24 May 2005

Judgment on Pitcairn generic legal argument due today

7:16 am on 24 May 2005

Six Pitcairn Island men will find out today whether their convictions on sex abuse charges will be quashed.

The Pitcairn Supreme Court, sitting in Auckland, is due to deliver its decision on whether English law was properly promulgated on the British territory of Pitcairn.

The defence has argued that Britain failed to inform islanders that they would be prosecuted under English law for serious offences such as rape and that the island had an inadequate justice system.

If the three judges find in favour of the defence then the mens guilty findings will be overturned.

A win for the Crown is expected to see their convictions formally entered and this may also see the four men facing custodial sentences sent to prison after six months on bail.

However, legal action is set to continue, including a Privy Council hearing later this year into British sovereignty of Pitcairn.