18 Apr 2005

Attempt to quash Pitcairn convictions begins in Auckland

6:46 am on 18 April 2005

A challenge to quash the sex abuse convictions of six Pitcairn Islanders begins today in the Pitcairn Supreme Court, sitting in Auckland.

The men claim islanders never realised that English law applied on the remote Pacific Island and say the court system that convicted them breached their rights.

British diplomats govern Pitcairn from Wellington by a series of local Pitcairn ordinances which they say are complemented by English law for serious offences.

They say correct legal procedures have always been followed.

Since October when the 6 men were sentenced they have remained free in the Pitcairn community.

If they lose this week's argument the sentences will be activated and the four men with jail terms possibly locked up.