Ralph Patrick Morris Court of Appeal 12 July 1993

This is the appeal of Ralph Patrick Morris [5], who was the headmaster at Castle Hill School in Shropshire. After this unsuccessful appeal he committed suicide in his prison cell [3].

The Castle Hill Report , Shropshire County Council is available here [4]

Index and Timeline of Court Appeals and Documentation on Cathy Fox Blog is here [2]

This appeal is unredacted.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C]  and Havoca [D]. Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog. Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.

[1993] EWCA Crim J0712-9



Royal Courts of Justice,

Monday, 12th July 1993 .

Before: Lord Justice Kennedy Mr. Justice Morland and Mr. Justice Cresswell


Ralph Patrick Morris

MR. MARTIN-SPERRY appeared on behalf of the Appellant.

MR. K. JACKSON appeared on behalf of the Crown.

(Computer Aided Transcription of the stenograph notes of John Larking,
Chancery House, Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1QX. Telephone No: 071–404 7464
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)


(As approved by the Court )

LORD JUSTICE KENNEDY : On 10th and 11th April 1991 in the Crown Court at
Shrewsbury this applicant was convicted of a number of offences. It was at
the end of a lengthy trial. On 12th April he was sentenced in respect of
five offences of buggery, 3 offences of indecent assault, and one offence
of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to a total of 12 years’
imprisonment. He now renews his application for leave to appeal against
conviction after refusal by the single judge.

This matter has, in fact, been before the court on a number of occasions.
On 22nd January 1992 there was a refusal of an application for legal aid
for certain work to be undertaken; that work was subsequently undertaken by
means of private funding.

The background to the criminal offences is to be found in the period which
extended from May 1981 to June 1989 when the applicant was joint principal
of Castle Hill School in Ludlow, a school which specialised in problem
children. In 1987, 1988 and 1989 complaints began to emerge from boys that
they had been abused by the applicant and it was the prosecution’s case
that such abuse had commenced in about 1984.

The allegations followed is similar pattern. The applicant would ask boys
to tickle his feet then he would ask them to tickle higher on his body and
eventually to masturbate him. On occasions he masturbated the boys. There
was also oral sex and in some cases buggery, both of the applicant on the
boys and by the boys on the applicant. Most of these events are said to
have taken place in a room described as “the sleeping-in room” at the
school and a fire extinguisher would be placed behind the door to ensure it
was not opened without warning to those within. There was also evidence
that on occasions more than one boy would be involved and most of the boys
were between 11 and 16 years of age. They did not complain because they
were afraid of being beaten up either by the applicant or one of the older
boys who would beat them up at his request. They said also that they did as
they did because he threatened them or he threatened to stop them having
privileges to which they looked forward, such as the opportunity to go home
at the weekends or to receive money.

His case throughout was that nothing improper had ever occurred and
furthermore that since 1983 or thereabouts he had been impotent and
incapable of committing most of the acts of which he was accused. He said
there was no opportunity to commit such acts in the school, and he said
that all of the allegations against him were the result of a conspiracy
between former pupils who were trying to extract money from him.

The case was carefully analysed in the course of a summing-up which can but
attract praise from this court. Count by count the evidence was examined
and it is clear to us that there was abundant evidence to support each of
the counts in respect of which a conviction was recorded. It is unnecessary
to go through the counts seriatim, suffice to say that there is a boy’s
name attached to each count and when one looks at the evidence in relation
to that boy one can see precisely the evidence upon which the jury chose to

The complaints now being made are set out in the grounds of appeal which we
have examined. First of all it is said that the appellant was hampered by a
late change of counsel. Such a change, of course, is always to be regretted
but counsel who represented him at the trial was an experienced counsel and
it is clear that throughout this lengthy trial the applicant was well
represented. If more time had been needed before the trial commenced no
doubt counsel would have asked for it, but he did not ask for it. If he had
asked for it there is no reason to doubt that he would have got it. It is
significant that the trial lasted from 14th January until 10th April, so
even if there was something at the very outset of which counsel was not
fully aware, he had abundant opportunity to become aware of it as the trial
progressed. Even at this stage, look as we may, it is clear that the
appellant has not been able to identify any matter that counsel who
represented him overlooked or failed to put properly on his behalf.

His second ground of complaint is that his general poor health made the
offences unlikely and this was not a matter to which the jury gave proper
weight. In fact, he gave evidence himself on this topic, as did Dr. Kidd,
his general practitioner, and so the jury had that evidence before them. It
was reviewed by the learned judge in the course of his summing-up and there
seems to be no substance whatsoever in the complaint that the jury failed
to have regard to the evidence as to his state of health.

