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  • In 2006/2007, adult criminal courts in Canada disposed of over 372,000 cases, involving more than one million charges. The number of cases disposed was virtually unchanged from the previous year.

  • The average elapsed time from first to last court appearance was just under 8 months (237 days) in 2006/2007, almost a full month longer than in the previous year (211 days).

  • Offences with the longest average time to resolve included homicide (451 days), fraud (377 days), other sexual offences (371 days), and sexual assault (368 days). The shortest mean elapsed time occurred for the offence of breach of probation (145 days).

  • The accused was found guilty in 65% of cases, and less than 4% were acquitted. Roughly one-third (30%) of cases were either stayed, withdrawn, dismissed or discharged, and 2% were otherwise terminated by the court.

  • A term of probation, which is frequently given in combination with other sanctions, was the most frequently imposed sanction (43% of guilty cases). A term of imprisonment was imposed in 34% of cases, and a fine was given in 30% of cases.

  • The proportion of cases sentenced to prison varied across the country. The highest rate of incarceration was in Prince Edward Island, where 55% of guilty cases resulted in a term of imprisonment, while the lowest rates of incarceration were in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where a prison sentence was imposed in about one-quarter of cases.

  • Among the ten jurisdictions (excludes Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) who consistently reported to the Adult Criminal Court Survey between 2002/2003 and 2006/2007, there was a 7% decline in the number of cases disposed of in adult criminal courts.

  • Cases have become more complex in recent years. Cases involving multiple charges represented 60% of the adult caseload in 2006/2007, compared with 57% five years earlier.

  • The percentage of guilty cases receiving custody has increased slightly in the past five years in the ten jurisdictions, from 32% in 2002/2003 to 34% in 2006/2007, while the percentage of guilty cases receiving fines has decreased (from 35% to 31%). During the same period, the percentage of guilty cases sentenced to probation has remained stable (45%).