NSW Criminal Courts Statistics 2010

Click here for the full report (pdf, 1Mb)

Release date: 9 May 2011

Major trends

The vast majority of people charged with criminal offences in 2010 were convicted of at least one offence according to the annual criminal court statistics report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

The Bureau's figures show that 89 per cent of those appearing in the Local Court, 86 per cent of those appearing in the Children's Court and 84 per cent of those appearing in the Higher (District and Supreme) Criminal Courts either pleaded guilty or were found guilty of at least one offence.

The workload of the criminal courts, however, is in decline. Criminal disposals have fallen across all jurisdictions:

  • a 9.4 % decrease in the number of persons/organisations with a matter finalised in the Local Court (down from 133,240 in 2009 to 120,662 in 2010),
  • a 10.3% decrease in the number of persons with a matter finalised in the Children's Court (down from 9,616 in 2009 to 8,630 in 2010) and
  • a 6.2% decrease in persons finalised in trial and sentence matters in the Higher Courts (down from 3,704 in 2009 to 3,474 in 2010).

These decreases are in line with the 10 per cent decrease in alleged offenders proceeded against to court reported in New South Wales Recorded Crime Statistics 2010 released by the Bureau two weeks ago.

Other notable trends 

There has been a 25 per cent decrease in the Local Court in persons imprisoned for driver licence offences (from 945 in 2009 to 712 in 2010).

There has been minimal change in the percentage of persons found guilty of these offences who were sentenced to imprisonment (4.6% in 2009 v 4.2% in 2010). The fall is largely attributable to a drop in the number of persons charged with "drive while disqualified" by police and will ease the upward pressure on the NSW prison system.

The percentage of matters proceeding to trial in the Supreme Court increased from 42.1 per cent in 2009 to 57.8 per cent in 2010.

However, this increase mainly occurred because five terrorist co-accused in one case, and five murder co-accused in another case, maintained their plea of not guilty.

There was also an increase in the Local Court in the median time to finalise defended cases where the accused was on remand at final appearance and had all charges against them dismissed (from 48 days in 2009 to 75 days in 2010). The cause of this change is unknown.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 02 9231-9190