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Morning all - we are in court 26 of the High Court Rolls Building approaching the 10.30am start time of Day 3 of the Horizon trial, part of the Bates v @PostOffice group litigation. For everything that happened on Day 1 and 2, go here: postofficetrial.com/2019/03/horizo…
Follow this thread for live tweets throughout the day. Or mute me until 4.30pm!

Write up of yesterday’s proceedings: postofficetrial.com/2019/03/horizo…
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Today in court we will hear from Anup Patny, his son Aakash Patney, Angela Burke and I note the Fujitsu whistleblower Richard Roll who featured in the 2015 Panorama is in court which suggests he might give evidence today. Could be interesting.
Simon Henderson is counsel for the Post Office this morning. He has just told the judge he does not wish to continue his xe of Anup Patny, so he will not take the stand. It will be his son Aakash Patny up first. We have just heard that Richard Roll will be in the stand today.
Going through housekeeping. Yesterday I said the judge administered a mild bollocking to Owain Draper for his timekeeping yesterday. The judge has just apologised to him for appearing "exceptionally abrupt” yesterday.
There are a number of claimants in court today. @JoHamil73963257 and Karen Wilson, the Patny family (obviously) and a number I don’t recognise. Angela van den Bogerd from the @PostOffice has been here every day this week and is present again.
@JoHamil73963257 @PostOffice I woke up with a stinking cold and just sneezed loudly in a very quiet court.

The housekeeping is continuing.

Thorin waits...
@JoHamil73963257 @PostOffice Aakash Patny has been sworn in. He is the fourth claimant witness in this Horizon trial. I am awaiting his witness statement.
Aakash is being taken to a document which shows a discrepancy. Aakash’s evidence is that a power outage on 9/5/2015 caused a £17K shortfall discovered on 11/5/2015.

Mr Henderson (POB) has just shown Aakash a balance check on 9/5/2015 which shows no £17K shortfall...
… POB asks A what he makes of that.

A doesn’t know.

Judge has just sneezed twice. That makes me feel better.
A now being taken through the notes of his call to the helpline. In which the helpline says A told them he’d remmed in £16K coin. A says that’s wrong.
POB taking him to another document…

POB says evidence was that he should readjust the cash/stock figure ie carry out a new cash declaration
A yes
POB and that resolved the problem
A yes
POB points to £17K discrepancy on 11 May and says there is no further fresh declaration. Why not - when you say you did.
A don’t know why it doesn’t say
POB your WS says you were told how to sort it, you did what you were told and it was sorted
A yes
POB but it’s not show in the log. can you tell me why?
A no
POB did you recount the money?
A no we just did adjustments
POB and that worked?
A yes
POB can you take me through those steps
A can’t remember
POB but you didn’t make a cash declaration
A can’t remember
POB there is a cash declaration on 13 May - cash of £80K… then below that variance check discrepancy is PLUS £17K odd. So as far as this goes there is no longer a discrepancy
A is this saying we are up or balanced?
POB they cancel each other out
A well then it should be zero then…
POB the overall position would be zero
A why doesn’t it say that
J [to POB] you may want to take instruction on this
POB I’m told I’m right
A no if it balances it should say zero
POB you are £17K down on the 11th - you roll the branch and you start £17K down so when you get a figure saying you are £17K up so you balance.
A is not sure
J says he’s not sure POB is sure. Asks him to spell it out. POB spells it out.
A points out theres a variance check or CD at 1904 which is after some cut off time which apparently makes a difference. POB moves on… [forgive me I am not a Horizon expert nor do I have the documents in front of me]
POB goes back to the discussion he had with A’s father yesterday. That the £16K in £10 seemed to be found.
A says well it wasn’t fixed as we were £!7K up weren’t we?
POB we’ve discussed that
[there is a snort of derision the public “gallery”]
J intervenes to ask whether, when A took steps on helpline advice he actually found phyiscal cash.
A says no
J says, so this was pressing a few buttons and the problem righted itself.
A says yes
J asks POB to be clearer in his questioning.
Get the feeling that J is not entirely sure POB is on top of his brief.
We now go to the two cash declarations later in May 2015. They are 7 minutes apart and there is a £16K differential. How?
A I counted and must have been £16K up and entered the wrong figure, so I re-entered them again and got the correct figure.
POB when you say re-enter...
… do you mean physically count the cash or just re-enter the figures.
A could be either. A explains how easy it is to make a mistake, especially in a busy branch. They were one of the few branches to stay open after hours which meant they were serving customers whilst doing CDs
POB moves on to a stamps issue. Figure declared for stamps is an incorrect £18K. A is the only person to have declared the stamps, but insists he didn’t enter that sum.
POB is it possible you made a mistake?
A no - it’s easier that cash
POB but a mistake is still possible
A yes but I didn’t make one.
POB isn’t that the most likely explanation?
A no because I would have had to make the same mistake twice -getting £18K, re-doing it, getting £18K and then leaving it.
POB okay let’s go to it….
now into branch helpline logs.
POB you were told re-check the stock unit. is that correct?
A yes
now looking at H logs and filtered to show stamps only
POB look at 11 May - £1,673, then they go up to £18K and stays at that level until 25 May and then goes down the following week to £1,500… a mistake has been made.
A not by me
POB how can that be a bug
A cos after I sorted it out it stayed up...
POB doesn’t understand
A after I adjusted them, they still went back up. I had to do it twice and i wouldn’t make the same mistake
POB are you saying you made the declaration twice and after doing the first one it went back up again.
A yes. when I called her the following week
(her being the helpline, sorry) and said we had the same problem she (Ms Lamley) asked why had I changed it back and I said I hadn’t.
POB I accept it’s unclear, but it looks like there was an issue and it was fixed a week later
A no I had to do it twice. I called Deborah Lamley, we fixed it and then I had to call her back later when it shot up to £16K again.
POB I don’t think we can take this any further.
POB moves on to Moneygram issue. There was a MG transaction for £3100. You put it onto the stack on the screen, you try to clear it with the customer’s card and the card is declined and you have to take it off the stack and “balance the books.”
A yep
They tried it twice. Got a receipt saying card declined twice. gave it to customer and at the end of the day they are down £6,200

