24 May 2005

Pitcairn supreme court says English law applies in sex abuse cases

3:34 pm on 24 May 2005

The Pitcairn Supreme Court, sitting in Auckland, has ruled that English law was known to Pitcairn Islanders and that the convictions of six Pitcairn men on sex abuse charges should be formally entered.

The panel of three judges found against the defence arguments that Britain failed to inform Islanders that English law would be used to prosecute serious offences on the island.

The decision now goes to the Privy Council, which is also due to hear arguments that Pitcairn was never really British.

The men have been found guilty of raping and indecently assaulting young women, but their sentences and convictions were effectively suspended until today's ruling.