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Good morning from court 26 of the High Court’s Rolls Building for Day 7 of the Horizon trial, part of the Bates v Post Office group litigation. Mr Godeseth from Fujitsu is being cross-examined in the witness box.
Just a reminder - everything I tweet is a summary and paraphrases what is happening in court. Nothing is a direct quote unless it is in “direct quotes"
Torstein Godeseth (TG) is the Horizon Chief Architect at Fujitsu. He is being cross-examined by Patrick Green QC (PG) for the claimants. They are discussing changing things in Horizon’s message store.
PG can we agree it was possible to change objects in the message store in the way described here (a document they are referring to)
TG yes
PG and doing so is open to error?
TG yes
PG and were you aware authorisation from the PO to do so was needed
TG no
[it is a PEAK they are discussing which is a Horizon error report raised by a Subpostmaster (SPM) and (hopefully) fixed by Fujitsu - the fix is discussed in the PEAK]
Did I say it was Day 7 at the top of this thread? I am so sorry, it is Day 8. Eejit.
PG This PEAK is from Dec 2007 - Am currently retrieving a message store from the branch and will be changing the message store on the counter. Problem is wrt to purchase of foreign money...
J “in the happy days when £484 could by $1000”
PG… and the solution is to make a change..
… to the counter message store. The PEAK goes on to note...

PG "it was fixed before they did the roll and it is best that the branch is not advised"
TG this was written by Andy Kiel recording things as he saw it - in the background there was a dialogue with the Post Office
PG so Post Office will have been aware of what was going on
PG the counter problem has been corrected by inserting a message into the message store...
… yes?
TG yes
PG by using an OCP
[we are getting techy here…]
PG single SC message was written in error with no corresponding settlement line - we will insert a new message. If the change is not made before rollover the branch will have an unexpected gain and a ...
… receipts/payments mismatch. It will be done without the branch being made aware of it.
PG so the OCP is the front end fix -
going into the counter message store at the branch
TG yes
PG we see location: counter
TG yes
PG if we look under comments Andy Kiel is updated the POLFS feed for the branch by updating the sale value… [he speaks more tech stuff]
PG so what we are seeing here is $2000 being inserted in the PO system. Yes?
TG yes
PG when we go back to the underlying PEAK on 14 Dec 2007...
… Anne Chambers writes the counter problem has been sorted by inserting a message into the message store. As a result of the corrective action - there should have been no impact on the branch, however the branch had a loss of $1000 - we have notified PO - it is a genuine loss...
… at the branch.
PG is it more likely that the loss has been generated by the insertion of the $2000 dollars?
TG yes

[THERE YOU GO! THAT’S THE SMOKING GUN! $1000 dollar loss in branch blamed on SPM with a Fujitsu witness in court agreeing that it was more likely to...
…. have been caused by a Fujitsu engineer hitting a “2” instead of a “1”]

[I wonder how often this happened…]
[Amazing to think that up to 2016 the @PostOffice flatly denied any branch accounts could be tinkered with by anyone, let alone have someone go in, wonder around without the SPM’s knowledge, make a mistake and cause them to be $1000 out of pocket. Whoosh!]
@PostOffice [That tweet would have more impact if I could use the correct spelling of wander]
[Mr Godeseth has yet to be re-examined by the Post Office QC, so this might be challenged during the re-examination. We will see. Goodness me.]

In court we have moved on to another PEAK. Once TG agreed that a branch had been blamed for a loss by a mistake at Fujitsu...
… we moved on to the next PEAK.