POB takes A to transaction data.
POB you were supposed to follow a 2 stage process. Cancellation then reversal. But you just cancelled.
A yep
POB and you rang the helpdesk in relation to this
A yep
POB takes him to the call logs
POB this is your call - can you see? 23 Feb 2016 - debit card declined for MG - how to clear… and the advice was settle to cash then cancel and reverse. You were told to do this but you didn’t?
A I did when the helpline told me to
POB says it was never reversed
A are you on about the 12pm phone call or the 7pm phone call
POB this is the 12pm phone call
A I reversed it after I spoke to the helpdesk
POB as far as PO is concerned you did not reverse it at all
A I did reverse it in theevening after speaking to NBSC [helpline]
POB my suggestion to you is that you didn’t ever effectively reverse it - you didn’t succeed
A but we did - we reversed it later on
POB as far as the PO can see that didn’t happen
A cos it happened after 7pm it wouldn’t look like I did it on that date
J and there’s a second phone call you say
A yep after 7pm - here it is on the log 116
[A taking J through log]
A reads from log notes
POB okay… can we just look at the call below that - 117…
POB 117 says you failed to reverse…
POB okay there is a single transaction of £3100
POB the process is that you need to cancel and reverse. and you only cancelled it
A I did reverse it - you can see it there
POB it looks like there has been a £3100 transaction which has not been reversed properly. ie you need a TC for £3100
POB and you got a £3100 TC
A several days later
POB but your complaint is that you were £6200 out of pocket
A yep
POB and what you say in your WS is that you thoiught it was strange that it was exactly double the amount of the problematic MoneyGram….

We are having a 7 minute break. Back at 1145
POB starts by going back to the stamp situation
POB do you agree that if the stamp declaration goes up the cash position with go down
A i don’t see why that would happen
POB if you were trying to disguise a shortfall of cash you could do so by increasing the stamps
A no… why would that happen
POB because you’ve got more stock the cash would go down…
A i”m not sure about that
POB are u saying that that you declared the cash and stock accurately
A i try to
POB did you ever inflate the stock to hide a cash deficit
A no
POB I suggest you did that
[just accused him of false accounting!]
A no I didn't
Well that escalated quickly.

Okay we’ve gone back to the MoneyGram issue.

POB if you reversed the transaction so you’re no longer £3,100 - then you get it reversed £3,100 and then you get a TC so you’re £3,100 up?
A no. would it be helpful if I explained exactly what happened?
J go ahead
A explains the situation as he see it. He tries a £3,100 transaction twice which fails. He doesn’t manage to cancel them effectively and gets a £6,200 deficit. He then tries to sort it out by reversing it with help from the helpline. He gets a £3,100 TC
POB but the issue is that if he had effectively reversed the transaction and got a TC he would be up £3,100 because the data only shows a £3,100 transaction
POB let us explore the idea that your loss was £6,200
POB this is a bit fiddly Mr Patny and I apologise for that. The actual discrepancy you experienced and declared was not exactly £6,200 it was closer to £6,825.
POB now looking to see if this £6,200 or £6,825 discrepancy can be broken down...
We are going to another document. I am rebooting tweetdeck. The judge has just sneezed and blown his nose.
Okay we’re back. The PO has created a document which tries to explain their point from the data available to them. This has been okayed by the claimants’ QC.
POB it is a demonstration of the movement of cash in your branch.
We start with £8601 as the movement in cash...
We’ve got the £3,100

J says £8601 or £1806

POB so sorry £1806.

