Lawyers for a group of Pitcairn Island men accused of involvement in decades of sex abuse produced documents dating back to 1838 in an Australian court yesterday to argue that Britain has no jurisdiction over the case. \nThirteen islanders face multiple sex charges with women and girls as young as three years old in a case that is testing London's claim to Pitcairn. Some of the accusations date back 40 years. \nThe tiny, isolated South Pacific island, 2,160km southeast of Tahiti and 5,300km from New Zealand, is administered by Britain, although residents have resisted British laws since settling there after the 1789 mutiny on the HMS Bounty. \nMost of the residents are descendants of the famous mutineers on the Bounty. Defense lawyers claim the islanders severed all ties with Britain when they burned the Bounty on Jan. 23, 1790. They have been arguing that the accused should be tried by the Pitcairn community. \nIn the Pitcairn Supreme Court, which is sitting in South Auckland, former Australian judge Adrian Cook said that he had uncovered historic documents in England that were "immensely significant." \nCook, who is representing seven of the accused, said the papers included acquisition documents drawn up by Captain Elliott of the British warship HMS Fly, which visited the islands in November 1838. \nHe described the matter as of fundamental importance and requested more time to study the documents he had found in England last month, adding he also needed to resolve the issue of copyright on the documents and arrange for expert opinion from England. \nAs well as the documents relating to the Fly's visit, Cook said he would also offer as evidence written reports to the British Admiralty from warships which visited the islands between 1830 and 1910. \nThe court granted Cook a delay until March 12, when he must file new documentary evidence. Pro-secutors were given until March 26 to reply and the court would deliver a decision on April 19. \nProsecutors want the trial held in New Zealand because it would be virtually impossible on Pitcairn, which has no airstrip or harbor and insufficient accommodation for court officials.
The images of a besuited Ferdinand Marcos Jr, clad in a top hat and leaning nonchalantly on a Rolls-Royce, dating from his time in Britain in the 1970s, are as you might expect from the playboy scion of a kleptocratic dictator. Yet as the Marcos family returns to power in the Philippines after a landslide presidential victory by Marcos Jr, he is facing calls to stop misrepresenting the circumstances of his studies at the University of Oxford. The university has confirmed that he did not complete his degree in philosophy, politics and economics after enrolling in 1975. “According to our records, he did
CALIBRATED RESPONSE: The city-state has learned from its past experiences of dealing with COVID-19 variants to assess the situation and the risks, the transport minister said Singapore will strive to keep its borders open and stay connected to the rest of world even if a new variant of COVID-19 emerges, Singaporean Minister for Transport S. Iswaran said on Wednesday. The city-state has learned from its past experiences of dealing with COVID-19 variants, Iswaran said in an interview with Bloomberg News. When the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 hit, Singapore did not backtrack on its reopening plans, but rather decided to wait and see how things panned out, he said, adding that the response was different versus the Delta outbreak. “We’ve all learned to adapt,” Iswaran said on the sidelines
Administrators at an elite Beijing university have backed down from plans to further tighten restrictions on students as part of China’s “zero COVID-19” strategy after a weekend protest at the school, students said on Tuesday. Graduate students at Peking University staged the protest on Sunday over the school’s decision to erect a sheet-metal wall to keep them further sequestered on campus, while allowing faculty to come and go freely. Discontent had already been simmering over regulations prohibiting them from ordering in food or having visitors, and daily COVID-19 testing. A citywide lockdown of Shanghai and expanded restrictions in Beijing in the past few
A former Australian envoy to the Solomon Islands has accused Australia’s government of losing the trust of South Pacific island countries and of ushering in greater Chinese influence. Retired career diplomat Trevor Sofield told a security summit yesterday that he found it “inconceivable” that the Solomon Islands government did not trust Australia enough to consult with it when a bilateral security pact with Beijing was first considered. “That would not have happened a few years ago,” said Sofield, who was Australian high commissioner to the Solomon Islands from 1982 to 1985. The pact, which was concluded last month, has been a major issue