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Justice, Legality and the Rule of Law
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Justice, Legality and the Rule of Law: Lessons from the Pitcairn Prosecutions

Dawn Oliver

Abstract

A British colony of fifty inhabitants in the Pacific Ocean, Pitcairn Island was settled by the Bounty mutineers and nineteen Polynesians in 1790. In 2004, six Pitcairn men were convicted of numerous offenses against girls and young women, committed over a thirty year period, in what appears to have been a culture of sexual abuse on the island. This case has raised many questions: what right did the British government have to initiate these prosecutions? Was it fair to prosecute the defendants, given that no laws had been published on the island? Indeed, what, if any, law was there on this isla ... More

Keywords: Pitcairn Island, sexual abuse, colonial law, law on paper, compensation, human rights, cultural relativism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199568666
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568666.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Dawn Oliver, editor
Emeritus Professor of Constitutional Law, University College London