PG reading email re Malformed Currency Transactions between Fujitsu and Post Office “POL are happy for you to make necessary adjustments” - this is Post Office authorising more tinkering with branch accounts. This time WITH SPM permission.
We’re now into a doc from 7 March 2010 - the Balancing Transaction TG is aware of and refers to in his Witness Statement (WS) par 58.8
(read it here postofficetrial.com/2019/03/horizo…)
PG where did you get this info from?
TG the guys
PG which guys
TG steve parker
PG and it came to him…?
TG via his team
PG so here they double the receipts from £4000 to £8000… and there it says an OCP approved by POL will be needed to do it using the Transaction tool
PG why couldn’t the £4000 be corrected with a Transaction Correction to the SPM
TG yes because I didn’t have access to the message story on the new system - it was the way we had designed it
PG this was the planned way to do it
TG well we planned never to do it.
[we move on]
PG here we have a PEAK showing two transactions with the same JSN number
TG not sure this PEAK is accurate -it’s just the diagnosis of a developer
J let’s just go on what we have on the screen. You are not agreeing with the diagnosis, but let’s go with the...
… hypothesis it is.

TG it would have to be a bug in ORACLE because that is an impossibility. And I certainly don’t remember any such bug.
PG you see the words I suspect there must be something gone wrong with this request - I am not sure why this has happened. This transaction should have failed at the journal filter stage - yes?
TG I think we’re getting into fairly complicated territory my Lord
J I think the whole case it fairly complicated, but I think I can follow it. Carry on
TG [gives a very long explanation about a Horizon bug causing problems around the launch of Horizon online]
J I understand.
PG is it fair that this box - read as a whole - to say the person looking at it was surprised this duplicate transaction was not replicated by a JSN entry
TG someone may have been trying to look for a JSN entry - I’m simply asserting an ORACLE bug which would have been huge...
TG… you cannot have two entries with the same JSN.

