Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 7 July 2004

The 'Empire' ain't quite dead yet, it seems

The 'British Empire', that is. Of course, it is no longer referred to as an 'Empire', instead we (and many other countries) have what are known as 'Dependent Territories' and in the UK's case one of these is Pitcairn Island, an island located in the southern Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and Peru.

This bizarre story caught my attention. It seems that seven of the men who live there, out of a total island population of only about 50, face multiple sex abuse charges. They are accused of 96 sexual offences, including child rape, and some of the allegations date back to the 1960s. Britain has been obliged to construct a prison in case they are found guilty as the island's Supreme Court, which met naturally enough in Auckland (New Zealand), have ruled that the men are entitled to be tried at home. The UK has asked New Zealand for assistance in providing staff for the seven-hut, minimum security jail.

Pitcairn island is that curious outpost where Fletcher Christian and his band of mutineers, who seized control of the British merchant ship HMS Bounty in the late 1700s, settled and many of the island's residents are their descendants.

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