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Friday, November 6, 1998 Published at 13:53 GMT


Morrissey misery over court verdict

Morrissey: Troubled solo career

Morrissey, the ex-lead singer of The Smiths, is facing the prospect of handing over 1m to his former drummer after losing a legal battle at the Court of Appeal.

Morrissey lost his appeal against a 1m court order previously issued against him when the Court of Appeal ruled that the original High Court judge had not been unfair in describing the Smiths singer as "devious, truculent and unreliable."

The three appeal judges threw out Morrissey's appeal that Judge Weeks' "unjust and gratuitous attack" on his character had led him to rule that drummer Mike Joyce was entitled to a quarter of the profits amassed by the four-piece Manchester band.

In the original case, Judge Weeks ruled in favour of Joyce and bass guitarist Andy Rourke.

The pair had argued that they had never been told they would receive just 10% of the earnings of the group which split up after five years in 1987.

Judge Weeks described the drummer and bassist as honest, but said Morrissey, on the other hand, "did not find giving evidence an easy or happy experience. To me at least he appeared devious, truculent and unreliable where his own interests were at stake."

[ image: Smiths debut LP: Cult hit]
Smiths debut LP: Cult hit
In the appeal, Morrissey's lawyer argued the judge had based his ruling on his own impression of the former Smiths star.

But the appeal court decided that Judge Weeks had not rejected all of Morrissey's evidence.

"It is unfair to suggest that the adverse view that he formed of Mr Morrissey in the witness box dictated his findings on the individual matters," said Lord Justice Thorpe.

'Never equals'

Morrissey had been fighting the claim against him on the basis that The Smiths were never an equal partnership.

Morrissey maintained that he and songwriting partner Johnny Marr were the heart of the group, in charge of the band's affairs, contracts and day-to-day business.

His lawyer argued that Joyce and Rourke had little or no roles other than performing with the band.

He said the bass player and drummer knew from the start they would receive only 10% of the band's profits while Marr and Morrissey would get 40% each.

But the appeal court found that it was "simply unsustainable" that the partners were working as a band on the basis that the split would be 40/40/10/10.

Morrissey now looks set to have to hand over around 1m to Joyce.

Rourke dropped his case against Morrissey after being offered 83,000 in 1989.

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