Number of adults charged in court continues fall

There has been a steady decline in the number of adults charged since 2009/10

Number of adults charged in court continues fall

The number of adults charged in court has continued its decline, according to data released by the Ministry of Justice.

The report revealed that in 2018/19, there were 205,533 charges against adults, which counts each charge individually. That is a decrease of 3% compared to 2017/18, and a fall of 38% compared to 2009/10.

In terms of adults charged in court, the number fell to 72,594 in 2018/19, down 4% from the previous year. The figure for 2018/19 shows a decrease of 42% from the peak in 2009/10.

The number convicted in court is 58,991 for 2018/19, down 5% from 2017/18. Of the adults convicted in court, 78% are male. The data shows that 9% of those convicted are 17 to 19 years old, 20% are 20 to 24 years old, 20% are 25 to 29 years old, 25% are 30 to 39 years old, and 26% are 40 years old or older. The number of those convicted who are under 25 years old has fallen 43% from 2009/10, the data show.

The report also revealed that traffic offences and breaches of community orders are the most common convicted charges. Traffic offences was the most common convicted charge (35,453), followed by offences against justice such as breaching a community-work order (34,710), theft (17,408), assault (14,389), and drug offences (10,004).

Most adults charged, 58,991 or 81%, are convicted of at least one offence. Another 8% receive an “other proved” outcome, such as discharge without conviction or diversion. Meanwhile, 11% receive a “not proved” outcome, such as being found not guilty or withdrawal or dismissal of the charge.

The number of convicted adults fell across all ethnicities last year, the report said, but the proportion of Māori adults convicted has risen over the past decade, from 38% of all convicted adults to 44%.

The most common sentence types are community or monetary sentences. The number of adults imprisoned for offences decreased, while more serious community sentences – such as home detention, community detention, and intensive supervision – made up more of the sentences handed down by courts last year.

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