[we move on to a PEAK in April 2010 - a month after the acknowledged balancing transaction you refer to in your statement. Problem here is FAD code [branch] unable to rollover]
PG when rolling over site gets “unable to connect to data centre” message. Anne Chambers in 3rd paragraph - I suspect this maybe because there’s already a single entry inserted during migration - wonder if this branch could be sorted out by OCP/development - this needs looking...
…. URGENTLY for this branch and needs to be looked at longer term to ensure it doesn’t affect other migrating branches.
PG then Gareth Jenkins suggests a different solution -
TG using the Balancing Transaction tool to delete an entry in the branch database which is NOT...
… transaction data.
PG there are, I think two things happening here - there’s a stock unit entry being updated AND a deletion to the opening figure of cash.
J there appear to be two different trading periods here
TG I must admit I hadn’t picked up on that nuance
J I’m not making a finding here, but it’s not exactly a nuance if there are two different trading period
TG apologises and says that wasn’t what he meant
[internal document shown discussing changing the Transaction Correction Tool to allow it to do more than just insert balancing transactions]
PG were you aware of this?
TG no
PG reading out loud from this doc - one of the benefits listed is: "fix which may not be visible to end user”
PG so it’s anticipated this tool would continue to be used going forward
TG yes
[We go to a Fujitsu Feb 2011 doc]
PG quotes "when we go off-piste” - what does going off piste mean in this context
TG creating a fix we don’t have a script for
PG on 9 Dec 2011, Ernst and Young asked Fujitsu about privileged access to branch transactions...
PG right and proper to do so?
TG yes
PG here is letter from WBD (PO solicitors) to Freeths (claimants’ solicitors) about usernames in Fujitsu with a list of usernames and who they relate to. PG lists them.
There is also a letter listing what privileges they have...
… as privileged Horizon users.
Doc says “users have the ability to update, delete, insert ANY data into branch data tables” - would you agree with that?
TG those people could log on and do that yes
PG and prior to 2015 the only audit available was to log on and log off
We’ve had a quick break. We are now onto the bugs discussed by TG in his 2nd WS entitled “THE ROLE OF PROFESSOR MCLACHLAN IN THE TRIAL OF SEEMA MISRA”
I have interviewed both these people for the BBC in the past.
PG pointing out his evidence about the Misra trial is based on what he was told by colleagues and solicitors
TG agrees
PG and that he doesn’t know anything about it
TG agrees
PG and that it’s only in your WS because you were asked to put it in there.
TG [pause] yes.
[PG does not for some reason, how, based on the info in the last tweet he can say in his WS: “I agree with Cartwright King that Professor McLachlan's report consists of a series of anecdotal assertions that there could be issues with Horizon ...
… without providing any direct examples or evidence in support (save for one email from Gareth Jenkins of Fujitsu (who acted as Post Office's expert witness in the Misra case)."
We have moved on to other bugs - PG asks about the Callendar Square bug...
PG it which affected Callander Square in 2005, but was traced back to Feb 2003 and there were iterations of similar bugs in 2000. Correct?
TG [small pause] yes
PG has just spent the last 10 minutes listing a litany of problems caused to individual Subpostmasters by the bug which was stated in 2005, but was not fixed as there was no time in the Service Level Target to do so….
… then onto another bug which caused a loss which an SPM was advised to state as made good even though it wasn’t - SPM concerned about doing something directly contrary to his contacts…
PG reads out that Post Office helpline and told SPM there were no software bugs...
… affecting him.
PG but there was a bug, wasn’t there?
TG I think we’ve established there was a bug, yes.
PG Callendar square bug had been open and known about for years. Anne Chambers from Fujitsu gets told by Escher they’ve fixed it, but leaves the PEAK open as she doesn’t trust them
[Escher ran the Riposte system which was the database legacy Horizon used - ie pre 2010]
Move to a letter sent by PO solicitors July 2016 -
PG this defect which was discovered in 2005 and fixed in 2006. It wasn’t, was it?
TG no it wasn’t - the underlying bug had been there since the launch of Horizon.
PG goes to PO solicitors letter in Jan 2017 “the Falkirk/Callendar Square issues was only known to have affected that one branch”
PG that’s also incorrect, isn’t it?
TG there is a spreadsheet which lists the impact and how many might be impacted
PG it’s wrong, isn’t it?
TG on the face of it yet
J you might want to look at one of the PEAKS which PG took you to [he takes him to it] “a few of these errors seem to occur every week at different sites” does that help you answer Mr Green?
TG I would read that as a fairly generic problem...
… back to the Atos KEL which says you can see this occasionally but when you get a swarm of them… the underlying error is one counter unit not being able to talk to another
PG and eventually you get to a spreadsheet which lists the number of branches affected by the Callendar Sq bug. and it’s more than one, isn’t it.
TG yes
PG takes him to his WS in which he says he spoke to a Matthew Lentern who told him there were 30 branches affected...
… with 20 having errors. Did that happen?
TG I didn’t speak to Matthew Lentern about it. so no.
PG did you have any communication with Matthew Lentern at all?
TG he gave me the spreadsheet
PG says they got this spreadsheet disclosed to them in Feb 2019
PG you’ve always known that the source of the info that you talk about re Callendar SQ in your WS was this Anne Chambers spreadsheet.
TG accepts, but didn’t originally know AC put it together
PG let’s see what...
… it says.
PG says the spreadsheet shows the MAJORITY of branches affected and that it doesn’t know about how it affected other branches going forward. This does NOT reflect your WS, does it
TG fair point
PG you also said it was made at the time of the error, but the
date of the spreadsheet is 2015.
TG yes I got that completely wrong
J was it the number of branches shown that led you to correct the number of branches affected from 20 to 19?
TG someone else noticed it.
Now onto receipts/payments mismatch bug in 2010.
TG confused about whether it was Horizon online (HOL)
PG let’s look at your WS
TG oh yes it was HOL
PG you evidence is it started in Sep 2010 and Fujitsu identified it in Sep 2010?
TG I have not checked the detail, but I’m comfortable with it
PG is this something you know about yourself or is this something you got from Gareth Jenkins?
TG it’s from Gareth, plus further...
… looking at some detail.
PG and the doc you refer to in some detail is f1000 written by Gareth Jenkins. and doc f1001 is the receipts and payments mismatch issue notes which you are not involved in and don’t refer to.
PG Gareth didn’t tell you about that, did he?
TG no
PG then mentions another doc, and the BBC broadcast on 7 Feb 2011 re Horizon [which I fronted] and says Gareth didn’t tell you about those, either did he?
TG no

