anyway…. usual disclaimer…
These tweets are summaries and descriptions of what is being going on and being said in court. Nothing is a direct quote unless in “direct quotes”.
I hope to get hold of his reports and joint statements with the claimants IT expert asap.
DW has a PhD in theoretical particle physics and has spent more than 10 years being an expert witness.
He has a very academic mien.
DW says he has none, but knows a lot about maths, engineering and therefore statistical techniques.
PG and you are thoroughly comfortable using statistical analysis
DW yes, I did all the maths in this - it’s basically long multiplication and division - it’s not that advanced.
PG ”chances of a bug occurring in a claimants’ branch is 2 in 10,000,000 and in fact it is 2 in 1,000,000” so out by a factor of 10.
DW yes. That needed to be changed.
DW no this is a new experience for me
PG you’re not a behavioural economist
DW no my knowledge of economics is shallow - I know about business finance
PG you know the difference between an estimate and an assumption
DW oh yes
PG pretty fundamental, right
DW have I used loose...
PG well this is what I’m trying to ask you…
PG well here you say estimates and there you say assumptions
PG did you make your own free-standing estimate at the level of discrepancy at which a Subpostmaster would contact the Post Office?
PG did you make an estimate that confirmed Angela van den Bogerd’s estimates?
DW well you can make ballpark assumptions or estimates and you get to the result and then you look back at what the assumptions or estimates are...
PG but the question for the moment… you made assumptions and you set them out, but you didn’t make any fact-based estimate of what would happen.
DW no. they were assumptions. and if the court wishes to change those assumptions then the...
PG to make a fact-based estimate you would have to know how and why people faced things
DW to get precise numbers, yes
PG to make an estimate
DW I made some assumptions, I put them to some maths and they became estimates
DW I accept that entirely.
PG so you have a PhD in theoretical physics, you are an expert witness, you’ve made detailed statistical analysis
DW not detailed
PG you are a details man
DW physics people don’t tend to like facts, but they like to get into theory and getting that right, so from that perspective I am a details man yes.
PG was Credence a Logica solution
DW possibly. I was nothing to do with it. I’ve been involved in data warehousing since the year dot.
PG and data...
DW and has been since then
PG and your colleague is a details man
PG but he didn’t check the maths in this
PG but the rest of it?
DW 5 times
PG lots of people have checked it?
DW well I have, Mr Emery (his colleague from Logica) has and I suspect the lawyers have
PG takes him to paragraph 650 in one of his reports about the receipts and payments mismatch bug.
PG you have premised the opinion you give on Mr Godeseth’s evidence. So the content of your report focuses on...
PG you know that the only time we find out if the defendant’s evidence is accepted is when the judgement is handed down
DW good point
PG so you’re assuming the defendant’s evidence is true?
PG but here [they go to a different part of the report] in your report you say you have not assumed that any version of events is true
PG do you feel you have made opinions based on the understanding that the defendants' evidence is accepted equal to that of the claimants?
PG let’s go to another example...
PG having heard anything in the defendant’s evidence Post Office evidence...
DW nothing fundamental, but to come back to the point about precision - my numerical arguments have to be very precise in order to help the court.
PG let’s have a look at some facets of your evidence...
[it is about POLmis and Credence - two different names for the same app at different times]
[PG is asking about PO evidence that Credence records everything that happens in a branch]
PG was your understanding that Credence records all keystrokes in a branch...
That’s a very detailed level of information.
PG Knowing if you can record every keystroke in a branch is important, isn’t it?
DW no - I don’t need to know it goes down to the keystroke level
PG so you made a...
DW yes - MIS (management information systems) takes slices of information and I decided it was enough.
PG but you accepted evidence it did
DW not quite
PG you said consistent...
DW in the ordinary meaning of the word consistent
PG okay so wrt to keystrokes, let’s have a look at the transcript of Mrs van den Bogerd’s evidence...
PG were you here for mr Patny’s evidence where he didn’t get a Credence report despite being promised one?
PG let’s see what AvdB has to say about that shall we?
PG did you see that?
