26 Oct 2004

Pitcairn prosecutor says case was tip of an iceberg

8:20 am on 26 October 2004

The Pitcairn public prosecutor says the sex abuse trials in which five men have been found guilty of rape and indecent assault are only the tip of the iceberg.

The island's mayor, Steve Christian, and his son Randy have been found guilty of rape, and three other men have been found guilty of a total of 18 sex charges.

A sixth man pleaded guilty during the trials, while a seventh was acquitted.

The public prosecutor, Simon Moore, says the court cases accounted for only some of the offences the police had investigated.

"I never expected it to be as big as we found it to be, and I think we ended up with something like 30 women who were contacted and who said they'd been sexually abused."

But, Simon Moore says some of the accused were dead, while several of the complainants were not prepared to go to court.

He also says if those now convicted are sentenced to jail, they may not serve out their entire time behind bars.

Under the sentencing laws that apply in Pitcairn there are quite a few options that are available in terms of permitting people out to undertake key duties in the community.