20 Apr 2004

Pitcairn sex abuse case closer to court

9:21 am on 20 April 2004

The Public Prosecutor for Pitcairn Island believes the Pitcairn Supreme Court has made a landmark decision by allowing the trials of thirteen men accused of sexual assaults to be held in New Zealand.

The court, sitting in Auckland, has been hearing preliminary matters in the case which involves historical allegations of sexual abuse on the remote island.

The court says the island comes under British Sovereignty, and therefore its law, and that its courts can sit in New Zealand.

The Public Prosecutor for Pitcairn Island Simon Moore says the decision means the prosecution can now start working through legal issues to get the case started.

"This is a landmark decision as far as the case is concerned, and it's something we've obviously been waiting for. What it now provides us is a green light, to be able to move on to the next phases, and start to deal with the merits of the case, we hope."

Simon Moore says six men still have to be formally charged and extradition issues sorted out.

The case goes back to court in June.