Monday 7 Feb 2011o
PG so Gareth Jenkins knows about this bug, not you
TG yes
PG reads from a document where the Post Office decide not to tell branches about it. were you surprised about this?
TG it was the Post Office’s decision
PG do you agree with it?
TG I could see why they might not, but if you wanted to be completely honest and transparent and it was causing problems in branches, then yes they should have been told.
PG [provides documentary evidence that the bug had been going since May 2010.] so your WS is materially...
…. wrong, isn’t it?
TG on the basis of what we’ve just been through, yes it is.

[the thing that still gets me is that the Post Office could have told the Misra trial about the Receipts/Payments mismatch bug whilst it was happening, but chose not to. Now - they...
… would, I suspect, argue, that there was no way it could have affected Mrs Misra’s branch, but you’d think - given there were these errors flying around, they’d look for more evidence of Mrs Misra’s theft than Horizon evidence. When you’re trying to put someone in jail..
… you’d surely want to be pretty sure in your own mind, wouldn’t you? Gareth Jenkins was the Post Office’s expert in the Misra trial and right now in court we’re going back to the document released at the last trial during which the receipts/payments mismatch...
… was discussed at around the same time (I think just before) the Misra trial in 2010. In the room - Gareth Jenkins.]
TG has now admitted that not telling SPMs about the receipts\payments mismatch error was not open and transparent.
PG asking TG to explain how he came to the number that 60 branches were affected by the bug
TG can’t explain where it came from.
TG says he remembers Gareth
… Jenkins telling him it was 62.
PG goes to the spreadsheet which shows how many branches were affected.
[This is a real Horizon bug causing discrepancies in branch accounts and SPMs not being told about them.]
PG now asking about the PO’s strongly held assertion...
… that a balancing transaction was only ever used once, on a non-claimant’s branch accounts to fix a payments/mismatch error]
PG do you know anything about that?
TG no
PG notes that there appears to be at least one more example of a balancing transaction being used on a branch according to another document he’s just taken us to.
PG does that suggest there HAS been more than one Balancing Transaction injected into branch accounts
TG says he would have to check the FAD code (branch number) against the FAD code for the branch which he knows had the Balancing Transaction injected to see if they matched and if they didn’t match, then the Post Office’s assertion that there has only been one injection...
… would be wrong.
We break for lunch.
So that’s quite a morning - I’ve been moaning that whatever the strength of the claimants case, there hasn’t been a smoking gun.
Now the claimants QC and his team have found it. How many more were there, I wonder. Back at 2pm!
We have started with an application to recuse the judge from this trial and cause the trial to stop!!!!!
WTF!!?!?!?!? Looks like the trial is going to stop. No idea who this application is from.
POQC seems as mystified as us.
Judge proposes rising to allow POQC to take instruction.
J On the basis that this application is successful this trial will have to be stopped and re-started.

