Deported ‘Storyteller’ frustrated by court delay in awarding damages
Barbara Gayle/Gleaner Contributor
Deported Jamaican, Richard ‘Storyteller’ Morrison, is fed up with the long delay by the court to conclude his negligence case against the Jamaican government for wrongful extradition.
Morrison, a building contractor, says he does not know what else to do but to bring his plight to the attention of the Appeal Court.
"All I know for sure is that this has been an extraordinary persecution not prosecution for an ordinary man," he told The Gleaner.
Morrison said shortly before midday Monday, he went to the Court of Appeal to file documents requesting that the Supreme Court be compelled to deliver its judgment on the compensation to be awarded to him in the claim he brought against the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General.
However, Morrison said he was told by a court officer that he must first get an order from the Supreme Court itself before the matter can be accepted to be heard by the Appeal Court.
This has been confirmed by an Appeal Court official.
Meanwhile, Morrison has vowed to continue the fight to get justice.
Attorney Bert Samuels says the deportee could take the matter to the Constitutional Court to get damages resulting from the delay.
"One of the failures in the system is that you cannot compel a Supreme Court Judge to give a decision," said Samuels.
Morrison, who was reported to be an alleged former leader of the notorious Shower Posse Gang, came to national attention in 1991 when he was wrongfully extradited to the United States of America while an appeal against his extradition order was pending.
The government unsuccessfully attempted to have him returned to Jamaica.
Morrison was tried in a US court and convicted on offences for which he was not extradited.
He maintained that on September 24, 1994, the only indictment for which he was extradited was dismissed for lack of evidence.
According to Morrison, the dismissal was proof that no evidence was presented in compliance with the dual criminality clause of the Extradition Treaty which would have justified his extradition.
After spending 22 years in a US prison, Morrison was deported to Jamaica in 2013.
Ever since his return, Morrison has been seeking compensation for negligence in relation to the wrongful extradition and mental anguish he suffered in US prison.
In 2017, the government accepted liability, but Morrison rejected the proposed compensation saying it was too meagre.
The matter went to the Supreme Court for the assessment of damages for negligence and in March this year a decision was reserved in relation to the figure.
Morrison said he wrote to Chief Justice Bryan Sykes in July seeking his intervention to resolve the delay, however, he has not received any response.
Earlier this month, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck called on newly appointed President of the Court of Appeal Patrick Brooks to ensure that the backlog of cases is reduced significantly and that judgments are delivered in a timely manner.
"There are far too many judgments not only in the Supreme Court but in the Court of Appeal that are still lagging for months and years," Chuck emphasised.
Morrison, 65, said he suffered a stroke because of the stress and frustration in getting justice.
"I can’t believe what the system is putting me through," he told The Gleaner.
In court documents, he said he may not know the proper procedure or format but if the Court of Appeal can understand why he is asking for its intervention, it should instruct him on what to do if necessary.
Meanwhile, Morrison insists that he has never been a member of the Shower Posse Gang.
"Every day, I am forced to listen to members of the present government and certain officers of the court shamelessly beat their chests claiming that the system is fair and violating any Jamaican citizen’s rights are beneath them or their office. I can’t speak for other cases, but I am sure that I have not met anyone since July 4, 1990 when my ordeal started that has any fairness when it comes to dealing with my case both in the United States and Jamaica and I openly challenge anyone anywhere to prove me wrong," he said.
Morrison continued: “I don’t know if it’s because the Jamaican government was or to this day is appeasing the United States why Jamaica has thrown my due process rights out the window.”
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