DW no i missed that.
DW right - so this is now more consistent than what i know
PG were you then guessing what an MIS is?
DW no my understanding of POL’s MIS is consistent with my experience
DW youhave to make difficult editorial decisions about what you leave in and leave out of a report
PG why, in response to H8 didn’t you just list exactly what tools the PO have available to them to find out what’s...
DW maybe I should have
[we go to the issue of using a branch user number higher than 32 during remote transaction so SPMR would know what was going on - it turned out that SSC at Fujitsu could go in with a branch number of less than 32]
PG you say [injecting transactions] could not be done without the SPMRs knowledge.
PG so you’ve looked at a disputed issue of fact, you’ve accepted the
DW I accept that was wrong. I shouldn’t have said established ws too strong.
PG well - you’ve accepted the PO’s evidence and said you’ve...
DW yes - “establish” was too strong.
PG well you’ve said in your report you don’t give any weighting to evidence from either party. Yet here you did. And it was wrong.
DW I accept that is a mistake
PG you based...
DW in this case I was wrong
PG no this is in issue your approach was wrong. you rejected the claimants evidence and accepted the defendant’s and a) you shouldn’t have
PG have you accepted the claimants’ evidence anywhere in your report?
PG answer the question. on this instance your approach was wrong and your conclusion was wrong. yes?
[we have a break]
[speculation klaxon: PG is going for the **** in **** out approach to DW’s analysis. He’s pointed out one obviously flawed assumption and one obviously flawed conclusion. inference being the maths might be rigourous, but the ...
[well that’s one hour of three days done. let’s see what’s next]
PG raising a point on remote access by Richard Roll who used to work at SSC for Fujitsu and featured in the Panorama. You said it could not be done. You refused to accept Mr Roll’s evidence in your first report.
PG you rejected it on the basis of the defendant’s...
PG then the Post Office accepted Mr Roll’s evidence, and you then said in your second report having spoken to colleagues who confirm it is possible, you accept Mr Roll’s evidence it could be...
PG so you are unquestioningly accepting the defendants’ version of events.
[so we go through the process again to have a closer look at the documents in question.]
PG Dr Worden…
DW well we agreed in the joint statement that Fujitsu could more or less do anything…
PG let’s go back to your approach - Mr Roll’s 2nd statement and Mr Parker’s 2nd statement (Parker was a Horizon expert)
DW two factual points - whether they could do it and whether they could do it without knowledge.
PG and you know this is about the latter point
PG right… let’s take this slowly.
PG the witness statements are saying there is a way that is counter 32 and way that is not and it’s whether or not visible to the SPMR.
DW Mr Roll specifically...
PG let’s go back one last time then I think we’re going to have to move on.
PG I am trying to take you to paragraphs 82 to 85 and we never get past paragraph 82.
DW can I have a look at my supplemental report?
PG of course [possibly through gritted teeth]
PG right. we were looking at the foot of p20, Mr Roll address factual point about injecting transactions…
PG so a factual witness who worked at Fujitsu was saying it was possible without the knowledge of the SPMR and you knew by the date of this report that Mr Parker..
DW no Mr Parker had agreed it could be done, but not without the knowledge of the Subpostmaster.
J intervenes - does your opinion differ from Mr Roll's
DW not necessarily
PG you are reading Mr Roll as saying …
DW I’m not reading him - I’m saying I want to know...
DW I think both experts agree that very little is impossible, but I don’t think it is possible to know whether or not a SPMR knew about a transaction injection
PG even with the evidence of your own eyes?
DW Mr Roll and Mr Parker certainly agree it is possible...
PG so you accept Mr Godeseth’s evidence which supports the Post Office and it is wrong. Yet when Mr Parker gives evidence which supports the claimants and is right you won’t draw a conclusion on it.
DW we don’t know...
PG that’s a bizarre position to take.
DW I disagree.
PG let’s have a look at your second expert report…
“Mr Roll’s evidence doesn’t cause me to alter my conclusion”
PG the one we now agree is both wrong in approach and in conclusion
DW we agree now.