Judge rises.
Just been told the @PostOffice have made the application to recuse the judge from the trial. This is huge.
This is extraordinary. We’re about to find out the Post Office’s reason for th application.
Just spoken to a couple of lawyers. They have no experience of this happening before.
I would suggest if you are a court reporter you get to court 26 in the Rolls Building in the next few minutes. You might get some decent quotes from the claimants….!
POQC says Lord Grabiner from his chambers who has made the application and so they have not taken instruction. POQC suggests they carry on with the cross-examination of TG, but not sure we’ll finish with final PO witness for this week.
Patrick Green QC wants to finish the cross-examination to have Mr Parker’s evidence.
Judge says he’s completely comfortable with this, but we’ll review at the end of Mr Godeseth’s evidence.
Christ - now we have to focus on the cross-examination of a Fujitsu chief architect about serious bugs in the Horizon system whilst everyone is thinking about the fact the Post Office are trying to get the managing judge booted off the litigation.
This has happened so suddenly not even the Post Office’s QC knows what’s going on.
I’m going to go back to tweeting the evidence… follow this thread for that.
If you’re new to this feed, the # is #postofficetrial and there’s quite a bit of background info here: postofficetrial.com
Some general notes on an application for recusal no5.com/news-and-publi…
kindly found by @Jusmasel2015
@Jusmasel2015 PG we are at paragraph 47 of TG’s witness statement discussing the local suspense bug: "The bug was discovered in January 2013 when two Subpostmasters, who experienced the largest discrepancies, …"
@Jusmasel2015 “… raised the issue with Post Office. understand from Gareth Jenkins that Post Office could see the impact of the problem in their back end system and wrote off the discrepancies experienced by the branches."
PG so it was discovered by Subpostmasters?
TG we found out about it in 2013
PG because Subpostmasters who brought it to your attention
TG yes
PG and the Post Office knew about it in 2012
TG I can’t comment on that.
[we go back to the Dalmellington bug]
[which was affecting more than 60 branches in 2010 and 2011]
PG so there’s a 2010 fix to this bug and a 2011 fix
TG yep
PG listing the incidents of the bug repeating which continue up to 2016. The point someone making at Fujitsu is making there is that the PO didn’t...
… pass on the info about the bug repeating after 2011. RIght?
TG I can’t comment on that
PG what does it look like
TG it looks like it, yeah
PG so no root cause analysis could be done on it by Fujitsu for 4 years from 2011 to 2015
because the Post Office didn’t tell them about it.
TG it’s possible Fujitsu did not find about this until 2015 and it’s possible that SPMs were dealing with it themselves.
PG it does not show Horizon robustly working as it should
TG the bug had the effect of making the user...
… do something multiple times.
[which doesn’t answer the question]
PG finally - the assessment appears to be that Horizon has improved over the years
TG any system improves over the years
PG what about Horizon?
TG yes it has improved
[I think when PG said finally - he was talking about a final section of his cross-examination…]
PG this bug could cause a branch to be held liable for this bug. yes?
TG you’d get a receipts/payments mismatch which would be picked up by our system.
PG giving an example of a bug which was discovered fairly recently which has affected multiple branches in 2019. That’s a recent bug then?
TG yes
Or sorry, over six months leading up to 22 Jan 2019
PG now describing a bug from February 2019 when selling stamps the cash in hand amounts would be inflated rather than decreased which could cause a discrepancy. This affected 720 branches inc live kit in NBSC.
PG is that a fair reflection of the sort of thing...
… that Fujitsu engineers deal with over the course of their normal working environment.
TG I am not familiar with that bug.
[that didn’t sound like an answer to the question but judge and QC let it lie]
PG no further questions

