Herbert Ford, 559-592-0980, 559-732-0313.
ACADEMIC SAYS GOVERNOR LIBELS PITCAIRN PEOPLE AND CALLS FOR HALT TO PRESENT TRIALS AND MOVEMENT TOWARD 'RESTORATIVE JUSTICE' FOR PITCAIRN ISLAND.
ANGWIN (Napa County) Calif., July 23, 2003—In light of revelations of totally inappropriate behavior by prosecutors of supposed sex crimes on Pitcairn Island, the director of a U.S.-based educational study center here has charged the British-appointed governor of Pitcairn with libeling the Pitcairn people.
Herbert Ford, director of the Pitcairn Islands Study Center headquartered near San Francisco, has also called for a shut-down of the present legal debacle in favor of a plan of “restorative justice” for the tiny South Pacific Island made famous by the famed “Mutiny on the Island.”
“The Pitcairn people are being held up to world-wide public hatred, ridicule and contempt by the piecemeal approach to prosecution of this matter by Pitcairn Governor Richard Fell,” said Ford.
“In his numerous and hugely expensive sending of investigators, prosecutors, court clerk, defense attorney, communications technician, social workers, police officers, builders, and others from England and New Zealand to Pitcairn - all their goings and comings back and forth accompanied by press coverage - the Pitcairn people as a whole now stand convicted in the world court of public opinion of lawlessness of which they absolutely are not guilty,” said Ford.
Recent photographs taken of prosecution lawyers and magistrate dressing in wigs and a mold of fake woman’s breasts is but the latest in a more than three year long litany of bits and pieces about this matter that have been scattered about the world thus irrevocably tainting world opinion of the Pitcairn Island people, Ford said.
“Governor Fell, in his incompetent approach to this legal matter, -- which may well spell the end habitation on Pitcairn Island – must assume responsibility for this as well as for other bunglings that have attended ‘The Pitcairn Trials’,” Ford said.
The study center director called for an immediate shut-down of the over-kill machinery the governor has mustered for the trials. In its place he calls for the application of a plan of “restorative justice,” such as that used successfully used with indigenous people of Canada.
“In this plan those involved take ownership of the problem, and work through a process which in the end leaves them stronger, while still being vindicated with their complaints and those responsible accountable and accepting of what punishment may result,” said Ford.
“This plan aims to hold families and a community together, rather than tearing it apart as is now being done to Pitcairn Island.
“The problem is that here is an isolated, tiny community in trouble. And here is an opportunity to find a solution that works to the extent that it provides a model for small communities the world over, to adopt and implement and deal with this world-wide problem of sexual abuse.
“The British government, which controls Pitcairn, has an opportunity in this matter, through this plan, to become a shining example to the world, all handed to them on a platter. They could lead the world in dealing with this insidious problem. Instead, the one lesson every Pitcairner has learned is that if you are in trouble, don’t ever go to the police unless you want your family and community to be totally destroyed,” Ford said.
“The solution to this thus far incompetently handled matter is extremely simple and inexpensive, versus the hundred of thousands of dollars already heedlessly and needlessly spent on ‘The Pitcairn Trials;’ it is a thoughtfully constructed process of restorative justice.
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars already spent – some of it to build a new, three cell jail on Pitcairn with kitchen, office, etc., seeming to forecast convictions . . . – and many other big expenditures, and the trials haven’t even started yet! What will it be like once a Pitcairner is in the dock?” asked Ford.
The study center director was particularly critical of prosecution team members who allowed themselves to be photographed in sexually suggestive “drag” on a ship after they had handled sex charges on Pitcairn:
“It was totally inappropriate behavior,” said Ford. “It is particularly abhorrent that a woman - an assistant to the public prosecutor - so openly posed in the manner she did; “lewd” is the best way to describe it. This, besides being degrading to women, is also offensive to a community that is being branded as sexual offenders.
“The photographs show how closely the public prosecutor and the magistrate socialize. The behavior is that which can only occur among people who are either close friends or somehow depraved. Clearly the magistrate is in bed with the prosecution which means that the trials are a foregone conclusion.
“The behavior is intolerably disgusting, and those photographed must either resign or be dismissed.
“If they do not resign, and if the governor on his ‘legal advice’ fails to sack them, then he too is in bed with them and should resign! The trials are a set-up, of that there can be no doubt,” Ford said.