22 Apr 2005

Pitcairn supreme court hears claim Britain to blame for misunderstanding on law

5:06 am on 22 April 2005

The Pitcairn Supreme court sitting in Auckland has heard that Britain might be to blame for Pitcairn Islanders thinking the law did not apply to them.

Six island men are seeking to quash their sex abuse convictions claiming they did not know English law applied to serious offences on the remote British territory.

In 2000, as the sex abuse investigation was underway, the then Pitcairn deputy governor, Karen Wolstenholme, wrote to the British Foreign Office about the situation.

She said with factors such as the island's isolation and a lack of real authority, it was no surprise the community did not feel the law applied to them.

Earlier the Crown said it was clear that English law did apply to Pitcairn.