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Angela van den Bogerd, @PostOffice Director, who was found to have misled a judge in court under oath during the Common Issues trial arriving this morning to be cross-examined in the Horizon #postofficetrial. Follow this thread for live tweets of her evidence.
@PostOffice Mrs Angela van den Bogerd (AB) has started being cross-examined by Patrick Green QC (PG) for the claimants. Here we go.
PG You say you aim to give a balanced view. Did you aim to do that in November?
AB yes
PG and did you?
AB broadly yes
NEW (and old) FOLLOWERS PLEASE BE AWARE THE LIVE TWEETS ARE A SUMMARY AND PARAPHRASE WHAT IS HAPPENING ON COURT. Direct quotes are only direct quotes if they are in “direct quotes.” We continue...
PG reading out par 128 of AB’s WS re Pam Stubbs (lead claimant) saying “Mrs Stubbs chose to settle this shortfall centrally and so this does not appear to be a problem with Horizon”
PG says she has now deleted "and so this does not appear to be a problem with Horizon” from her WS
PG suggests that’s because AB was being misleading.
AB agrees - because she did dispute it
PG well, let’s take it by stages.
[sorry the end of AB’s par 128 “as I would expect Mrs Stubbs to dispute this shortfall if Horizon was thought to be the case” - that was deleted too]
AB accepts there is no dispute button in Horizon and that Mrs Stubbs did dispute it and therefore her evidence here was wrong.
PG going through another part of AB’s evidence where she blames Mr Abdulla (another lead claimant) for two identical £1092 discrepancies.
AB stands by it
PG we move on to pars 103 and 104 of her evidence about Angela Burke (a Horizon trial witness from last week)
PG do you accept your original witness statement as drafted by her that any error by her had any effect on the failure
AB yes she had done nothing wrong
PG you say the likely reason being user error in your original WS and you don’t say it wasn’t
AB yes
PG which is why you corrected it
AB yes
PG on to Mr Patny (a claimants witness last week) you have changed your evidence here again
AB yes
PB originally you just parroted what he said. because you said you were assuming what the claimants said was true
AB my corrections were made in advance of the evidence...
… being given.
PG so we’ve only found out about your corrections AFTER they’ve been cross-examined.
AB yes.
PG onto the “phantom sales” problem Fujitsu revealed to Post Office for the purposes of this trial.
you would have assumed that if you didn’t know about phantom transactions you would have assumed user error?
AB yes, but then we would have investigated
J when did you become aware of phantom sales?
AB I don’t recall
[the judge stares at her]
AB well during the mediation scheme we did become aware of allegations of phantom sales
but we investigated them
PG but actual phantom sales have only just been reported to you by your...
… solicitors for this trial.
AB yes
PG what do you mean by “the key point to be that such matters provided they relate to stock sales, should not cause a discrepancy in a branch’s accounts”
AB that it should be okay
PG unless vast amount of stock is “self-declaring” then...
… that is a massive problem for the SPM (subpostmaster).
AB yes.
[We are onto Master Peaks - these appear to be Horizon errors that keep repeating. Not aware of the phrase Master Peak before.]
In this Master Peak document there is a note that the call is closed...
…. "WITHOUT" permission of Subpostmaster. Which is in capitals because it is not what is supposed to happen. Note the call goes on to say that PM is very unhappy because it has cost him £1500 and he now has more money demanded from him. SPM very stressed, suffering...
… sleepless nights and threatening legal action against the Post Office.

PG so calls have closed wrongly, is extremely distressed and significant amounts of money have gone missing and the SPM is right to say that Key Barnes is wrong to have closed the call.
A further note on this PEAK document is brought up. Internal note that SPM is complaining unjustly to Key Barnes about what he thinks is a SPM error when SPM is getting feedback it is a user error.
PG did you think this contributed to the decision to close the call...
… the feedback that it is user error?
AB yes.