DW not inexplicably. I didn’t have enough information to make the right call
PG but that is strikingly different to your approach with Mr Godeseth where you just accept his evidence unquestioningly
DW what do you mean?
PG did you ask for for more information from the claimants? from Fujitsu? or seek directions from the court, which you’re entitled to do?
DW no - let me explain my understanding...
PG did you understand this entire exchange about someone from Fujitsu turning up at the branch and asking someone to log in?
DW no I didn’t understand the entire paragraph of that so I couldn’t draw a conclusion
DW not beyond this report. it was my feeling it was a difficult area - there levels of depth and complexity in the way H which the experts have not been able to plumb. There’s a way a transaction might have been...
PG even though you concluded in your first report Mr ROll was wrong
DW on the information I had
PG what’s weird is that you concluded he was wrong and then...
DW it’s not weird
PG what threshold of proof were you applying. The claimants and defendants agree and you refuse to come to a conclusion
DW it’s what I can usefully do for the...
PG if you had got to this point without first offering a forceful opinion we wouldn’t be here. But you first offered a strong opinion and then refused to correct it. I want to know why
DW want to be balanced and fair
DW this is fair example of me assessing the evidence in front of me. In my reports I have tried to be fair in my assessments and when it comes to the claimants I have tried to be biased numerically in...
PG so this is an example of you doing your job well, then. You’re happy for the court to see this as a good example of methodology?
DW Only on the phone with Gareth Jenkins, but the Post Office lawyers were on the call too.
PG I don’t want to ask you about the contents of the call if it was legally privileged. But you spoke to Mr Jenkins on the phone.
PG what about during this trial? there were lots of Fujitsu employees here
DW no the Post Office lawyers set ground rules…
PG I don’t want to ask you about that. did you speak to any of them?
Mr de Garr Robinson: I have no objection to discussing...
[PG is exploring what has and hasn’t been told to DW by Fujitsu]
DW well - my approach was top down… architecture… looking at things like KELs
PG and that’s your explanation...
DW I had enough to do
PG and you only looked at KELS
DW not all the time - but they were the most useful to get an overview.
PG can you answer that?
DW I was just trying to get on with the job - I’m not a good witness with blow by blow stuff.
PG don’t worry - let’s move on
J let’s not. given you have asked...
Also he didn’t say “let’s not”...
As I said - everything is a summary or description (ie paraphrase) of what is going on in court. Nothing is a direct quote. And I made that clarification because the original had...
PG what were they
DW if we crossed a line the lawyers would stop us talking
PG did that apply to Fujitsu?
PG when did the ground rules apply
DW for the trial
PG what about your call to Gareth jenkins
DW that was a year ago.
[we move on]
PG is that fair comment
DW 20 years is a long life and that’s what they’re saying
PG and previous attempts...
DW I didn’t really see this document
PG “Fujitsu see this contract as a cash cow”- see that?
DW not at the time - didn’t read that far, but always had the impression were not short of a budget
PG as in - coming from..
PG Horizon software developed in 1996 as part of a DSS project. H was one of the first points of sale. A closed system based on paper process. Calls Horizon “clumsy and operator unfriendly”.
Did you know this was PO’s view of its own system?
PG “however whilst modernising the front end would be relatively simple…” modernising the back end would be extremely difficult. and so they didn’t complete the IBM deal. It is a “closed and inflexible platform”
DW the back end was more complex.
PG “Our back office also struggles with the complication of dealing with each of our many clients. Heavy manual processes… and a lack of flexibility” Poor support contracts, prohibitive cost of change...
DW I picked it up when I looked at the documents cited by mr Coyne
PG did you deal with them in your reports?
DW I didn’t think they were that relevant as they were about the back end IT systems.
DW doesn’t surprise me
DW well, unwieldy
PG so are you rowing back on unreliable
DW well its what they said
DW yes but I got a sense that I shouldn’t go near that.
