Pitcairn men allowed to challenge UK sovereignty

The seven Pitcairn Island men accused of multiple sex abuse charges have won the right to challenge British sovereignty over the Pacific outcrop before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the highest appeal court for Britain's overseas colonies, and even some of its ex-colonies. Lawyers for the accused, who include the island's mayor, argue that British sovereignty over the island ended when the band of mutineers that founded the island settlement broke away from the British HMS Bounty and burned their ship. The present trial will continue, but a Privy Council ruling could alter the effect of any verdict, especially if British sovereignty over the island is denied. The seven men, a majority of the tiny island's 12 adult males, are accused of 55 sex crimes that date as far back as 40 years. AFP has more. For more on the island's history, see the Pitcairn government's website.

 

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