‘Mon­key money’

Sto­ry­teller Mor­ri­son re­jects Gov­ern­ment’s com­pen­sa­tion of­fer as too small

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Bar­bara Gayle Sun­day Gleaner Writer

WRONG­FULLY EX­TRA­DITED al­leged for­mer Shower Posse leader Richard ‘Sto­ry­teller’ Mor­ri­son has re­jected a com­pen­sa­tion of­fer from the Gov­ern­ment be­cause he be­lieves the money put on the ta­ble is too mea­gre.

While not dis­clos­ing the amount of­fered, Mor­ri­son, who was ex­tra­dited to the United States in 1991 while his ap­peal against an ex­tra­di­tion or­der was still pend­ing, told The

Sun­day Gleaner that he re­jected the of­fer on the ba­sis that what is pro­posed is an in­sult to the 22 years of men­tal an­guish he suf­fered be­hind bars in the USA.

“I am re­lieved that the Gov­ern­ment has ac­cepted li­a­bil­ity after an al­most four-year bat­tle in the Supreme Court, but the an­guish and pain I suf­fered and I’m still suf­fer­ing be­cause of the Gov­ern­ment’s er­ror can­not be taken lightly,” said the now 62-year-old Mor­ri­son.

He added that his health has de­te­ri­o­rated and the amount of­fered by the Gov­ern­ment can­not even pay his med­i­cal ex­penses.

“It is heart-rend­ing to ex­plain the men­tal an­guish, chronic de­pres­sion, loss of so­cial and fam­ily life, loss of law­ful eco­nomic and so­cial ad­vance­ment in a pro­duc­tive life that I suf­fered ... be­cause of this in­jus­tice that was done to me,” said Mor­ri­son, who has re­peat­edly ar­gued that he was not a mem­ber of the Shower Posse and was not in­volved in any il­le­gal acts.

“I lost every­thing and will never recover from the time spent be­hind bars be­cause of this neg­li­gence.

“What both­ers me the most now is that the Gov­ern­ment of my coun­try, which has robbed me of every­thing by its un­law­ful act in ex­tra­dit­ing me, is now in­sult­ing and fur­ther de­hu­man­is­ing me by this small of­fer for com­pen­sa­tion,” charged Mor­ri­son.

In the mean­time, at­tor­ney-at-law Pa­trick Bai­ley, who is rep­re­sent­ing Mor­ri­son, told our news team that the mat­ter will have to go to the Supreme Court for an as­sess­ment of dam­ages.

“Mr Mor­ri­son is not pleased with the of­fer and he is very dis­turbed that he spent the prime of his life in prison,” said Bai­ley.

Ac­cord­ing to Bai­ley, he is now in the process of re­spond­ing to the of­fer but is do­ing some re­search to show sim­i­lar cases in which sub­stan­tial awards were made.

The Gov­ern­ment, in ac­cept­ing li­a­bil­ity, de­cided last month to com­pen­sate Mor­ri­son for neg­li­gence, breach of con­sti­tu­tional right to lib­erty and breach of pro­tec­tion of the law.

This stems from a case which started on July 6, 1990, when the United States gov­ern­ment is­sued an ex­tra­di­tion re­quest for the al­leged gang­ster Mor­ri­son to face charges of con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute and pos­sess with in­tent to dis­trib­ute co­caine and mar­i­juana, mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der.

Fol­low­ing a court hear­ing, an or­der was made in Fe­bru­ary 1991 for him to be

ex­tra­dited. As a re­sult of the ex­tra­di­tion or­der, Mor­ri­son filed an ap­pli­ca­tion in the Supreme Court seek­ing his im­me­di­ate re­lease from cus­tody. He lost his le­gal bat­tles in the Supreme Court and the Court of Ap­peal.

Mor­ri­son said he was then ad­vised by Queen’s Coun­sel Berthan Macau­lay (now de­ceased) that he had a strong ap­peal, and on April 29, 1991 he filed a notice of in­ten­tion to ap­ply for leave to take his case to the United King­dom-based Privy Coun­cil,

“”I had in­tended, on the ad­vice of my then lawyer, to chal­lenge the de­ci­sions of the Court of Ap­peal on grounds, in­ter alia, of a chal­lenge to the min­is­ter’s con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­ity to sign the ex­tra­di­tion war­rant,” said Mor­ri­son.

He told The Sun­day Gleaner that notice of the in­tended ap­pli­ca­tion was served on the at­tor­ney gen­eral, but on June 5, 1991, the min­is­ter act­ing on be­half of the Gov­ern­ment of Ja­maica signed the war­rant to sur­ren­der him to the US.

“I felt help­less and let down when my coun­try un­law­fully ex­tra­dited me to the USA on June 12, 1991. This un­law­ful act caused me to suf­fer breaches of my con­sti­tu­tional right to lib­erty and due process, “charged Mor­ri­son.

“I am cer­tain I would have won my ap­peal to the Privy Coun­cil if I was not ex­tra­dited,” added Mor­ri­son.

Fol­low­ing the er­ror, the Gov­ern­ment en­gaged the ser­vices of the Amer­i­can law firm Hol­land & Knight to mount le­gal chal­lenges to have Mor­ri­son re­turned to the is­land to com­plete his ap­peal process, but this move failed.

Ac­cord­ing to Mor­ri­son, he was not tried for the of­fences for which he was ex­tra­dited, as the Rule of Spe­cial­ity de­manded. He said he was tried un­der a new in­dict­ment, found guilty and sen­tenced to 24 years in prison.

Mor­ri­son was in­car­cer­ated in var­i­ous pe­nal in­sti­tu­tions in the USA from June 12, 1991 to Jan­uary 31, 2013 when he was re­leased and de­ported.

Now Mor­ri­son says while he will never for­get the trauma the Gov­ern­ment’s er­ror caused him, he wants the le­gal bat­tle to end soon with a sub­stan­tial award from the State.


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