Among those convicted was the Pitcairn Island mayor, Steve Christian, who claims to be a direct descendant of mutiny leader Fletcher Christian. He was cleared of four indecent assaults and one rape but convicted of five other rapes, said Bryan Nicolson of the British High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand. The verdicts were read out by judges sent to the island from New Zealand who sat in makeshift courts in the Pitcairn community hall for the trials, which started on September Sentences were expected to be announced later this week.
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Pitcairn islanders lose appeal
A British woman allegedly raped during her childhood on Pitcairn told a court yesterday how men on the remote Pacific island were given free rein to treat young girls as sexual playthings. The witness, who cannot be identified, said she had kept her ordeal secret from even close family, so strong was the culture of silence on the island. She said: "It seemed to be the normal way of life on Pitcairn - how the girls were treated as though they were sex things. Men would do what they liked with them. They were a law unto themselves. She claims to have been raped by Steve Christian, now the island's mayor, who was described yesterday as the most powerful individual in the strong community. He is one of seven men on the island accused of a range of sexual offences dating back 40 years.
Pitcairn sex crimes case continues
With his son Randy, and a third man, Terry Young, Christian started a three-year term for sexually assaulting young girls on the tiny tropical island of Pitcairn. Together with three other islanders who were also found guilty but escaped prison sentences, the convicts represent almost half the adult male population of this mile-wide lump of South Pacific rock. Teams of warders, ferried in from New Zealand, will now guard the prisoners over the next few years, while British Ministry of Defence police have gone to Pitcairn to ensure law and order is maintained on this remote piece of UK territory.
Whatever the outcome of the Pitcairn sex abuse trial, the future of the island community is in doubt, writes Rosita Boland. When Fletcher Christian and the crew of the Bounty cast adrift Captain William Bligh and 18 of Bligh's men on the open seas, they sailed the ship on to Tahiti. Later, feeling that they were not out of reach of the British authorities, Christian sailed with eight of his own men, six Tahitian men and 12 Tahitian women in search of an uninhabited island to begin a new community. He found Pitcairn: isolated, fertile, beautiful and empty. In , Pitcairn's Anglo-Tahitian population is still tiny, numbering only