[PG moves down to the document where an SPM is on the phone and notes whilst the call to the helpline is going on 3 stamp transactions fell off the screen and disappeared. PEAK doc notes there should be an investigation into why]
PG noting more than one SPM calling the Helpline demanding to talk to someone face to face about this PEAK. But that doesn’t always happen does it?
AB no and I understand their frustration
J asks about 1 May 2006 entry on PEAK document about ROMEC - asks who they are
AB They are Royal Mail in house engineers

[apols - the date is 2001 not 2006]

PG so ROMEC attend one of the sites and says they’ve done what they can do. Note on helpline that Post Office doesn’t know what to do. ROMEC have visited the site and witnessed the phantom...
… transactions. So that is independent site visit witnessing phantom transactions by ROMEC engineers, right?
AB yes
[reads more from PEAK]
I now have evidence that unwanted peripheral input is causing transactions to be added (via a dodgy touchscreen).
This is not an isolated...
… incident.
PG do you agree we now have evidence of phantom transactions?
AB yes
[PG starts reading from more of this PEAK about a phantom event - saying the Horizon terminal was report writing for 20 mins when it wasn’t]
PG so we have phantom transactions and phantom events?
AB yes
PG reads conclusion of PEAK report which states all the problems were user error and there was no fault with the product.
PG so despite independent corroboration of error it was decided there wasn’t one. Which is wrong
isn’t it?
AB in this case yes

PG moves on to PEAK in Feb 2011. Negative stock appearing in branch. the system is causing a discrepancy. The SPM was told to declare correct stock figures but she won’t as Horizon will turn it into a discrepancy
PG that’s a worry isn’t it?
AB yes
PG had you seen this PEAK before?
AB no
J before today or before your witness statement
AB today
PG if you had any conversation with an SPM about any of this sort of thing happening, you would assume it was user error, wouldn’t you?
AB yes, at first, but then we’d investigate
PG in a sense this SPM was lucky because Horizon was throwing up stock they didn’t sell any more.
AB yes
PG but it would be much harder if the discrepancy were in, say, stamps. Harder to prove a software error.
AB yes
PG so the last PEAK example I gave you was a hardware error, but this one appears to be a software error.
AB yes it does
PG moves on to internal email about a phantom cheque which an SPM claimed he had evidence had gone onto the system wrongly. This was when you were Head of Branch Support Team. Yes?
AB yes
PG now this would be very interesting to see this evidence? yes?
AB yes
PG email says SPM doesn’t want to be contacted, thinks it proves Horizon is shonky, wants to take it to his MP - asks if PO should investigate given the interest in Horizon from @BBCnews. Notes the decision is not to do anything as it could cause problems for @PostOffice...
@BBCNews @PostOffice PG should it have been investigated?
AB yes
J do you think the response from Mr Wynne in that email was acceptable?
J no - not remotely acceptable. We should have investigated.
PG were you aware of this?
AB no
PG were you made aware of this sort of thing?
AB no, but if I was...
@BBCNews @PostOffice … I would have done something.
PG because problems with cheques on Horizon have been quite a big thing down the years haven’t they?
AB [doesn’t respond]
[we move on to remote access]
PG In par 18.4 and 18.5 you talk about remote access and how it can be done. How long have you known about inserting transactions?
AB last year or so
PG who told you
Ab Fujitsu
PG Gareth Jenkins?
AB probably
PG when you say a remote access...
… transaction would be visible on the audit trail - what do you mean?
AB it would be visible on the branch transaction log to the SPM
PG if you don’t know, say
AB I’ve never seen it
PG so you don’t know whether it would be visible to the SPM or not.
AB I’ve never seen it...
… so no I don’t know.

