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Fewer offenders doing more crime

While fewer people were convicted at Masterton District Court in the most recent financial year, the number of charges has remained relatively stable.

Less than 600 people were convicted at the court in the 2020/21 financial year, the lowest number within a decade.

Figures made public by the Ministry of Justice showed 559 people were convicted at Wairarapa’s only courthouse from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

The data, which covered the period from 2011/12 to 2020/21, showed the previous low had been in 2016/2017 when 591 people were convicted of offences. The year with the highest number of convicted offenders had been 2011/2012, with 805 people convicted of offences.

Overall, the number of convicted offenders slightly decreased from 611 in 2019/20 to 559 in the 2020/21 period. This was a significant decrease from the start of the decade when 805 people were convicted of offences at the court in 2011/12.

While an offender could receive more than one type of sentence when convicted of a charge, the data provided counted a person once per financial year and showed the most serious sentence of their most serious conviction.

In Wairarapa, the most common serious sentence was monetary [31 per cent], followed by community work [15 per cent], and supervision [13 per cent].

The least common sentences were home detention [2 per cent], no sentence recorded [4 per cent – which included offenders who were convicted and discharged, and orders for court costs], and other [4 per cent – for example, disqualification from driving, alcohol interlock orders, or an order to attend a course].

Thirty-five people [6 per cent] received imprisonment, the most serious type of sentence, as their most serious sentence.

An average over the decade showed about 40 people received imprisonment as their most serious sentence at Masterton District Court each year.

Of the 2102 charges faced at Masterton District Court in 2020/2021, 1708 [81 per cent] resulted in convictions, 305 [15 per cent] were not proved, 82 [4 per cent] were other proved [such as discharges and diversions]. Seven were other [which included being found not guilty by reason of insanity or unfit to stand trial].

The overall figure was not much changed from the previous period’s total of 2109, despite the smaller number of convicted offenders, indicating fewer offenders had been convicted of a similar number of crimes.

It was, however, a substantial decrease from the 2552 charges at the court in 2011/12.

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