30AM, Friday 29 July 2016
More people are appearing in NSW criminal courts despite falling crime rates and this is causing delays in the time taken to finalise criminal court cases and increases in the NSW prison population, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) annual Criminal Courts Report. BOCSAR’s report covers the five year period between 2011 and 2015.
NSW criminal courts finalised charges against 131,226 defendants in 2015. That is 3,841 more defendants than were dealt with by the criminal courts back in 2011. The number of persons appearing the Local Court in 2015 was more than 5,000 higher than in 2011.The number appearing in the District Court in 2015 was nearly 500 more than it dealt with in 2011.
The total growth in persons facing criminal charges would have been even higher but for the fact that the NSW Children’s Court experienced a substantial fall in workload. The total number of young people appearing in the NSW Children’s Court fell by 21 per cent between 2011 and 2015.
Over the last five years to 2015, the Local Court managed to reduce the time taken to move cases from first to final court appearance by 20 per cent; from 35 days to 28 days, however the median time between arrest and first court appearance in the Local Court rose by 17.9 per cent, from 28.0 days to 33.0 days.
The time taken to finalise criminal trials in the District Criminal Court has also increased considerably over the last five years. The median time between arrest and committal for trial in the District Court rose by 15.2 per cent (from 204 days to 235 days). The median time between committal and outcome also rose by 47.3 per cent (from 233.5 days to 344 days). The overall median time for trial cases from arrest to finalisation in the District Court rose by 28.1 per cent (from 502 days to 643 days).
The growth in arrests has resulted in more defendants being refused bail and more being sentenced to prison. The percentage refused bail increased only slightly (up 2.11 percentage points) but the increase in the number of people charged with serious criminal offences caused the number refused bail to increase substantially (up 35.9%; from 8,365 in 2011 to 11,368 in 2015).
The percentage of convicted offenders imprisoned increased only slightly (up 2.09 percentage points) but, as with bail, the growth in the number of persons appearing in court on criminal charges caused the number of persons sentenced to prison to rise substantially (up 33%; from 8,853 in 2011 to 11,771 in 2015).
The offences showing the largest increases in the NSW criminal courts were illicit drug offences (up 46.8%, from 18,646 in 2011 to 27,373 in 2015); offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations (up 41.9%, from 44,551 in 2011 to 63,223 in 2015); abduction, harassment and other offences against the person (up 35.9%, from 2,498 in 2011 to 3,396 in 2015 and sexual assault and related offences (up 28.8%, from 4,395 in 2011 to 5,661 in 2015).
Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn – 8346 1100Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au