PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday 10 September 8pm
Mission to report the forthcoming High Court trial over the Post Office’s Horizon IT system 200% crowdfunded in nine days
A crowdfunding campaign to cover a forthcoming class action trial between members of the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance and the Post Office at the High Court in London has been 200% funded on kickstarter in nine days. The dispute has its roots in the roll out of the Post Office’s Horizon IT system.
Freelance journalist Nick Wallis raised his £3000 target in four days. The current total at 8pm on Monday 10 September stands at £6001. The crowdfunding window remains open until 15 October.
Nick has been following a campaign by the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance over its members' treatment at the hands of the Post Office for eight years. He has fronted several investigations on the subject for the BBC, covering parliamentary debates, a select committee inquiry and an (ongoing) review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Nick said: “I was the only journalist to attend a pre-trial hearing at the High Court on 26 January 2017. During that hearing, the Post Office admitted something it had told the BBC’s Panorama programme was untrue. Details like this are the reason I feel it is in the public interest to have a journalist in court covering the trial.”
Nick decided a crowdfunding campaign might work.
“I had informal conversations with editors at a number of publications. They agreed it was a great story, but couldn’t commit resources to report proceedings when they didn’t know what was going to come out of the trial. It’s a bit chicken and egg. If there is no one in court reporting what’s going on, nothing will come out of the trial.”
Nick launched his kickstarter campaign https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nickwallis/reporting-the-high-court-post-office-trial late on Friday 31 August. By the evening of Tuesday 3 September it had reached its £3000 target.
“I thought I’d launch quietly over the weekend, test all the links and then start pushing it on the Monday. By the time I’d woken up on Saturday morning, more than a thousand pounds had been pledged. I had fully expected to spend the days leading up to 15 October scrabbling around for cash. I was astonished.”
Nick will report on the trial via a website he set up called www.postofficetrial.com. The reports will be available to everyone, not just his backers.
Nick is considering using the remaining period on kickstarter to raise more funds for further journalistic activity around the story - tracking down court documents, profiling some of the participants in the class action, interviewing key participants and putting in the necessary work before/after the trial and after any rulings.
Nick is available for interview. Contact details:
Notes to editors:
Comprehensive story timeline: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/group-litigation-orders#the-post-office-group-litigation
Formal listing of the class action: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/group-litigation-orders#the-post-office-group-litigation