Misery for pop star told to give up pounds 1m

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THE POP singer Morrissey, who carved a career out of self-absorbed misery, must hand over pounds 1m to a former member of his band, The Smiths, after the Court of Appeal upheld a judge's ruling that described him as "devious, truculent and unreliable".

Morrissey claimed that Judge Weeks made an "unjust and gratuitous attack" on his character last month, leading to his finding that drummer Mike Joyce was entitled to a quarter share of The Smiths' profits. But yesterday three Court of Appeal judges dismissed the singer's appeal.

Murray Rosen QC, representing the singer, said the original judgment was a "reflection of comments against Mr Morrissey which were damaging and wholly unjustifiable".

Mr Rosen told the judges that Morrissey and lead guitarist Johnny Marr were the dominant figures in running The Smiths' affairs.

The lachrymose four-piece was one of the most influential of the 1980s, famous for Morrissey's self-absorbed, doom-laden lyrics and mournful Mancunian delivery.

And it was Marr and Morrissey who together wrote the group's songs. Their hit singles included such cheerful ditties as "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" and "Girlfriend in a Coma".

"They [Marr and Morrissey] were The Smiths," said Mr Rosen. "Joyce and Rourke had little or no say other than performing with the band."

He claimed the bass player and drummer were aware from the outset they would receive only 10 per cent of the band's profits and that Marr and Morrissey would get 40 per cent each. It was agreed that Marr and Morrissey would share all the song publishing royalties, estimated at up to pounds 3m. But Joyce claimed he was never told he was going to be paid only 10 per cent of record and performing royalties.

In yesterday's ruling, Lord Justice Waller said Morrissey may have felt "aggrieved" that he was described as "devious", but Judge Weeks did not reject 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," he said.