POQC on his feet for re-examination.
POQC you were asked about an error identified during the pilot scheme. what is the purpose of a pilot scheme. Why don’t you just roll out everything out to every branch
TG that would be ridiculous because you roll out to a small number of branches to go through the...
…. teething problems and sort them out.
POQC and the balancing problem that doubled the £4000 to £8000 that we heard about is that the sort of thing you’d expect
TG I’d expect to have to deal with a number of problems.
POQC moves on to an update issued by Horizon. Asks if this one can affect branch transaction data
TG the raw data will not disappear.
POQC what is the effect of the delete instruction
TG to delete the data from the branch, but not the underlying data
POQC and what happened...
… in this case?
TG we needed to remove a line of code which had an extra zero in it. The zero caused the data to be left in the transaction data after rollover and that confused the software.
POQC and so by deleting the record what happens?
TG it allows the rollover to happen.
POQC you were shown the OCP that was related to this fix…”branch x unable to rollver… steps related to the fix - log on to node 1 as UNIX user BRDB” what does that mean?
TG fundamentally you’re logging on to the branch database
POQC who is UNIX user?
TG one of the guys...
… Ireland.
POQC let’s see this name here - Ed Ashford - who’s he?
TG one of the guys in Ireland
POQC who are the guys in Ireland?
TG they are UNIX users operating at a very low level
POQC what does that mean - they don’t have very high user rights?
TG they have very high user rights, but they do very low level, process-driven things and are tightly monitored.
POQC and what they did in this case?
TG I think the data that was deleted was NOT transaction data.
J what do you mean then in this case by transaction data?
TG well in this trial we’ve been calling it operational data, but that’s such a wide definition.
[We’re coming to the end of Mr Godeseth’s time in the witness box. Now a discussion has to take place about the cross-examination of today’s final witness….
…. Or whether the judge just stops the trial. No idea if a timetable for the decision about the Post Office’s application to have the judge booted off the trial will be discussed. Or whether he has to surrender control of the process to a higher authority….
… any lawyers who know who decides who boots High Court judges off their own trials, and how that decision is reached, please get in touch. #postofficetrial

Any links to any precedents would be useful too.
Also - what happens to the judgment about the first trial? If the application is successful can the judgment stand? It is presumably because of the judgment the Post Office has made the application.
The judge is asking some pretty deep level questions about strings of code to the witness. I can’t see the documents they are looking at.
I’ll put up the transcript at postofficetrial.com when I get it.

This judge seems to know quite a bit about binary variables.
And code in general.

Mr Godeseth leaves the witness box.
Now what?
Upon reflection and because it’s after 3pm I am not going to call Mr Parker.

I am going to give you (POQC) some directions on your application.
That was J speaking, obviously.

J I received the application at five minutes to 2 and asked for a paper copy to be brought to court
J has a paper copy.
J I think there might be some exhibits. Are there exhibits?

[a file is handed up]
[two files, in fact]
J it seems there are 3 things that need to be dealt with
1) responsive evidence from claimants and if they want to oppose it
2) skeletons
3) date of hearing
J wants hearing on 1 April
Claimants’ QC (PG) on his feet.
PG if you lordship would turn to p6 of Mr Parsons Witness Statement. The basis of the application is supposed to be set out in par 24 and 25 - the findings in relation to matters to Common Issues trial - show you have...
… already formed an opinion on future matters.
And the high level of invective directed at the Post Office witnesses suggest a hostility to the post office.
PG I have not seen a recusal application as lacking in particularity as this. They need to be set out properly….
PG this is a serious matter. they can’t just assert a vague penumbra of allegations.
this is likely - if not calculated - to derail proceedings.
PG I am inviting you to direct that these vague allegations be particularised. No solicitor would ever sign...
.. a WS statement of such generality and then go away and work out what they are. They need to be particularised to us.
J well I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.
J I am going to go away and read this witness statement in full before I see it because as I said I haven’t read more than the first couple of paragraphs.
Post Office QC - my lord, neither have I
J I’ll come back at 4.40pm and tell you how we are going to proceed.
Sorry 3.40pm
The Witness Statement in which the judge’s invective and hostility was alleged was made by a Mr Andy Parsons, a Womble Bond Dickinson solicitor who was the BD rep on the working group.
The Working Group was the steering group set up to oversee the Post Office mediation scheme which collapsed in acrimony when the Post Office scuppered it by sacking everyone.
So Mr Parsons and WBD have skin in this game.
14 minutes till the judge returns. I’m going to try to get a copy of the application. And go to the loo.
Don’t think i can get a copy of application but it’s about to be discussed.
So this is where we are. Several million quid into second trial of a group litigation between 550+ former Subpostmasters and the Post Office.
The Post Office lost the first trial. Badly. Badly. A director of the Post Office was found to have misled the court. The judge preferred the evidence of all six lead claimants (three of whom were chosen by the PO) over the PO’s version of events.
All the substantive findings in the judgment were in favour of the claimants.