POB The point I am putting, clumsily and and at great length is that there is not a discrepancy of £3600 - when you say there was a £3200 discrepancy that’s not correct is it
A well according to your figures maybe but I was £6200 at the end of the day
POB it’s a cash handling issue isn’t it?
A no
POB so how are PO’s figures wrong?
A how do you know they’re right?
POB there is no suggestion there is no possible basis for the extra money when the transactions show the double transaction didn’t go through
A goes into long explanation of how several post office staff agreed with him that there was a problem, that he escalated it
… and went through the formal grievance procedure and time and time again requested the data that he is being show for the first time today so they could sort through the problem for themselves, and it was constantly refused.
POB well I can’t respond to that because I can...
… only go on what’s in your witness statement and you don’t say anything about that in there.
A I don’t want to cast aspersions as to Ms van den Bogerd but how do I know she just hasn’t made this up?
[long pause]
POB I have no further questions.
Claimants’ QC Patrick Green is on his feet [PGQC] talking to A

PGQC let’s just look at the entry on the helpline logs. "Emailed requesting credence reports. Office adamant stamps are declaring themselves - believed a system issue” Did they give you a credence report?
A they SAID they would…
PGQC okay let’s follow that through… [we go to another doc]
“Office say they were advised a credence report was being submitted, but no report was requested…”
reads out internal notes which suggests the calls from the branch weren’t logged properly..
[I can’t see this document and it’s all a bit tricky as PG QC is quoting from notes but I’m not sure who or between - seems internal msgs]

PG QC what did you think was happening
A that they were dealing with the problem and we’d get our Credence report

PG moves on...
PG reads from report “still waiting to hear back regarding a requested credence report”

Then down to a 3 august memo…

PG “ACKAA branch still waiting for call back, call closed, no details on call how in cash rem is deal with” Did you ever get the credence report?
PG did the issue re stamps and cash feature in the special audit?
A it did, yes.
J has two questions

[what appears to have happened to a number of witnesses over the last two days is that they have been suspended or sacked after some of the issues they were describing came to a head ie they got audited]
None of this is in their witness statements so I’m piecing it together.
J asking about discrepancy on 23 Feb - shown £6825 discrepancy

from what I understand is that your £6,200 discrepancy is within that discrepancy.

A yes
J okay lets go to the previous day. You were asked about the cash declaration of £34,405 and you were taken to another doc
… to examine the movement of cash from one day to the next.
J look on 22 Feb - two entries - cash discrepancies of £781 and £31. If I want to go away and compare like with like - should I look at the cash declaration AND the discrepancy for the following day?
A yes
No further questions - Aakash Patny leaves the witness box.

Angela Burke is now called to the witness box.
from claimants opening: "Mrs Burke was an assistant at the Newport branch, where her husband was SPM. She gives evidence about the 9 May 2016 system outage, the recovery process, …"
“… and her efforts to rectify an apparent shortfall of £150, including tracking down the customer to his home and accompanying him to the bank.”

She is sworn in.
She says her WS statement is true.

Owain Draper for the Post Office is on his feet.

