Those found guilty were sentenced on 29 October 2004.
The remoteness of Pitcairn (which lies about halfway between New Zealand and Peru) had shielded the tiny population (47 in 2004) from outside scrutiny.
Tosen was convinced, however, that the early sexual experience was very damaging to the girls. They did suffer, no doubt about it," he said emphatically.
Tosen opined that accounts of the Pitcairners' past transformation by Christianity, once popularised in missionary tracts, told only one side of the story.
In a symbolic rejection of British rule, islanders still celebrated this act annually by burning an effigy of the Bounty, according to Paul Dacre, the Pitcairn public defender.One Councillor told him, "Look, the age of consent has always been twelve and it doesn't hurt them." A study of island records confirmed anecdotal evidence that most girls bore their first child between the ages of 12 and 15."I think the girls were conditioned to accept that it was a man's world and once they turned 12, they were eligible," Tosen said.The islanders had for many decades tolerated what others classify as sexual promiscuity, even among the very young, claimed to be in line with traditional values of their Polynesian ancestors.In 1999 Gail Cox, a police officer from Kent, UK, served on a temporary assignment on Pitcairn, and began uncovering allegations of sexual abuse.
It was announced on 18 October that upon being sentenced, the defendants would be freed on bail until the Privy Council ruled on the constitutionality of the trial.