Prosecution numbers down

Otago courts are seeing fewer defendants and those prosecuted are more likely to be convicted.

Regional trends mirrored a national decline in prosecutions, according to Statistics New Zealand data.

In the 12 months to June 30, there were 10,423 prosecutions in Otago courts and 7703 convictions, a convicted charge rate of 73.9%.

Of the 4428 people prosecuted, 3380 (76.3%) were convicted.

During the previous 12 months, 5041 people were prosecuted on 12,807 charges.

There were 3761 people convicted (74.6% of those prosecuted) and in total 9357 convicted charges - 73% of the total charges prosecuted.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said nationwide statistics showed the Government's focus on crime was working. New Zealand's crime rate was at its lowest since 1982 and, as a result, fewer criminal charges were laid against fewer people.

"I am particularly pleased to see fewer children and young people being charged with an offence and appearing in court - down by as much as 25% on the last year," she said.

The rising conviction rate, up to 74% from 70% in 2008, showed good work was being done across the justice sector.

"These results are simply fantastic," she said.

Overall, there was an 8% decline in the number of people charged, the number of charges laid, and the number of children and young people charged.

Within Otago, the greatest decline was at Balclutha, where there was a 36% decrease in the number of people prosecuted and a 42.2% reduction in the number of people convicted.

Alexandra, Oamaru, Queenstown and Dunedin all had fewer prosecutions, resulting in fewer convictions and sentences.

One person was sentenced in an Otago court to life imprisonment, 394 were jailed, 710 received community work and 864 were fined.

Other sentences included home detention (77), community detention (213), intensive supervision (34), and reparation (189).

In total, 255 people were convicted and discharged.

 

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