POB how long were you an SPM or an assistant.
AB since I was 16 on and off. 5 years as SPM and then 15 years as an assistant.
POB let’s talk about a recent change to your WS you say you and your husband never had a big unexplained discrepancy. Is that because you had some shortfalls you were able to investigate and uncover?
AB yep
POB if you had a shortfall would you contact PO
AB no - if you had a shortfall you’d try and investigate yourself.
POB so if you sometimes had a relatively substantial shortfall you’d sometimes get a TC come through to correct it.
AB usually yes
POB in your WS you talk about a number of problems you experienced on 29 May 2016. The only one I want to ask you about is a £150 withdrawal…
[POB goes to a document]
Sorry 9 May 2016
From WS: "On 9 May 2016, I was serving on the second counter and shortly after opening I noticed that the system was slow. During transactions a sand timer appeared on the screen which indicated that it was taking time to connect.
“… 11. One customer I was serving just after 9am had come in for a cash withdrawal from a HSBC card account. The sand timer appeared during this transaction when authorising payment and then it timed out and a receipt printed which said …"
"“Disconnected Session Recovery Code: 0386670 Do not attempt to reverse any transaction from this session until this counter has…"
“… been successfully recovered”. This receipt showed the value of nil which I knew meant that the transaction had not gone through. I told the customer that I thought there was a problem with the system"
"Because the system was taking twice as long to do anything, a queue started forming in the shop. Chris wasn’t working in the Branch with me that morning but he noticed there was a queue and came in to help."
"I told Chris how the system was being slow so Chris jumped on the main terminal and logged on (at 9:20am). Once Chris was logged on, I moved across to serve from that terminal and left the second terminal I had been using."
"Once I was using the main terminal, I served a customer who was wanting a withdrawal of £180 from his card account and of £73 from his wife’s card account. His wife was not with him in the branch."
“… I processed these withdrawals in the usual way, both were authorised, the money appeared on my stack to pay out to the customer and I paid the customer the money…."
“… The “stack” is the running total which appears in a column at the right- hand side of the screen, which works out what the balance is to pay to a customer."
“… At around 9:28am I moved on to serve the next customer who wanted a £150 withdrawal from his TSB card account. As this was another withdrawal, and I was being very cautious because of the problems with the other terminal, …"
“… I didn’t press “Enter” to clear my screen between transactions and continued in the same session."
“… Again, I processed this in the usual way. The customer put his card into the machine and entered his pin number, the customer removed his card, a receipt printed that this had been authorised …"
“… and the money appeared on my stack to pay to the customer. I paid the customer his £150 and gave him the receipt."
"When I then went to press the “Enter” button to clear my screen, the sand timer appeared and I could see that the system was running slow like the other terminal had. At around 9:30am some receipts printed out that said ..."
“"“Disconnected session Recovery Code: 3580193 Do not attempt to reverse any transaction from this session until this counter has been successfully recovered”"
“...These receipts listed the transactions for the £180, £73 and £150 withdrawals. The customers had left by this point. There was no instructions on screen telling me what to do, nor did I have …"
“… opportunity to seek guidance as it all happened quickly and there were customers waiting to be served."
"At 9:36am another receipt printed which said “Recovery Failed”. The £180 and £73 withdrawals I had done earlier were showing on this receipt but not the £150 one…"
“... I initially thought this meant that the £150 withdrawal had gone through and that there was a problem
with the others, but once I sat down to study a Transaction Log that I had printed off I could see that the £180 and…"
“… £73 transactions were showing on the Transaction Log but the
£150 withdrawal was missing."
“…. With all of these problems happening, I knew it was too risky to keep the Branch open so I served a few more customers who only wanted to buy cards from the shop and then I told customers that unfortunately ..."
“… I was going to need to close the office due to some technical problems. The customers all understood and said that they would come back later. I then sat down and ticked off the transactions I had carried out that morning on the …"
“… Transaction Log and I could see that the £150 transaction was not showing. I then phoned the Post Office helpline."
“… Transaction Log and I could see that the £150 transaction was not showing. I then phoned the Post Office helpline."
“… I do not know why or for what reason the Horizon system had failed to record on the Transaction Log the payment I had been authorised to make but the effect of this error would be to cause a shortfall in the Branch account of £150 when I next came to balance."
“… As I mention above, the “Recovery Failed” printout did not state that the £150 transaction had failed, and there was no alert given to me on the Horizon system that this error had occurred…."
“… There was therefore no means through the Horizon system for the discrepancy to be identified or for its cause to be established in my situation."
“…. When I called the helpline, I was told by the supervisor that there was a nationwide problem with Horizon and that if the transaction was not on my Transaction Log then it had not gone through. "
“… I knew that this was not right because I had seen that the transaction had authorised, a receipt had printed which said authorised and I had been watching my stack carefully and it told me to pay £150 to the customer."
“…. However, from the perspective of the Horizon system, the transaction simply did not exist. Therefore, the net effect to the Branch was that £150 had been paid out seemingly…"
“… with no justification and therefore this was a loss which would need to be accounted for at the time of the next balance."
“… In order to try to rectify the situation and prove that there was a fault with the Horizon system, I decided that I needed to track down the customer and seek his assistance. I did not know his name or contact details but …"
“… I was able to identify him through the CCTV with the assistance of women who worked in the sorting office and find his address."
“… I went to the customer’s house and I explained that there had been a problem with the computers in the Branch and that my system was £150 down following his cash withdrawal. …"
“… The customer was happy to help me and showed me his receipt which clearly said authorised. He provided me with the receipt"
"Furthermore, on 12 May 2016 I went with the customer to his bank, TSB, in Goole. The customer asked me to explain to the bank cashier what I needed. I explained to the cashier that I worked at the Post Office and that there…"
“… had been a national outage and the cashier said that the bank knew about this. The cashier printed a bank statement for the customer, which showed that the £150 cash withdrawal had left his bank account and the customer let me have a copy of this."
“… On 13 May 2016 Chris spoke to a lady at Post Office Support Centre and on that call he requested a copy of the telephone transcript of my call with the helpline. …"
“… His call was escalated and he was able to speak to a Senior Manager, Kendra Dickinson, who told Chris that we could expect to receive a transaction correction for the £150 transaction."
“… On 17 May 2016, a transaction correction for £150 came up on the Horizon system. We were
careful to take a printout of the balance snapshot prior to accepting the transaction correction and afterwards , in case anything went wrong when we accepted it."
“… The {F/1475} transaction correction worked and balanced out the £150. We noticed however that the {F/1476} transaction correction had settled the amount to Lloyds bank and not to TSB. Chris spoke to…"
“… Post Office about this and they said they had done this because they didn’t have a code for TSB."
"We knew that this couldn’t be right as surely that meant that something would not reconcile. Ms Dickinson said that she would look into this in her 23 May 2016 letter to Chris but we never heard again about this."
"I was relieved that the issue was resolved in my case, but it took my being able to physically trace the customer and secure his assistance to enable me to get the evidence I needed for me to be listened to by Post Office. …"
“… Based upon my initial experience of the helpline, I do not think that Post Office would have resolved this if I had not had the clear proof that the £150 transaction had in fact been authorised and that the money had left the customer’s bank account."
“… I found this very troubling as to expect me to do this in any other circumstances, both to undertake the necessary tracing of a transaction and to prove that a discrepancy was the fault of the Horizon system, …"
“… which had no record that any anomaly had occurred, would be very difficult if not impossible."
AB is talking to POB about leaving her stack open on Horizon when this transaction went missing.