We stop for a break. Wow. What a bunch of revelations. That internal email about not investigating a possible Horizon error because @BBCnews was snooping round Horizon errors is quite something!
@BBCNews We’re back. PG is taking AB back to something she said before the break.
PG you said you know Andrew Wynne and you said you didn’t work with him for very long and not directly.
AB yes
PG let’s go back to an email from 2013. At this stage PO had tried to address concerns...
@BBCNews … and PO commissioned an independent review. Scope: attitude to SPMs and way it tries to recover assets rather than investigate, lack of support to SPMs etc
PG - and Paula Vennells (CEO) and Alice Perkins (then Chair of @PostOffice) requested this to be led by you. And then we look at Working Group which includes Mr Wynne. So that is the context of your working relationship with Mr Wynne?
AB yes
@PostOffice PG and his responsibility was - it says here “responsible for branch accounting and client settlement” and branch accounting issues - so in terms of that - that was what he was supposed to do?
AB yes, branch accounting issues.
PG so he was the person who should deal with...
… issues raised by Subpostmasters. So the fact he chose not to didn’t when a SPM raised the issue of the phantom cheques we discussed before the break makes it worse, doesn’t it?
AB yes
[on to next issue - scratchcard stock]
PG we saw in the common issues trial a big issue with lottery TCs arriving in error - some credits some debits - neither good when sent in error
AB no
PG starts talking about the PING fix which was introduced to stop the huge errors...
… caused by the old system of dealing with scratchcards.
PG provided that the data coming back from Camelot was correct and there was no data corruption, that should be correct. Overall an improvement?
AB yes
PG simplified it?
AB absolutely
PG and PING dealt...
…. with scratchcards and lottery online.
AB yes
PG took a long time coming, didn’t it?
AB er…
PG lottery terminals arrived BEFORE Horizon in Post Offices didn’t they?
AB yes
PG but the PING fix arrived in 2008.
[PG takes us to a document which gives background the need for the PING fix]
PG it explains a “number of conformance issues have been identified” with the old system etc etc - so this was a big vote of confidence in the Camelot data stream?
AB yes

PG so the whole point of this is robust data from Camelot which have to be automatically accepted by the SPM. You then explain this is not implemented until 2012 in your WS. Yes?

AB Yes.
Goes to doc by Gareth Jenkins “it appears that PING has gone live on Camelot at last!”
PG this is a recognition that it’s taken rather a long time
AB yes
PG this doc is dated 9 Aug 2016. It also notes that the SPM MUST accept the Camelot data “due to its inherent robustness"
Now in your WS par 98 you make an inference that there was a data entry error by Post Office and not an issue with Horizon. That sentence tells the court there is no problem with Horizon at all. It’s a manual error not a system problem.
But the documents we’ve just been...
… looking at show this is a completely automated process. So what you’ve said is completely wrong. You’ve said "just to be clear” this is a manual data entry error. Not Horizon. Do you accept that is completely wrong?
AB yes, I’ve made a mistake.
PG so this is definitely not a user error?
AB no
PG and it suggests there is a problem with Horizon.
AB yes
J can a SPM challenge a TA?
AB they can call FSC or the helpline
J but they have to accept it
AB yes
AB they have to make sure its right and if its not they can call FSC.
PG because you understand that lots of SPMs have had problems with TA - duplicates etc…
AB yes
PG Let’s look at a helpline log dated 12 June 2014…
[we can’t see these btw]
PG if we look on individual incidents tab - row 431 - Lottery Transaction Corrects - SPM says still a discrepancy due to a Transaction Acknowledgment problem… [on to another row] TC not received for...
… duplicate TA for National Lottery…
[we move on]
SPM still not received TC for National Lottery TA problem.
PG these are the sort of problems you’ve fairly accepted people have from time to time…
AB yes
PG also there were problems with SPMs getting TCs re
… National Lottery that they didn’t know what they were for?
AB yes
PG TAs were later introduced for Post and Go transactions weren’t they?
AB yes…
PG goes to note where Crown offices have had discrepancies due to dodgy TAs… so they’re getting them too?
AB yes
[we are off to another document]
PG Branch User Forum record line 74:

