Pitcairn mayor on child porn charges

By Edward Gay

The mayor of the tiny Pacific island torn apart by sex trials six years ago is facing 25 charges of possessing images and videos of child pornography on his computer.

Pitcairn leader Michael Warren, 46, will face the island's Magistrate's Court this month.

He has been charged with 20 representative counts of possessing indecent photos of children and five of possessing pornographic images, videos and documents involving children.

Warren was arrested by the New Zealand police officer seconded to the island, which is 5000km northeast of Auckland. The officer made the arrest in May on behalf of the British High Commission.

Warren had been granted name suppression but that lapsed this week.

Two laptops, two hard drives and a CD wallet containing 48 CDs have been confiscated from him.

According to court documents, police examined Warren's computers and found more than 1000 pornographic images and videos of children on them.

While the police searched the home, Warren is alleged to have said he had downloaded pornographic photos and videos to his computers by accident using the file-sharing application Limewire. Limewire has since been shut down.

Warren declined to say anything more to the officer.

The Deputy Governor of Pitcairn, Ginny Silva, said Warren's trial could take place on the island or in New Zealand, but that decision was up to the magistrate.

Simon Moore SC will prosecute the case as the Pitcairn public prosecutor and will be joined by New Zealand lawyer Simon Mount.

In 2004 and 2006, seven of the island's 12 men faced a total of 55 sex crimes, some dating back 40 years. Six were found guilty, with four sentenced to jail terms of up to five years. The crimes included rape, incest and indecent assault against girls from the age of 7.

The then mayor, Steve Christian, was one of those convicted. He was found guilty of five rapes on girls as young as 11. His son Randy was convicted of four rapes and five indecent assaults.

At the time Warren described the criminal proceedings as show trials.

"We believe this whole thing was a set-up from the beginning," he said.

Warren's lawyer, Tony Ellis, did not return phone calls.

- NZ Herald

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