Focusing then on the alleged impotence, his third complaint is that he had
for many years been impotent and incapable of having or sustaining an
erection. He and his wife so testified before the jury. It was something
that he had mentioned in passing to Dr. Kidd who said so in evidence, but
he had never, apparently, consulted anyone else and there was no specialist
evidence before the jury, nor is there any application even to us that such
specialist evidence would be able to assist. The learned judge dealt with
this matter with great care and he put the defence, so far as it could be
put, on the evidence which was before the jury. It was related to the
taking of a drug which had been at one time prescribed, so far as the
applicant was concerned, in relation to a condition not directly related to
impotence, but it was said that this drug might have that side effect. He
was not shown to have been taking the drug at the material time but he
contended that he had been obtaining if it from a doctor who had since
died. Such evidence as there was, as it seems to us, was clearly set forth
in the summing-up. It must have been weighed by the jury and they came to
the conclusion that it was not evidence upon which they could rely. We see
no reason to doubt the correctness of that conclusion.

The next matter of which the appellant complains is that there was no semen
on the carpet in the sleeping-in room and that that point was one to which
the jury should have had more regard. The point was again clearly taken
during the course of the trial and, so far as that point is concerned, it
is also to be noted that some of the boys did indicate that precautions
were taken: towels were used so as, if possible, to avoid staining the
carpet and if it was stained some steps were taken to try to clean it
immediately thereafter, which could well explain why the jury came to the
conclusion that the absence of semen on the carpet discernible upon
scientific examination was not of itself a matter which could cause them to
doubt that these charges were proved.

The applicant then complains that the boys had reason to lie. He suggests
that they were lying to further a civil claim brought by one of the boys.
That again is a point which was carefully analysed during the course of the
trial. It can be seen reflected in the summing-up and we see no reason to
think that the jury did not give weight to it.

Next, he points out that the boys all had learning or behaviourial
difficulties, that they were given to fantasy, and, as he puts it in his
words, “acknowledged as incapable of telling the truth.”

The conspiracy defence, if I can so describe it, was run and it was put
quite plainly by the learned judge to the jury. Quite plainly they, by
their verdict, rejected it. They were entitled so to do.

Finally, it is said by the applicant that this school was open to visitors
and that no-one complained to a visitor during the early years, nor did any
of the social workers who visited the school see any signs of improper
conduct. That is true and that again is something which is reflected in the
summing-up, but of course, again, it is something which is not decisive.
Sadly it is a common feature of cases such as this.

In the result, as indeed the applicant himself recognises, these lines of
defence on which he now seeks to rely were all carefully put by the learned
judge to the jury in the course of his summing-up. As it seems to us, they
were all lines of defence which must have been considered by the jury
during the time they were considering this case, and yet they came to the
conclusion that he was guilty of the offences of which they convicted him.
The summing-up itself was conspicuously fair, and indeed there is no
suggestion to the contrary. As defence counsel says, and as appears in the
summing-up, in the end this case turned on the evidence of the boys and on
whether or not the jury felt able to accept it. Clearly they did. If they
accepted it then the result was inevitable.

Since the hearing in April 1991 this applicant has had the advantage of the
advice of his original defence counsel. He has also had the advantage of
advice from others who have been acting for him. As we indicated at the
beginning, there was an application for legal aid, which was refused, but
the enquiries which were then sought to be made have, it seems, been made
without the assistance of the legal aid fund.

In the result we can be quite satisfied that everything that could be done
by the lawyers on his behalf has been done and at the end of the day the
decision of the jury was one which ought to stand unimpaired. If that
decision stands we can see no reason why the sentence should not be
regarded as appropriate and accordingly this is an application which, in
our judgment, must be refused.

LORD JUSTICE KENNEDY : Mr. Martin-Sperry, what is the position so far as
your attendance here today is concerned?

MR. MARTIN-SPERRY : My Lords I am here to assist the court.

LORD JUSTICE KENNEDY : Are you here by virtue of a legal aid certificate or
are you privately funded may we ask?

MR. MARTIN-SPERRY : My Lords, I am privately funded in order to advise in
the case. I am not here today as a result of any legal aid order.

LORD JUSTICE KENNEDY : We are disposed to grant legal aid for your
attendance here this morning, for which we are grateful.

MR. MARTIN-SPERRY : I am grateful.


[2] 2015 Cathy Fox Blog Timeline of Court Appeals and Documentation https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/a-timeline-of-court-and-ewca-documentation-on-cathy-fox-blog/

[3] 1998 Richard Webster The Great Childrens Home Panic

[4] 2013 Jul 22 Cathy Fox Blog Castle Hill Report Shropshire County Council https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/castle-hill-report-shropshire-county-council/

[5] Operation Greenlight The Brain Ralph Patrick Morris https://webbrain.com/brainpage/brain/0FE31538-2121-8495-33A5-86073BE95DE1/thought/918#-994

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

[B] NAPAC http://www.napac.org.uk/

[C] One in Four http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/

[D] Havoca http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm

[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/

[F] SurvivorsJustice Blog http://survivorsjustice.com/

[G] Jim Hopper Mindfulness http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/

[H] Jim Hopper Meditation http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/#cultivate

This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email cathyfox@bigfoot.com

cathyfox the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in #OpPaedoHunt, cathyfoxblog, Child sexual abuse, Childrens home, Court, Shropshire and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Ralph Patrick Morris Court of Appeal 12 July 1993

  1. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court & Court of Appeal, EWCA and Scottish Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathyfox blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.