DW from the PO "I was told it was out of scope and I found some difficulty with that because things like reliability of Horizon depends on all sorts of things”
PG yes but the back office systems are relevant to data integrity, transaction corrections
PG like camelot, bank of ireland, etc
[we go to a document called Horizon Online Induction Training]
13yo tech to satisfy a [redundant idea]
A robust service but complicated to change
Slow and expensive to change
H is a system wrapped up in barbed wire making change costly - test everything!
PG hadn’t seen this document?
[we move on]
PG accept an email that asserts this is correct that there is an H issue?
PG is it fair to accept it might be right on the face of the document
[reads on - Mrs Stubbs was told she needs to prove H is to blame]
DW my general view is that H has been built to be robust against power failures
PG so you wouldn’t expect this outcome
[we move on]
[2001 audit of Mr Alan Bates’ branch]
PG you probably have heard of him - Bates v Post Office
DW I have. he’s here.
PG he is.
PG have you seen that before
PG is that consistent with your assessment of how H works?
PG it was uploaded on 31 May but contains MSC info. Have you seen this
PG do you know why it was uploaded?
DW no, no idea
[PG takes him through how it works]
DW not too tricky, bit clumsy, but I built a java tool to filter the MSC so I could find what I wanted
PG let’s have a look at this specific one… about an SQL insert - PO have requested this issue be resolved..
PG on p2 "POL approval required Y or N?" It says no - "POL aware" and gives same reference
PG so on a fair reading PO request a change and don’t need to be informed of it as they’ve already requested it. yep?
PG so they’ve got two fields of info cross references from the three MSC spreadsheets provided, but they can’t find the third. yep?
[this one appears to show the problem Mr Bates was having in his branch which the auditors wrote about from a Fujitsu perspective]
PG there’s a fix proposed and Post Office approval again is not required… yes?
DW What we don’t have in this upload is the data from the other two spreadsheets, so we need to look in the spreadsheet itself...
DW so this is all theimpact stuff
PG it is all the impact stuff, not in the document provided by Bond Dickinson. So:
users informed: No
do users need to be informed? No
Do you see that?
DW does this refer to the MSC?
PG yes - shall we have a break whilst you look at it
DW have you got a paper copy?
J says we have a break - he is going to ensure counsel has paper copies for DW in future
PG “branches will be forced to declare stock when they don’t want to” causing “spurious discrepancies”
DW can we go back to the MSC?
PG let’s just take it in stages...
DW that’s my puzzlement
PG you see the PEAK refers to the MSC
PG “spurious discrepancies”
DW have you see this document
PG can’t say I’ve seen it before
PG reads the PEAK to say that there is a problem here and the fix hasn’t in certain cases worked. and it will affect at least 36 branch accounts
This is not H working as it should is it?
DW yep probably
PG so Fujitsu is attempting to get a fix in that neither the PO or SPMS will be aware of
PG the q posed it "to what extent is it possible or likely for bugs errors or defects to have the potential to cause apparent or alleged discrepancies or shortfalls”
PG words “to have potential”...
DW well the word potential reflects a lack of knowledge
PG well it’s not the most transparent task to engage in - difficult to plumb - you’ve used the word swamp
DW it’s a big complex system
PG so if something DOES cause a problem is also has the potential...
PG you focused on actual impact rather than potential. and you added in “lasting” and you focused on claimants’ accounts
PG but you saw it said SPMRs branch accounts
DW I thought extent in issue 1 required calibration, so it needed numbers.
PG but the helpline and manual processes of Horizon was not what you looked at
DW as experts we did look a bit at the helpline.
DW wouldn’t be surprised
PG but did you know
PG did you know it was referred to as the hell-line for example
[we go to a forum post by Mr Tanq]
PG Mr Tanq describes £176 discrepancy which he pays up himself because he can’t cope with going through the stress of the "hell-line”. Seen this?
DW no - I did look at 2 weeks worth of helpline logs
PG and that was it?
DW yes… [qualifies]
J just so I’m clear - if a TC takes several months that would be a transient
DW yes, and for that period there would be a discrepancy in the branch.
[we move on]
PG let’s look at a couple of them… one of the assumptions is that all branches whether claimants or non-claimants are affected...
