Conviction: Kenrick Morrison

On Wednesday Kenrick Morrison, a man in his mid-70s, was sent back by the Guyana Court of Appeal to complete a seven-year prison sentence he had appealed following a conviction for engaging in sexual activity with a young girl.
Following a 2015 case, Morrison was found guilty of engaging in sexual activity with a girl under the age of five on Feb. 12, 2013 in Demerara county.
According to the facts of the case, the young girl knows Morrison, as he is her grandmother’s fiancé. On the day in question, the girl left for her grandmother’s home to have her school bag repaired. While getting there on her bike, she met Morrison, who called him ‘Ken’.
The little girl asked him if her grandmother was at home, and told her that the woman had gone to hospital. Morrison went with the young girl to her grandmother’s home. When they got there, she caught, dragged her inside the house, and started rubbing her shoulders. The elderly man then let the woman sit in a chair, and stuck his tongue down her mouth while feeling her breast and vagina.
The girl managed to escape, and went home and told her mother what had happened. Investigations were conducted, and Morrison was arrested and charged for the crime.
He has always denied touching the young girl. Leading his defense during the proceedings, he had testified that he met her on the way, followed her to the house, where he opened the door for her, and then left to feed his chickens.
Dissatisfied with the sentence handed down by Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, Morrison, through his lawyer Mark Conway, filed an appeal. He was placed on bail pending an appeal in 2017.
The grounds of appeal that the conviction had offered included the following: the jury’s verdict was unreasonable and could not be supported on the evidence presented at trial; the trial judge misdirected the jury on factual matters; the trial judge did not address the jury sufficiently on the inconsistencies of the evidence of the victim and her mother; and the indictment was bad in law.
This appeal was heard by the Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, and Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud. Senior State Counsel Mercedes Glasford had appeared on behalf of the State.
In carrying out the court’s ruling, the Chancellor advised that the allegation that the judgment was unreasonable was without merit. According to Justice Cummings-Edwards, the victim and her mother had given evidence, and were subject to cross-examination by Morrison’s counsel. From the appeal records, the Chancellor noted that, in summing up to the jurors, the trial judge had gone through the evidence, and told them of their duties.

“Hi [the trial judge] she explained to them what they had to look for, and told them that it was their duty to scrutinize the victim’s evidence, because from her evidence they would have to decide if they were satisfied, so that they felt there is definitely sexual activity… ”
Furthermore, the Court of Appeal rejected Morrison’s argument that the trial judge did not address the inconsistencies and omissions in the evidence. Justice Cummings-Edwards highlighted that Justice Barlow had explained to the jury how they should treat those inconsistencies and omissions.
“The jury verdict was not ambiguous; it was not unreasonable, he supported, considering the evidence. This appeal is dismissed. The sentence imposed by the learned trial judge is upheld, ”the appellate court ruled.
In the circumstances, Morrison was ordered to surrender himself to the authorities to complete the imposition of his sentence. The two years he spent in prison following the conviction and prior to bail would be removed from the initial seven-year prison term. The offense for which Morrison was convicted carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment on indictment.
Before passing the sentence, Justice Barlow criticized Morrison for noting the harsh views that the law and society take regarding such crimes against children. The Judge also strongly convicted the convict of the position of trust he had breached in committing the offense.

Previous articleThe Chief Justice removes orders for the deportation of Haitian nationals