Would Nation News Editor Roy Morris Have Been Charged With Rape If Blogs Hadn’t Broken The Story?

roy-morris-barbados-rape.jpg

Did Blogs Prevent A Cover-Up… Or Is That Idea Absurd?

My friends, on Tuesday, August 14, 2007, veteran journalist Roy Morris was charged with rape by the Royal Barbados Police Force. He was released on bail after appearing in court.

This article is not about Roy’s guilt or innocence, or about the specifics of the criminal allegations. This article is about whether or not Bajan blogs impacted the decision of the police and the prosecutors to bring formal charges against a well known and influential journalist.

During the past four weeks everyone heard the rumours – whether from a friend at work, at the local rum shop, online at various Bajan blogs and chat sites or while on the ZR after school. Now, after four weeks of uncertainty and rumours Mr. Morris has been charged and he will face his accuser in court.

Would Mr. Morris have been charged at all if various Barbados blogs hadn’t carried the story?

Here are some of our thoughts at BFP, then we’d like to hear your opinions in the comments section.

First, what currently appears online in the Barbados media…

Editor Charged With Rape

Editor Roy Morris has appeared in court charged with rape.

District B Magistrate, Robert Simmons has released him on 10 thousand dollars bail with one surety.

Morris was made to surrender his passport and told to report to the District B Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

He was represented by attorney-at-law Ralph Thorne and will return to court on November 1.

… from the CBC (link here)

Former Nation Editor Charged With Rape

FORMER Editor of the Nation Publishing Company, Roy Morris, was charged with one count of rape.

He was placed on $10 000 bail with one surety. Morris was required to surrender all travel documents and has to report to District B Police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

He will return to court on November 1. Morris appeared before Magistrate Robert Simmons at the District B Magistrates Court.

… from The Barbados Advocate (link here)

UPDATED: Adding Nation News…

Journalist On Sex Charge

ROY MORRIS, managing editor of The Nation Publishing Company, appeared before the District “B” Boarded Hall Magistrates’ Court yesterday on a charge of rape.

Morris, of Warrens Park, St Thomas, was not required to plead to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old female.

There was no objection to bail and Magistrate Robert Simmons released him on a surety of $10 000, ordered him to turn in his passport, and to report to the nearest police station thrice weekly – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The matter was adjourned until November 1.

… from The Nation News (link here)

How The Story Broke…

On Monday, July 23, 2007, sources within the Nation News contacted Barbados Free Press and informed us that Associate Managing Editor Roy Morris had been asked for his resignation after an alleged sexual impropriety with a female several days earlier. We were also informed us that Mr. Morris was nowhere to be found and that the entire matter was being hushed up by both the Nation News and the Royal Barbados Police Force. We were told that Anne Gittens loaned her car to Morris to help him avoid the police during the first few days.

We were told that the management at The Nation News sent journalist Timothy Slinger to camp out on the doorstep of Police Commissioner Dottin to call in a favour for Roy Morris – to have the investigation sidetracked. It was thought that with the rough treatment Slinger received at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital he might be able to call in the favour from a contrite and sympathetic Commissioner of Police. (Slinger background here)

The Barbados Free Press published all of this and more in three stories…

July 23, 2007 – Roy Morris Told To Resign From The Nation News ! ?

July 26, 2007 – Roy Morris – Nation News Train Wreck Continues

July 29, 2007 – World Is Watching Barbados Political Scandals – Really! TWO Bajan Blogs Make WordPress “Top 100″ List Out Of 1.2 Million Blogs

One Source Says Barbados Free Press And Other Blogs Made A Difference

BFP reader and commenter “Mr. Know” has been an accurate source of information about the Morris case from the beginning. (It is also interesting that “Mr. Know” always uses an anonymous proxy IP when posting, so we at Barbados Free Press or anyone else couldn’t possibly discover his or her identity).

Yesterday when we were informed that Morris was about to be arrested and charged, we published our article – Source: Barbados Journalist Roy Morris At Oistins Police Station – Arrested, Charged In Sex Assault Case. In response, reader Passin Thru said…

“I am surprised that a big up like Morris was charged. Never happened before like this. Always hushed up and paid off.

Is the answer to why he was charged, BLOGGERS?”

Informed BFP Source “Mr. Know” answered…

“No it wasn’t the bloggers totally. If I tell you in detail my identity could be blown. Needless to say it was senior police who didn’t want the force to be accused of covering up the matter. That’s why it was sent to the DPP.”

