Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Post Office Scandal: A blog that keeps you up to date with the inquiry and other developments

Yesterday saw two eminent lawyers appearing in front of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry: Anthony de Garr Robinson KC and Lord Grabiner KC.

This gives me a chance to recommend the entertaining blog on the inquiry written by Nick Wallis, whose reporting did much to bring the scandal to light.

Here are his two posts on the day. First de Garr Robinson:

Poor old Tony Robinson, just trying to make an honest crust defending his client, whilst being misled by his instructing solicitors (Womble Bond Dickinson), his client’s supplier (Fujitsu) or possibly even his client – the Post Office!

As leading counsel for the Post Office in the Horizon Issues trial during Bates v Post Office, de Garr Robinson regularly seemed to be on the receiving end of duff information, which he took at face value and dutifully represented to to the High Court as fact. This, as he described in his witness statement, was sub-optimal. Recalling the first such occasion, he wrote:

"I had unintentionally misled the court. As will be clear from the rest this statement, this was not the first occasion on which such a thing happened, and nor was it the last. It is a horrifying experience."

And here's Grabiner:

Up until this point in his evidence, Lord Grabiner had been acting with courtesy and politeness. Something seemed to change. Grabiner replied:

"Well what Lord Neuberger thought, I think you’d better ask him about. I can’t really climb into his mind beyond what he has said in communications that we have between ourselves that I’ve made full disclosure of."

As Grabiner and the Inquiry well knows, Lord Neuberger is not being called to give evidence, possibly to spare such a senior person from being embarrassed by his actions.

Lord Neuberger, a former president of the Supreme Court and sometime Master of the Rolls, had given rather gung-ho advice to the Post Office, urging it to challenge the impartiality of the judge in the class action by sub-postmasters that it was defending. The challenge failed.

I'm reminded of Gladstone's observation that former prime ministers are "like untethered rafts drifting around harbours - a menace to shipping".

Nick Wallis writes on his blog:

If you want to stay on top of what is happening with the scandal and are able to make a small (or large) donation, you will be added to the 'secret; email – an irregular and sometimes irreverent newsletter which will give you the inside track on what is happening around this story.

There are now many hundreds of subscribers to the secret email, which started in 2018, just before the first trial in the Bates v Post Office High Court litigation.

More details here.

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