A prosecutor has told the Darwin Magistrates Court that dozens of long-standing arrest warrants have been withdrawn because it is too expensive to extradite the alleged offenders back to the Northern Territory.

More than 100 people charged with criminal offences have had their cases dismissed.

Some of the alleged offences were committed up to 17 years ago, but have never been resolved.

The cases include offences involving weapons, drugs, theft and assault, as well as one man accused of commercial fishing in closed waters.

The court heard that, in some of the cases, it would be impossible to identify the accused, because no photographs or fingerprints exist.

Prosecutors said many of those who could be identified have been found living in other states in Australia.

But because some of the offences are considered relatively minor, they say it would not be cost effective to extradite the accused to the Territory to face the charges against them.

Prosecutor Bronte Lamshed said that those charged could not be brought before Northern Territory courts unless the cases involved murder, kidnap or armed robbery, because of the high costs involved.

The alleged offenders have been formally discharged from the courts.

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