Six men from Pitcairn Island lost their final appeal on Monday against convictions for sex offenses against women and girls on the remote Pacific home of descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers.
Britain's Privy Council, the final court of appeal for many British territories and former colonies, rejected the defendants' argument that English law did not apply on the tiny, central Pacific island, inhabited by fewer than 100 people.
Former Pitcairn mayor Steve Christian and five others were convicted in October 2004 on charges including rape and indecent assault of mostly underage girls over a 40-year period.
Four of the men face prison terms after their appeals against the sex abuse convictions were dismissed.
They had been released pending the outcome of the appeal but will now have to serve their sentences.
"Despite the difficulties of prosecuting serious crimes such as these in such a remote location, it is important that child sex offenders are dealt with by the courts," said Lord Triesman, the Foreign Office minister responsible for issues involving overseas territories. "The decision today opens the way for this remote community to move forward."
Pitcairn was the refuge of men who mutinied aboard the HMS Bounty in 1789. Some settled on Pitcairn along with Tahitian brides.
Pitcairn Deputy Governor Matthew Forbes said the Pitcairn Supreme Court, based in New Zealand, will shortly issue warrants for the men to begin their prison terms in the island's new prison.
"I expect within days they will start serving sentences," he told New Zealand's National Radio.
He said a specially constructed prison has been built on Pitcairn "so that the prisoners can serve time ... where they committed the crime and where their families were as well."
The Privy Council ruling had been expected for quite some time "so hopefully the community can look beyond this and start to move forward," he said.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after