30 Sep 2004

Pitcairn island sex trial begins

10:29 am on 30 September 2004

The trials of 7 Pitcairn Island men have just started, after four years of investigations into sex abuse allegations.

The men, who include the Pitcairn Mayor, Steve Christian, face a total of 55 charges, including 14 counts of rape, 37 of indecent assault and 2 of gross indecency.

Sue Ingram reports.

"Steve Christian, one of the most prominent men in the Pitcairn community, is the first of the defendants to appear in court. He faces six charges of rape and four of indecent assault relating to four women over the period 1964 to 1975. Later today, the cases against two other men may also open - those of Len Brown, the oldest defendant at 78, and his son Dave. All of the complainants are giving their evidence via a videolink with Auckland and will tell their stories in one block, which may involve them in giving testimony against more than one man at a time. This means that several trials may be opened and then adjourned, and two courts are going to be running simultaneously."