Two more Pitcairn Islanders living in New Zealand appeared in court today on sex charges as others prepare to take their case to the Privy Council in London.

The two appear in the Pitcairn Magistrate's Court, sitting at Papakura, south Auckland, under a special act of the New Zealand Parliament.

They faced historic sex crimes allegedly committed on the island as long ago as 1975.

The duo, whose names were suppressed, did not formally plead to the total of 23 charges and against them and were remanded to return to court in August.

Today the lawyer for one of the accused, Grant Illingworth QC said they both appeared under protest because a dispute over the legal jurisdiction of Britain over Pitcairn Island had yet to be resolved by the Privy Council in London.

The two have gone through the unusual process of being extradited within New Zealand so they can appear in the Pitcairn Magistrates Court.

The long-running and costly legal case has been heard in both New Zealand and on the remote British territory of Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, halfway between New Zealand and South America.

Seven islanders were tried on the island and six were convicted of sex crimes, some of which go back 40 years.

However, the islanders were now taking their case to the Privy Council in London, arguing the British judicial system did not apply to them. Because of that they said they could not be charged or convicted of sex crimes.

Of the six convicted, four face prison sentences but until the legal argument over jurisdiction is resolved, the sentences will not be served.

The Privy Council is due to hear the case next month but is due to go into recess after that and a ruling is not expected until later this year, possibly September or October.

The costs of all the hearings, expected to run into millions of dollars, are being met by the British Government.

- NZPA