Pitcairn Island, some readers will know, was settled by the mutineers of HMAV Bounty.  Their descendants make up most of the 50-person population of the Island.  The national occupation, it appears, is keeping lawyers employed.

Michael Warren was the mayor of Pitcairn Island.  Alarmingly (since he worked in child protection), he was charged with possession of child pornography and of grossly indecent items.  The matter was dealt with in the Pitcairn Islands Supreme Court. He was sentenced to be imprisoned for 20 months: The State v Warren (2016) Radio New Zealand, 5 March 2016.. His appeal to the Pitcairn Islands Court of Appeal [6 July 2016] was dismissed: Warren v The State (2016) Radio New Zealand, 14 July 2016 . He appealed to the Privy Council.

Pitcairn_Island_In_The_Distance
Pitcairn Island (Image from here)

Perhaps in keeping with the Island’s mutinous heritage the appellant submitted that the Pitcairn Constitution Order 2010 was undemocratic, thereby breaching the Bill of Rights 1688 and various international human rights norms.  It followed (he said) that all arrangements for trials relating to Pitcairn were unlawful.

The Pitcairn Constitution Order was made under §2 of the British Settlements Act 1887 (UK) which says –

It shall be lawful for Her Majesty the Queen in Council from time to time to establish all such laws and institutions, and constitute such courts and officers, and make such provisions and regulations for the proceedings in the said courts and for the administration of justice, as may appear to Her Majesty in Council to be necessary for the peace, order, and good government of Her Majesty’s subjects and others within any British settlement.”

Following Sabally and N’Jie v Attorney General [1965] 1 QB 273, the Board accepted that the British Settlements Act 1887 did in fact enable the Crown to create a non-representative legislature where the population was too sparse or little-educated.  This was the situation of Pitcairn, whose population “is approximately 50 persons of whom fewer than 40 are adults”.

The appeal was dismissed

Warren v The State (Privy Council, 30 July 2018)

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