So “Mr. Know” credits the blogs with at least some influence in the decision to charge Mr. Morris.

Another source contacted us and stated that the Director of Public Prosecutions had been sitting on the Morris arrest warrant hoping that the case would fade away, but in the end signed the arrest warrant after procrastinating for weeks.

We Are All Aware Of Similar Incidents That Have Been Hushed Up When Elites Were Involved

What do our readers think?

Would Roy Morris have been charged if blogs had not broken the story and asked pointed questions about the case?

IF Morris was charged because blogs made a cover-up impossible – that is as much of an indictment of the police and justice system as could ever be…

… but it would also be evidence of progress.

What do you think, folks?

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36 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Blogging, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, News Media

36 responses to “Would Nation News Editor Roy Morris Have Been Charged With Rape If Blogs Hadn’t Broken The Story?

  1. Thistle

    I stated this before and I will state it again: I think that a cover-up was made impossible largely because of BFP, BU and bloggers. Well done, BFP and BU.

  2. got2bekiddingme

    I think the blog is a major contributor to justice being seen to be done cos we don’t know yet if negotiations at the highest levels are still not taking place this foreday morning. And Roy is not a big up. We need a justice system like the US’ to some degree where the Ken Lay’s and Martha Stewarts get to see the inside of a jail cell and hear those doors bang shur and lights out and get their salads tossed. It is only the huge market in the US and ratings that they get back jobs and re-invent themselves. Barbados is too small for people like Roy because he did it before about 10 yrs ago with a pretty young ting who used to work at the advocate and Oistins again was the station of choice but next thing you know she was fired and got about $30 000 which she probably spent on a Gucci bag and two trips. I would buy land. Land doesn’t waste and he still had his job. Speaking of land, Roy could hide and buy land but he can’t hide and wuk it. I hear big shot Lawyer Ezra Alleyne is a major advisor to Ralph and his minions. The do not have the experience big shot Alleyne has. He could get off a murderer who premeditatedly stab you at high noon infront cave shepherd. This is why he is Perry Mason, so look for Roy to get off. I hear Roy is home on sedatives while his wife is cussing him daily and gracefully walking in the Nation head held high. Go girl.

    Imagine Viviane Anne Gittens, a woman of all people, sheilding a man from the press in an alleged rape case is nonsense. Harhoyte will have to come out of retirement and run the place like the misogynistic cesspool that it is where themen can do shite and the women are chopped liver, except for Roxanne Gibbs. His young ting wife will have to stay home and do her nails and hair or go back to the swan street store she worked in. Maybe she can ask her child father, the lawyer Wayne Clarketo help Roy too. Boy in there is something else. The gossipfest in there must be off the hook. But wait, the women were going to riot, no strike, to keep Roy. Looka, I glad none of my girl relatives wuk there!But I do not have all the facts of the case, so let’s see how it plays out. My guess is an acquittal cos the girl will refuse to testify and he will be back at his desk ordering about people and denigrating his wife.

  3. God Bless David (Not Thompson or Commissiong!)

    Since when did Roy Morris become a “big-up”???

  4. paul sealy

    I bet he’s not the only one that hates the internet right about now….lol..yes blogs made a major impact on the outcome…..now if we can only get the same to happen to politicians and other big up criminals with a lot of money around here!!!…that would be progress.

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  6. WRONG QUESTION

    BFP you asked the wrong question.

    The question should have been: Would a police investigation have taken place without the blogs?

    Answer: Not only would Morris never have been charged, the police wouldn’t have even investigated.

    THANK YOU BARBADOS FREE PRESS

  7. Anonymous

    absolute nonsense he would have been charged anyhow

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  9. Anonymous

    Honestly, while not underestimating the power of blogs globally, I don’t think so. BFP and other blogs are not nearly as respected as you might think, especially among officialdom. There are several reasons for this. 1) old fashioned attitudes that still prevail in Barbados about the internet’s validity as a media source 2) the modus operandi of BFP.

    While I understand where BFP is coming from in your earnestness to unveil the wrong doings that go on in society and are so often covered up, BFP does not practice good journalism. And I say this speaking as a trained and experienced journalist but one who is also a blogger.

