Legal counsel for suspended prison officer, Ryan Morris has disclosed plans to appeal a $2, 500.00 fine that was imposed on him after he was found guilty at the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court on two drug-related charges – Possession and Trafficking of a Controlled Drug.
The sentence was handed down last week Thursday by Acting Supreme Court Master, Tamara Gill, who returned to the Magistrate’s Court during the course of last week to resolve some of the matters she presided over as Chief Magistrate prior to taking up her post in September as a High Court Master on appointment by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC).
As part of the sentence handed down by Gill, Morris was ordered to pay the fine to the state within the next four months and in default serve a sentence of 12 months in prison.
However, Clouden said that although the court spared Morris the custodial sentence for the offences, which carries a maximum custodial sentence of ten years behind bars (and) or fine of five hundred thousand dollars ($500, 000.00), the lawyer believes he has a fighting chance to get the appellate court to acquit his client.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY on Monday, Clouden said Morris’ trial revealed that there were other persons with access to the locker at the Richmond Hill Prison inside which the illegal substance was found, which he believes has “raised (the) requisite doubts that is required to get an acquittal.”
He felt that “there is a good point of law that needs to be explored at the appellate level because it raises a doubt or the probability that somebody else could have put that (the drugs) in his bag because they didn’t search his bag when he entered the prison.”
Morris was employed at the Prison for several years before he was arrested and charged for the offences in January 2014 amidst reports that prison officers had been monitoring him for some time.
Two weeks prior to his arrest, a search of the locker which he used at the prison turned up a ¼ lb of marijuana, while another search of his residence at La Sagesse in St. David yielded another ¼ lb of the illegal drugs.
Morris was suspended from his job at the prison by the Public Service Commission (PSC) with half pay until the matter is resolved.