PG it seems implausible to me there is a special factor about claimants branches that makes them more...
PG and you’ve written later that you have SHOWN this to be the case. Do you mean by “shown” you’ve thought about it and cant’ see any reason why not
DW that’s fair
DW i called them of secondary effect
PG did you hear from Mrs van den Bogerd...
DW no i didn’t
PG do you think you’re suffering from that here?
PG no because you rule it out
PG but you do think that claimants branches on the whole are smaller
PG and so you put that in your report assumptions
PG so you come up with the conclusion that the chances of the claimants being correct are absurdly unlikely
PG okay - let’s do a statistical exercise.
[but if all 50 people were invited were called penny black (as they were at a Royal Mail anniversary dinner) - then you have a near 1 in 1 chance of meeting a Penny Black]
PG “The specific knowledge changes the whole ball game” Yes.
Do you know how GLOs work?
PG they are advertised - it is no surprise...
DW I don’t follow this.
PG this is your specific information which you say you don’t have.
DW no I haven’t I am working on the basis of what a bug in Horizon might do not what claimants believe has happened to them
DW it’s a great advantage for the court and expert witnesses.
PG you’re scaling factor concludes that there is a 0.45 chance...
PG asks if he was in court for when AvdB accepted that the figures that were extracted for her in a report were wrong
PG asks if he was told
DW heard about it
PG did it worry you?
PG when the corrected data came through did you use it?
DW I must admit I’m not sure as there were other areas where the precision of my data was more of a concern...
PG well take it from me you used the column with the gaps in it
DW difference is of 4%
PG yes but you used the wrong numbers
DW well it was not important. when you are making an engineering estimate - one is the precision of the result and the other is the precision...
PG did you worry about spurious precision before you decided to ignore the correct figures
DW I decided it was not necessary to worry about those
PG why decide by 561 - number of claimants?
PG even though there is only 496 on the spreadsheet
PG so you knowingly presented to the court the wrong figures
DW it doesn’t matter for statistical purposes
PG let’s go to the heading of session...
PG you’ve decided the number of sessions is the number of transactions, yet we know there are multiple transactions in a session
DW yes about 1.7
PG so you knew this and you scaled it down anyway.
PG none of this is stated in your report
DW it’s not a big uncertainty. the biggest...
PG yes but even on your evidence here you could have doubled your scaling factor.
DW this claimant scaling factor doesn’t really matter - in my report I focus on the biggest areas of uncertainty in my analysis.
DW it’s effect is so small it doesn’t matter.
PG okay - so all these mistakes - you say they’re not, we say they are. all these mistakes are against the claimants.
DW yes, but I do make large assumptions, by a factor of 30% in favour of the claimants.
PG yes you flag that up a lot, but there’s not a mention here...
DW No because these are tiny by comparison.
[we move on]
reads: claimant branches have fewer transactions on average so they have less likelihood of them being hit by a Horizon bug.
PG now we have data of branches which were affected by actual bugs that we know about
DW we do
PG let’s take the Dalmellington bug which affected 88 TINY branches
PG so shouldn’t we look at how they were affected shouldn’t we?
DW It’s the next level of detail down
PG it affects the control variable
DW yes I could have done it
PG why didn’t you? what do you say about why it’s acceptable to leave...
DW because you make an engineering assumption about what is required in a result and I decided it was not relevant.
DW if a bug affects rollover it’s got just as much chance of being affected...
PG back to the column without the gaps being taken. That was a mistake - you looked at the column headings and saw 2007 GAPS and took that column.
DW for the level of precision I need you can take either column.
PG I’m suggesting your evidence...
PG was it a mistake?
DW it didn’t matter which one I took so I didn’t worry about it.
Report to follow. Thanks for reading. This is crowdfunded reporting. If you have enjoyed reading any of this and you haven’t donated before please do go to the above website and...
I’ll get this threaded. We are back in court THURSDAY, not tomorrow. Mr de Garr Robinson has an urgent matter tomorrow which has meant shifting the last two days of cross examination along to Thursday and Friday.