    On your ‘about us & submissions’ page, you only have your first names. We have no way of knowing whether these are real or not. There is no way of contacting you except via the relatively anonymous medium of email and you admit that you welcome ‘anonymous submissions’. Genuine news houses and genuine news blogs do not have or take that luxury. When real journalists make an accusation, they have to back it up with on-the-record facts and evidence. Do you have any idea how difficult that is to get in Barbados? Let me tell you, when I was working in the news media, not a week passed by when someone would say they did not want to give their name/have their picture taken because ‘ I ent want nobody to victimise me’. So how do you get the truth out there? Unlike blogs, genuine news houses cannot write unsubstantiated things because the libel laws in Barbados and the Caribbean are so stringent that you can be sued for TELLING THE TRUTH if it is found to damage someone’s reputation. And believe with our courts headed by political appointees, no judge in Barbados is going to do as those do in Britain (from whence we got our draconian laws) and allow media houses some leverage ‘in the public interest’. Whereas as I am fairly sure I saw on your site one time, BFP has put up several firewalls to hinder those who had tried to hack it to find out who was behind it. If you believe in what you say, why hide? Are you like the man on the street ‘afraid somebody gine victimise me’?

    I say all that to say this. BFP is not the force it may believe itself to be, and more sadly, it is not the force it COULD be.

    So no, I sincerely doubt that would have had any impact on Morris’ situation.

    To that now. I caution you not to believe everything you hear, even if it is coming from within the Nation for journalism is a cut throat business and there are many enemies within.

    There have been rumours that the Nation was involved in some kind of pay off of the complainant. That could not be further from the truth. I understand there may have been some sort of request for such but not that it was done.

    There have been rumours of an attempted police cover up but I have heard it very differently- that the story was full of inconsistencies.

    This issue has me terribly conflicted for as a woman you do not want to believe someone would lie about something like that. I have several friends who have experienced that and to lie about it would be a cruel, cold-hearted and cowardly thing, particularly as the identity of rape complainants is always hidden.

    I also know that the accused is not a saint. I know it’s cliche but no-one is perfect. While he had his faults in other areas of his life, I honestly cannot see him doing something like this. The truth is, he is a soft-hearted person who hates to see people, especially the defenceless, taken advantage of. Anyone who has read his columns and articles through the years can see this theme running through and having known him for years, it is not a show. It is his genuine personality.

    I could possibly believe almost any other crime but not one where he would have taken advantage of someone. I could envision something where he and someone his equal (in size, age etc) got into it but not one where he would pick on someone. It is just not in him.

  10. Wishing in Vain

    Anonymous
    You are misled on the role of these blogs trust me. I have little doubt the role the blogs has played in this event and moreso the politicial life of this country it is my belief that the story of the corruption of the building of the prison and VECO would never had seen the light of day had it not been for the freedom of BFP and BU.
    It certainly would never have made front page press in the Nation or the Advocate and even less likely to make headline news on CBC and you want to suggest that the blogs play no part in exposing the wrongs and ills of this island, you must be joking.

  11. delusional

    The BFP has already explained many times its position with respect to anonymity in a country where victimization and power politics run the political and judicial systems. They have no need to legitimize themselves further as credible journalists in the eyes of anonymous or anyone else.

    Action speaks louder and clearer than any legal or police system that has been cowed into inertia or silence by the practice of privilege over basic human rights.

    Justice must be seen to be done not simply hidden in a morass of delay and back room deals.

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  13. Getting BYE

    Delusional,

    I agree…so Barbados is.

  14. Jerome Hinds

    Thank you BFP !

    You have demonstrated without a doubt that an M16 ( the young girl’s age ) has more power than an AK 47 ( Roy Morris’ age ) !

    And some some people argue that age……is JUST a number ?

    Keep up the good work BFP….!

    But while we recognise that the justice system carried out it’s duties…..BFP many persons are still waiting on you for your long – promised MONEY – LAUNDERING story !

  15. All i’m going to say is that i see black men in barbados are still pigs, especially the darker skin ones, they always think they should have the prettiest and the youngest of girls to make them feel better about their selves and the women are so gulable and such gold diggers they go along with them.

  16. Anonymous

    Delusional, I understand and empathise with your argument re: victimisation and party politics. But to me that is not a good enough reason for hiding.

    If BFP is so afraid of victimisation, why should media houses and moreso specific journalists not also be afraid of such as well? Do you think those in power do not try to victimise legitimate media houses? Look at Staebroek News in Guyana – government victimisation plain and simple. I know of subtler instances in the media in Barbados. Furthermore, it’s one thing if it’s a large media house or powerful senior editor, another thing if you’re a little junior journalist. I have had the PM himself try to get me in trouble for having the nerve to ask him the wrong question. Unlike BFP I had to do it to his face.