“lottery and paystation - why can’t I sell lottery on Horizon and why isn’t the paystation functionality on Horizon?” SPM then makes point of cost being borne by SPMs…
PG so lottery and paystation weren’t part of the original Horizon design and that introduced the pre-PING issue of mistakes between terminals and post-PING it introduced the issue of dodgy TAs and integrity of the datastream?
AB yes
AB explains how lottery and paystation were always different
PG fair observation, but remember Mr Bates was instructed to operate a Horizon terminal that he would operate that Post Office would profit from. Not him.
AB yes, but it was a separate machine.
PG which he was required
… to operate.
AB yes I’m just making the point they were always meant to be different machines.
PG understood.
[we move on to par 154 of WS]
PG you took care over this WS?
AB yes
PG and you might have more time to consider the contents than someone contacting/working on a helpline…
AB yes
[we are going to be talking about failed reversals]
[in the Rose report - a really early forensic accountant report into Horizon which I still haven’t seen]
PG now you say “The extracts of the report by Helen Rose referred to by Mr Coyne are taken out of context… “ [Mr Coyne is the claimants independent IT expert for this triak]
[and it’s about transaction reversals being shown on datasets]
PG notes that this section of AB’s WS has not been revised at all.

PG goes to a specific example about a bill which appears to have been settled by an SPM as the PO is accusing him of a loss.
SPM instructs a forensic accountant over £76 discrepancy as he believes his integrity is being questioned.

Helen Rose in the Rose report goes to the credence data which shows the actual keystrokes on the Horizon terminal.

Helen Rose also goes to Gareth Jenkins at Fujitsu...
… for more info.

I see - SPM is disputing having reversed the transaction.

Helen Rose gets to the bottom of it. The Credence data showed an actual data reversal by the SPM, but when Fujitsu looked at it, it was a system recovery reversal.
Which was not indicated to the counter assistant.
Conclusion - the system is working as it should.
PG so this was a system design error which caused a loss for an SPM or a customer, but doesn’t require any fixes. That’s a problem for an SPM isn’t it?
AB yes
PG are you aware of a closure code for Fujitsu for PEAKS which are known between Post Office and Horizon which recognises faults, but allows them to stay there?
AB no.
[PG goes back to Helen Rose report]
Gareth Jenkins tells Rose that even ARQ data may not show recovery reversals
… but underlying transaction data “can”.
PG takes AB back to 154 of her WS. You say “mistakenly claimed that relevant reversal was issued in error by Horizon, not the Subpostmaster” but we see from what Gareth Jenkins said in the ACTUAL DOCUMENT YOU ARE LOOKING AT - it was done by the system and not the Subpostmaster.
So what you’ve written in paragraph 154 is wrong isn’t it?
AB blethers
PG to be fair - you seem to be saying there that the reversal was done by the Subpostmaster.
AB It was definitely done by the system.
J so what is the mistake you say was made?
AB there’s no doubt in my mind what had happened there. On Helen Roses report is that its not obvious that reversal has been done by the system because it’s against the user ID
PG but the point the Rose report makes is almost exactly the opposite point is making in your statment
PG let’s go back to her report - you see the first answer “this shows that session 527803 was successfully saved, but when the user logged on again the recovery reversed the session” so the system reversed the session not the SPM.
AB yes
PG but that is almost the exact opposite of what you say
AB no I knew it was a system error
PG but you explicitly state that Mr Coyne the IT expert had made an error - this wasn’t a casual observation
AB that wasn’t my intention
PG you did not give a true picture...
… because you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, haven’t you?
AB yes
You also tell Helen Rose about the Horizon integrity issues which are well known - can you remember what they are?
AB does not give specifics.
AB confirms the situation of really important transaction data (as wrt to this last example) not appearing on Credence and ARQ logs (relied on in court by the Post Office to prosecute Subpostmasters) has not yet been corrected. @ccrcupdate
We break for lunch.
I need to add to my tweet before last that AB said it had not been corrected to the best of her knowledge.
I cannot wait to read the transcript from today.
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