This application to recuse the judge has been made by the Post Office.
Recuse means boot him off the trial in this circumstance for the avoidance of doubt.

The claim is that his judgment and the language in it is so strong it is de facto proof he cannot NOT be biased going forwards in this litigation.
A solicitor from the firm retained by the Post Office throughout the Justice for Subpostmasters’ Alliance has accused the judge of being vindictive towards the Post Office.
Judge is back.
POQC saying that claimants demanding particulars is surreal - it is a matter of argument. We suggest out skeleton is issued on Tuesday, the claimants is issued on the end of Thursday which will allow you hear the application on 1 April [apt]
J that proposal doesn’t include the provision for evidence and you are assuming that claimants will oppose the application
POQC says a particularised list of evidence would slow matters down
J if the PO’s skeleton includes a schedule about the "critical invective" and the “harsh
… critcism” in the judgment we can at least understand the grounds on which the Post Office justifies the clear impression the judge has already formed a firm view on the matters going forward.
J as I understand the WS of Mr Parsons which I have now read carefully twice...
… it’s based on the Common Issues judgment so there’s not going to be any evidential argument about what has happened. Correct?
POQC I don’t know
PGQC on his feet. for the claimants.
PG the starting point for any application of this type is that it must be set out with ...
particularity the claim of apparent bias of this court. And that is normal.
We have to be given evidence of this claim BEFORE we decide whether or not to oppose it.
We have to see the reasons

A finding which is advers to a party is not the proper foundation of an application.
of this sort to the court.

A criticism of a witness is not the proper foundation of an application of this kind to the court.

So it needs to be set out EXACTLY what creates a situation whereby the claim of bias can be considered.
PG: POQC says everyone knows what the matters are. I don’t. The Post Office do or they would not have signed this off. So they should write a list and explain what the basis of this application is.
J what I am minded to do is order the PO provide a WS by noon on Tuesday which...
… sets out exactly what Mr Parsons means in pars 24 and 25 by critical invective and unfair criticism of witnesses which does not have relevance to the issues in the Common Issues trial.
POQC disagrees
J I think we’re all agreed we need...
… to see exactly what the reasons behind the claims are. So I am minded to ask the witness statement to be explained.
POQC that’s not fair on Mr Parsons - a human being criticising a High Court judge.
J why?!
POQC it would be much better if the arguments were spelled out...
in a schedule in the skeleton.
J disagrees and sets out schedule:

Noon on Tue 26 for Witness Statement.
Claimants have to decide whether or not to oppose on this basis. They have to be given the oppo to put evidence, but I can’t imagine that they would if the basis...
… if the claim is the judgment.

So PG when would you like to notify the defendants if you choose to oppose the application
PG 24 hrs
J okay noon on Wednesday and response skeleton by Friday.
Skels by 10am on Tuesday 2nd
Application hearing will last 1 day and I am proposing...
… Wednesday 3rd.

POQC my lord I don’t know if Lord Grabiner is available the day

J I think then if you want to shift that date, given that the date is a day the trial should be sitting you’re going to have to make a formal application.
The trial is suspended until any judgment on the application to recuse which will be heard over one day on Wed 3 April.

Judgment might be reserved. Judgment might also be appealed.

J says we now won’t be able to hear any expert evidence this side of Easter.
Of course if the application succeeds we won’t be hearing any expert evidence for a very long time.

Judge rises. Wow.
If you have any comments and you want me to put them in my coming blog post, please tweet or email them to me. I need to know your connection to the case. You can use the contact form on the website if you want me to anonymise your message, but I will still need to know...
… who you are and your connection to the case.
EXCLUSIVE: I have the application to recuse the judge from the case.

