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20% variance between conviction outcomes in NZ courts

07 May 2019

There was a difference of 20% between the proportion of cases which resulted in a conviction in New Zealand courts in 2018.

Statistics New Zealand has released criminal conviction and sentencing statistics for the 2018 calendar year from data provided by the Ministry of Justice. The information for a centre covers both District Court and High Court (where applicable).

The data shows that 76.1% of the 208,356 cases in District and High Courts where adults were prosecuted had an outcome resulting in a conviction in 2018.

During 2018, 87.5% of all prosecutions with an outcome in the Dargaville District Court resulted in a conviction. At the other end of the scale, 64.7% of all cases prosecuted in the Wellington District and High Courts resulted in a conviction.

Proportion of adult prosecutions resulting in a conviction, 2018
Court locationOutcomesConvicted% Convicted
Dargaville46440687.5%
Waihi68659186.2%
Opotiki83370985.1%
Huntly1214102784.6%
Pukekohe2420204784.6%
Westport37431584.2%
Tokoroa1379116184.2%
Whakatane3392281983.1%
Hawera120399182.4%
Taupo1776146382.4%
Gore54945282.3%
Waipukurau28123182.2%
Hastings5735470782.1%
Te Kuiti51542081.6%
Whanganui3394275481.1%
Marton30724981.1%
Chatham Islands584781.0%
Nelson3839310881.0%
Oamaru61449680.8%
Dannevirke36829580.2%
Whangarei5768462180.1%
Kaikohe2593207480.0%
Masterton1807144580.0%
Taihape31425179.9%
Rotorua6885549979.9%
Te Awamutu66652979.4%
Hamilton142791134179.4%
Tauranga8247649578.8%
Waitakere9594755578.7%
Hutt Valley6188487278.7%
Kaitaia1522119478.4%
Papakura3420266778.0%
Ashburton77460377.9%
Ruatoria14911677.9%
Thames90770477.6%
Alexandra45735176.8%
Taumarunui41331776.8%
Levin2109161776.7%
Napier4970376775.8%
Invercargill4156314975.8%
Otahuhu/Manukau204141546675.8%
Christchurch181581374075.7%
Palmerston North5792438175.6%
Kaikoura1098275.2%
Porirua4075305274.9%
Gisborne4082299873.4%
Morrinsville109280273.4%
New Plymouth3818279773.3%
Wairoa59443272.7%
Dunedin4555329372.3%
North Shore6062436272.0%
Timaru2334166571.3%
Blenheim2237157670.5%
Greymouth103470668.3%
Auckland212171445668.1%
Queenstown90160266.8%
Wellington7263469864.7%
"Other proved"

The data also shows that 3.7% of adult outcomes in District and High Courts during 2018 were "other proved" but not recorded as convictions. These included where Police offered diversion or the person was discharged without conviction under section 105 of the Sentencing Act 2002.

Queenstown District Court had the biggest proportion of “other proved” (diversion or discharge without conviction) outcomes in 2018, at over 20% of all outcomes. At the other end of the scale were Rotorua and Whanganui District and High Courts.

Proportion of adult prosecutions resulting on an "other proved" finding, 2018
CourtOutcomesOther Proved% Other Proved
Queenstown90118820.9%
Kaikoura1091513.8%
Alexandra4574710.3%
Greymouth10341029.9%
Levin21091788.4%
Oamaru614518.3%
Waipukurau281217.5%
Taumarunui413297.0%
Chatham Islands5846.9%
Marton307216.8%
North Shore60624056.7%
Te Awamutu666436.5%
Wairoa594376.2%
Thames907556.1%
Ashburton774445.7%
Blenheim22371225.5%
Taupo1776955.3%
Westport374205.3%
Hawera1203635.2%
Palmerston North57922945.1%
Dunedin45552285.0%
Gore549274.9%
Te Kuiti515254.9%
Taihape314154.8%
Porirua40751944.8%
Wellington72633434.7%
Ruatoria14974.7%
Auckland212179714.6%
Invercargill41561904.6%
Timaru2334994.2%
Morrinsville1092444.0%
Tokoroa1379554.0%
New Plymouth38181524.0%
Hutt Valley61882433.9%
Otahuhu/Manukau204147613.7%
Waitakere95943353.5%
Napier49701703.4%
Dannevirke368123.3%
Pukekohe2420783.2%
Hamilton142794393.1%
Whakatane33921043.1%
Waihi686213.1%
Nelson38391163.0%
Dargaville464143.0%
Papakura3420932.7%
Masterton1807482.7%
Christchurch181584402.4%
Kaitaia1522362.4%
Kaikohe2593592.3%
Huntly1214262.1%
Tauranga82471712.1%
Gisborne4082781.9%
Opotiki833151.8%
Hastings57351011.8%
Whangarei5768981.7%
Whanganui3394551.6%
Rotorua68851101.6%
"Not proved"

Of the rest of the outcomes in 2018, 19.8% were “not proved”. This includes where the person was acquitted or discharged or where the charge was dismissed or withdrawn. A very small proportion of cases (“other”) resulted in a stay of proceeding, the person being found unfit to stand trial or acquitted on account of insanity.

Dargaville District Court had the lowest proportion of “not proved” outcomes in 2018 at 9.5%, while Wellington District and High Courts had the highest proportion of “not proved” outcomes (30.3%).

Proportion of adult prosecutions resulting in a "not proved" outcome, 2018
CourtOutcomesNot proved% Not proved
Wellington7263219830.3%
Auckland21217573027.0%
Gisborne408299924.5%
Blenheim223753924.1%
Timaru233454623.4%
Morrinsville109224622.5%
Dunedin4555102122.4%
New Plymouth381884822.2%
Greymouth103422621.9%
Christchurch18158392021.6%
North Shore6062128221.1%
Wairoa59412521.0%
Napier4970102620.6%
Otahuhu/Manukau20414412620.2%
Porirua407581320.0%
Papakura342065819.2%
Palmerston North5792110919.1%
Invercargill415679419.1%
Tauranga8247156218.9%
Rotorua6885124118.0%
Kaitaia152226717.5%
Ruatoria1492617.4%
Whangarei5768100317.4%
Waitakere9594165917.3%
Hamilton14279245017.2%
Masterton180730516.9%
Hutt Valley6188104416.9%
Dannevirke3686116.6%
Kaikohe259342816.5%
Taumarunui4136716.2%
Whanganui339454616.1%
Hastings573591916.0%
Thames90714516.0%
Taihape3144815.3%
Levin210931214.8%
Ashburton77411414.7%
Nelson383956114.6%
Te Awamutu6669414.1%
Whakatane339246913.8%
Te Kuiti5157013.6%
Huntly121416113.3%
Opotiki83310913.1%
Gore5497012.8%
Alexandra4575812.7%
Hawera120314812.3%
Taupo177621712.2%
Pukekohe242029312.1%
Chatham Islands58712.1%
Marton3073712.1%
Queenstown90110812.0%
Tokoroa137916311.8%
Kaikoura1091211.0%
Waihi6867410.8%
Oamaru6146610.7%
Westport3743910.4%
Waipukurau2812910.3%
Dargaville464449.5%

Last updated on the 16th September 2019