POB the recovery fail receipt was printed at 0936 on 9 May 2015.
J you phoned the helpline after you closed the branch?
AB yep then I went and ran off the transaction log.
J and then you phone the helpline
AB yep about 0934
POB you printed off this transaction log which we can see on the screen. You’ve ticked off the expected transaction and that the £150 withdrawal was missing
AB yep
POB so you worked out quite quickly this had gone missing...
AB yep
POB so by this time you knew you ahd a system outage, the session you were in had a problem because you had a receipt for it - you knew the recovery process had failed - you had a receipt for that and you had been able to ID from the log which transaction had no been...
… so in a fairly short space of time you knew the £150 you had paid out in cash had not gone into your account and unless you received a TC for that £150 you would have a deficit in your account
AB yep
POB let’s look at the last paragraph of your WS "I found this very troubling as to expect me to do this in any other circumstances, both to undertake the necessary tracing of a transaction and to prove that a discrepancy …"
CORRECTION! POB was talking about Par 19 of the WS "There was therefore no means through the Horizon system for the discrepancy to be identified or for its cause to be established in my situation."
POB that’s not true is it? You were able to use the tools of Horizon to find out exactly what had happened.
AB okay fair enough
POB and you knew what the cause of the £150 shortfall would be - didn’t you?
AB I did have to study it though
J by the discrepancy do you mean ...
… the receipt?
POB I was making the point that “no means” is not correct.
POB you could see the discrepancy by running a balance snapshot and you knew the money was missing.
POB then you call the helpline. It’s this call to the helpline that made you think without finding the customer and taking them to the bank, PO would not have resolved the issue in your favour.
AB correct
POB let’s go through the call then
POB so on this - you are the customer - you explain you know the £150 hasn’t gone through and you know your branch won’t balance… [flips page]… you then explain about the disconnected session...
… you felt you weren’t getting very far with the helpline so you ask to speak to a supervisor. Let’s get to the supervisor chat… the supervisor understands there is no transaction
AB but I had already been given an authorised receipt and the customer had been told it was...
… authorised.
Supervisor goes on to tell her that customer should never be given money until transaction has gone through and that this is a nationwide problem that is being investigated… I can’t guarantee anything but we might be able to sort it out...
… but until we get to the bottom of it we can’t guarantee anything.
POB you accept you were told it was being investigated and you understood that
AB yes but they never said they’d come back to me or make a note of what was happening in my branch
POB I appreciate it wasn’t clear that the Post Office were going to resolve it, but it wouldn't be fair to suggest that Post Office told you it wouldn’t be investigated….
AB there were no guarantees there were looking into it. they didn’t say they would
We are breaking for lunch. Judge apologises for his incessant sneezing and says we’ll be back at 2pm.
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