    Real journalists have to face up to the potential of victimisation without the luxury of anonymity. That argument is just very thin and cowardly. The same way you said justice must be seen to be done, so should real journalism. It should be seen to be done in the light of public scrutiny and identification and the knowledge that you have to stand by your words in front of everyone.

  17. Wishing in Vain

    I have had the PM himself try to get me in trouble for having the nerve to ask him the wrong question.
    Sadly because of exactly what you refer to here, is the real reason the hard questions are never asked of these two cent politicians, because they scare the ones charged with asking the questions as a result the questions are by passed for soft questions intead of standing tall and seeking the real responses

  18. Getting BYE

    Anonymous,(that had to ask the PM directly)
    Thanks to God you still safe and your bravery has not led to your demise (til this point).
    I notice you posting as “anonymous” though, so obviously you realize there is an issue if you put your name out there…thas wha BFP realize too.
    if they do they might get juk.

  19. ??

    Look what it takes to get Jerome Hinds back out from hiding.

    I think you need to read anonymous first post more carefully… I think she is right.

  20. got2bekiddingme

    I heard Roy is on suicide watch.

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  22. got2bekiddingme

    there are 99 goldiggers on hotmail.Hint hint, who m16’s moniker is on line. Someone should hack it and the truth would set Roy free I hear.
    goldigger99 at hotmail but is there an underscore, a dash, what? We know AK47 knows only too well and hopes Thorne, Alleyne and the dream team of lawyers he got can use them to get him off.De ting is that anyone can look her up on googletalk, skype, myspace, hi5, just by the e-mail. She better change dat fast. check it out BFP. All roads lead to them. While everybody is cussing out Roy, why would a 16 yr old call herself gold digger? Any thoughts

  23. Straight talk

    Is he on bail?
    Who’s watching him?
    His wife?
    Shouldn’t he be on homicide watch?

  24. Anonymous

    I realise we havent heard a word from Joey Harper, hum, hope he too gets the message and pratice what he preaches

  25. Radiance

    Re. Sheila’s comment: “All i’m going to say is that i see BLACK MEN in barbados are still pigs, ESPECIALLY THE DARKER SKIN ONES” (my emphasis), you must be a black man, a darker skin black man, because that is a piggish and ignorant thing you wrote.

    Now, I don’t know who you know. But my father, grandfathers, brother, uncles, nephew, cousins, male teachers, co-workers, and friends – all black men, some with darker skin – are not pigs.

  26. Unapologetic

    I try not to get personal with these comments, but this person “Sheila” is obviously an….
    Let me stop there. I suppose since black men are pigs, you must have a white man, who has his white wife at home, and what does that make you?
    And why pray tell, should the blackest of us black men need anything to make us feel better about ourselves?
    If anything should make us feel bad, it is that women like you continue to live in the prison and slavery of indoctrination that tells you the lighter the skin the better.

    Black, black, black and proud of it!

  27. Bimsha Boy

    The only other newspaper that would have dared to print the arrest and charge of Roy Morris, or any other person for that matter whom the press dared to protect was “The Truth” back in the 60’s.
    That’s the reason one has to read between the lines and seek what element of truth lies therein. I have found The Nation to be lacking in very hard news and investigative reporting, no wonder the “schit” happens.
    This forum tears away the cobwebs and let the world see what is going on in Bim, a service very much needed in this day and age.

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  29. Getting BYE

    what does colour have to do with anything?
    I just don’t get it.

  30. ILLUMINATOR

    I thought blogs were discussion forums.Why this attempt to compare them to newspapers all the time . Both of them have roles to play . Journalists also get paid , true bloggers do not. Thats why i feel the burden is more on journalists to actually do their job .

    Blogs also do not have to worry about advertising getting pulled hence their ability to pursue much more risque subjects that need to be discussed but most papers will not go near. This stuff is so needed at this time . The disadvantage of course is that secret agendas may be the source of the bloggers drive. However , because of the nature of the blog this can be picked up and discussed by the other bloggers . This does not hold true in the conventional newspaper . In the end the piper payers call the tunes and in our current dollar first environment the blog will always have an advantage over the conventional media for discussing inconvenient and unpopular truths.

  31. Computer

    I am unclear as to role of blogs but I learned about Morris affair from BFP. That means something. Payne maybe be smiling now after his run in with Morris led to his demise as a BLP minister. Payne’s lack of thought saw him writing threatening words to Morris on his Ministry’s letterhead. What was he thinking? Now we ask what was Morris thinking?

