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Sentencing Advisory Council

Understanding SAC Stats

Should I choose charges or cases?

Should I choose charges or cases

Do you want to count the number of offenders, or the number of charges?

For example: 

A person appears in Court and is found guilty of 4 charges of stealing.

Should that count as 1 instance or 4?

  • If you choose Charges, this example will be counted 4 times (once per charge).
  • If you choose Cases, this example will be counted 1 time (once per person).

A person is sentenced for the same crime on 2 separate dates.

  • If you choose Cases, this example will be counted 2 times. It is the same person, but there are 2 cases with separate sentencing outcomes.

If you want to know:

  • how many charges of stealing resulted in someone being found guilty in Court - choose Charges
  • how many people who were sentenced had stealing as their most serious offence - choose Cases
  • the typical sentences for stealing - choose Charges

What happens when there are different crimes in the same case?

What happens when there are different crimes in the same case

If the person is found guilty of more than one type of crime, "Cases" will only show you the most serious charge.

For example, if a person is charged with Disorderly Conduct and Assault, "Cases" will only show you the Assault charge. 

If you are interested in counting less serious crimes, remember that some cases will not be shown if the person is also found guilty of a more serious crime. You may want to choose "Charges". 

Remember that the data do not include cases where:

  • a crime was not reported
  • no-one was charged
  • someone was charged but not found guilty
  • the defendant was a youth or
  • the matter was committed for trial or sentencing in the Supreme Court (which would include the most serious crimes).

Should I choose one charge or multiple charges?

Should I choose one charge or multiple charges

In Tasmania, a sentence may apply to more than one charge. This is called a global sentence

Because global sentences apply to more than one offence, they can apply to multiple instances of a crime, or to that crime combined with other crimes. 

If you want to know about sentencing for a particular crime, you need to exclude the global sentences.
To do this, select One Charge, and make sure that Multiple Charges is off. 

If you want to count all the charges or cases, including the ones with global sentences, select One Charge AND Multiple Charges

If you want to know:

  • how many charges of stealing resulted in someone being found guilty in Court – tick One Charge AND Multiple Charges
  • how many people were sentenced for stealing – tick One Charge AND Multiple Charges
  • the typical sentences for stealing – tick One Charge only.

Most users of this site will be interested in sentencing for particular offences, so the default setting is One Charge.

What happens if there is more than one sentence?

What happens if there is more than one sentence

A sentence may sometimes have several parts. When this happens, only the most serious part of the sentence is shown. 

See below for the list of sentencing outcomes in order of seriousness. 

For example, the penalties for driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than .05% are either:

  • automatic loss of driver's licence (minimum of 3 months) + fine  
  • automatic loss of driver's licence (minimum of 3 months) + imprisonment 
  • automatic loss of driver's licence (minimum of 3 months) + fine + imprisonment

In the list, Licence Disqualification is lower than Fine or Imprisonment, so in the results here the licence disqualification will not be shown.

Sentence types in order of seriousness

Sentence types in order of seriousness 

Note: This list is not determined by law. It is based on a list determined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

  • Imprisonment
  • Imprisonment (partially suspended)
  • Imprisonment (wholly suspended)
  • Community Service Order
  • Probation Order
  • Rehabilitation Program Order (Family Violence)
  • Fine
  • Recognizance (only for Commonwealth offences)
  • Undertaking
  • Licence Disqualification
  • Nominal Penalty
  • Demerit Points (from driver's licence)

What does Recent Court History mean?

What does Recent Court History mean

When a Magistrate sentences an offender, one major factor they consider is the person's offending history.  

The Recent Court History option gives you a way to explore this.  It shows whether the defendant was found guilty of any charges in the Magistrates Court in the two years before the date of sentencing for the current offence.    

  • Yes: there has been one or more guilty finding/s in the previous two years
  • No: no guilty findings in previous two years

Remember that this does not show how serious the past offences were, or how many there were, and that it does not include any previous guilty findings from the Supreme Court.

Why is there a "Top 20 results" option?

Why is there a Top 20 results option

If you have selected a large number of Acts or Sections, you may get so many results in your chart that it can be hard to read. The "Show Top 20 results only" button lets you see only the most common results. 

The "Top 20 results" option is also useful to see which Acts and Sections take up most of the Magistrates Court's time. 

The Magistrates' Court deals with tens of thousands of defendants every year. However, there are some very common offences which take up most of the Court's time.

Charges:  Between 2010 and 2014, the top twenty offences accounted for over 60% of the charges found guilty. 

Cases: Looking at only the most serious offence for each case, the top twenty offences accounted for over 70% of the cases where a defendant was found guilty. If you change the other options (e.g. Gender or Age Group) you can see the top twenty offences for the selected group of people.

What is not included in the data?

What is not included in the data

The data does not include cases where:

  • a crime was not reported
  • no-one was charged
  • someone was charged but not found guilty
  • the defendant was a youth, or
  • the matter was committed for trial or sentencing in the Supreme Court (which would include the most serious crimes).

Offences under the Sentencing Act 1997 and the Commonwealth Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 are also excluded. This includes offences such as breaches of orders, failure to pay fines and so on.  The data for these offences are not yet reliable enough to include in SAC Stats.

Also, if no-one has been convicted of a particular offence in the time covered by the data, the offence will not be shown in the Act / Section options.

Go to SAC Stats