1 Jul 2004

US academic calls for restorative justice in Pitcairn

3:42 pm on 1 July 2004

A academic in the United States says the decision to hold the trial of seven people accused of rape and sexual assault on Pitcairn Island doesn't assure the future of the territory.

The director of the Pitcairn Islands Study Centre in California, Herbert Ford, says the trial should be scrapped in favour of restorative justice.

Mr Ford says the trial is likely to deepen already existing splits in the community, to the extent that there could be a migration away from Pitcairn.

He says restorative justice will exact such justice as is found to be needed, while at the same time building bridges between existing island factions.

The expert adds that the process of restorative justice would bring all who are party to the matter to the table in a moderated, informal setting.

He says such a process has a proven track record in areas where there are small, indigenous groups as is found on Pitcairn Island.