Here are some excerpts from Mr Parsons’ supporting Witness Statement:
"I am a partner at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, solicitors for the Defendant (Post Office) in the above proceedings. I am duly authorised to make this statement in support of Post Office’s application for an order...
…. that the Honourable Mr. Justice Fraser be recused as the Managing Judge of the Post Office Group Litigation. The facts set out in this statement are within my own knowledge."
“the Judgment made findings, or observations, on a
wide range of matters which properly fall to be decided at the Horizon Issues Trial
or at future breach trials."
"They include findings and observations on such matters as the adequacy of
training, the quality of helplines, Post Office’s alleged knowledge of problems with
Horizon, the cause of shortfalls, how easy or difficult it was for Subpostmasters to
discover the cause of shortfalls,..
...Post Office’s investigations of shortfalls, the
circumstances of individual Claimants’ suspensions and terminations, and
whether Post Office sent unjustified demands for payment and/or threats of legal
action to Subpostmasters."
Here come the good bits:
"These findings give the clear impression that the Judge has already formed a firm
view on these matters. It is to be expected that this will prevent him from taking an...
… impartial view on the same matters when they are revisited, at subsequent trials,
with the benefit of full evidence and disclosure."
"The Judgment also contains a great deal of critical invective directed at Post
Office, none of which is relevant to the determination of the Common Issues.
That, too, creates a clear impression that the Judge has not behaved impartially….
… The same can be said for those parts of the judgment which harshly criticise Post
Office’s witnesses on matters irrelevant to the Common Issues."
"In those circumstances, Post Office believes it has no choice but to make this
application for the Judge to recuse himself from these proceedings. As an adjunct
to that, Post Office applies for an adjournment of the ongoing Horizon Trial."
Well it’s been quite a day. First we had Horizon’s chief architect agree with a forensic analysis which showed a Fujitsu engineer had gone into a Subpostmaster’s branch accounts without his permission, made a mistake costing $1000 (it was a forex transaction) which...
…. Fujitsu failed to spot and so the Postmaster had to make good themselves. That in itself is huge. Then we heard in detail about the payments/mismatch bug which the Post Office deliberately kept from SPMs even though they might be settling the resultant discrepancies...
… with their own cash rather than disputing them. And then this - an application to recuse the judge from the trial because of the bias he apparently has demonstrated in his judgment.
If anyone from a national newspaper would like me to write this up for them, please do get in touch, ahem @guardian @thetimes @dailytelegraph @DailyMailUK
The @FT was in court with meself @karlf from @ComputerWeekly and the inestimable @rbrooks45 fr @PrivateEyeNews was here too!
@guardian @thetimes @dailytelegraph @DailyMailUK @FT @KarlF @ComputerWeekly @rbrooks45 @PrivateEyeNews This was variously described by people close I heard in the courtroom (after his lordship had risen) as: “desperate”, “astonishing”, “a delaying tactic”, “convenient distraction” [given this morning’s revelations] and “bizarre”.

One lawyer told me...
@guardian @thetimes @dailytelegraph @DailyMailUK @FT @KarlF @ComputerWeekly @rbrooks45 @PrivateEyeNews … even if the application on 3 April is unsuccessful she would be surprised if the trial was now delayed months.
If it fails, I can only see the rest of the trial happening in the weeks originally scheduled for the third trial in Nov 2019. But that’s a guess. But these QCs...
@guardian @thetimes @dailytelegraph @DailyMailUK @FT @KarlF @ComputerWeekly @rbrooks45 @PrivateEyeNews … and judges and expert witnesses are busy people with busy diaries. Asking them to make time in May or June may not now be feasible.
@guardian @thetimes @dailytelegraph @DailyMailUK @FT @KarlF @ComputerWeekly @rbrooks45 @PrivateEyeNews One other quote to finish on about this Application: “last throw of the dice.”

I see @ComputerWeekly have filed already.
I’ll get something up alongside today’s transcript tonight.


And here is the link to the Application to recuse the judge and its supporting witness statement.
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