  32. Pa Cully sobers

    Roy Morris is only before the courts because of who he is and because men in Barbados, lack the intestinal fortitude to do what is right!
    By way of example:
    1-The alleged blue movie taping at St George Secondary School should not have gone past an initial investigation. As there was no evidence to suggest or even support that the event had even occurred.
    2-We saw police return a child to the mother and allowed the mother to go home. Only to return and arrest her the following day, after the newspaper alleged that the child was left without adequate supervision.
    This to me is clear evidence that institutions in Barbados especially those involved with the administration of justice, act to avoid insinuations and criticisms from the news media and not on the available evidence. In economics we speak of price determination based on market forces likewise justice in Barbados is now based on press reports and interventions.
    Why persons close to Roy Morris’s case suggest that there is insufficient evidence to justify the charge, the overwhelming concern by each person associated with the investigation was “…I really do not want to be the one who appears to have given Roy an easy time or let him off the hook, …but if this was a report involving two ordinary citizens it would have been ‘REJECTED THOUGHTS’ by the station Sergeant and the Superintendent in charge of the division.”
    We where once told that in politics it is perception rather than reality and truth that matters. Barbados has now reached a sorry state in its administration of justice because the major players have now accepted that perception is also the major factor in the dispensation of JUSTICE.
    That said: I sincerely hope that when Roy Morris is vindicated that he uses his position, influence and contacts within the media to ensure that ordinary Barbadians no longer suffer a similar plight simply because of reporters and journalists unbridled, reckless and relentless pursuit for a byline and the editors and companies desire for increased circulation, readers, listeners and viewership.
    Just to remind Roy Morris that “…the worst bite one receives is a bite from his/her own dog.”Whether it was the Heat, Advocate, The Nation or The Barbados Free Press he was well and truly BITTEN…By a cross between reporters and journalists.

    NOW LEAVE ROY ALONE AND LET TRUE JUSTICE TAKE ITS COURSE!!!!

  33. Pa Cully sobers

    Roy Morris is only before the courts because of who he is and because men in Barbados, lack the intestinal fortitude to do what is right!
    By way of example:
    1-The alleged blue movie taping at St George Secondary School should not have gone past an initial investigation. As there was no evidence to suggest or even support that the event had even occurred.
    2-We saw police return a child to the mother and allowed the mother to go home. Only to return and arrest her the following day, after the newspaper alleged that the child was left without adequate supervision.
    This to me is clear evidence that institutions in Barbados especially those involved with the administration of justice, act to avoid insinuations and criticisms from the news media and not on the available evidence. In economics we speak of price determination based on market forces likewise justice in Barbados is now based on press reports and interventions.
    Why persons close to Roy Morris’s case suggest that there is insufficient evidence to justify the charge, the overwhelming concern by each person associated with the investigation was “…I really do not want to be the one who appears to have given Roy an easy time or let him off the hook, …but if this was a report involving two ordinary citizens it would have been ‘REJECTED FALSE’ by the station Sergeant and the Superintendent in charge of the division.”
    We where once told that in politics it is perception rather than reality and truth that matters. Barbados has now reached a sorry state in its administration of justice because the major players have now accepted that perception is also the major factor in the dispensation of JUSTICE.
    That said: I sincerely hope that when Roy Morris is vindicated that he uses his position, influence and contacts within the media to ensure that ordinary Barbadians no longer suffer a similar plight simply because of reporters and journalists unbridled, reckless and relentless pursuit for a byline and the editors and companies desire for increased circulation, readers, listeners and viewership.
    Just to remind Roy Morris that “…the worst bite one receives is a bite from his/her own dog.”Whether it was the Heat, Advocate, The Nation or The Barbados Free Press he was well and truly BITTEN…By a cross between reporters and journalists.

    NOW LEAVE ROY ALONE AND LET TRUE JUSTICE TAKE ITS COURSE!!!!

  34. Anonymous

    BFP,
    There is an almost similar story to the Roy Morris Affair. This has to do with the man who is working with Clyde Mascoll to build the houses in St.Phillip. Seems that the Police was called in to deal with a case of the man sucking the bubbies of employees.

    Apparently money has been offered to the victims some of whom have refused the offer. Mascoll has apparently tried to intervene in the matter…….

  35. deluxe

    thats hilarious but are these employees 16 or under? mascoll houses still being built? I thought traitor said houses would come off assembly line in a month. That was like a year ago. Liz like she gave judas mascoll lesson 101 in saying much but doing nothing.

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