Wednesday 14 November 2018

Bates v Post Office: Louise Dar's Witness Statement

You can see the pdf on Scribd here, or the embed below. Below that is a searchable version scraped from the pdf, but there will be mistakes in it. In ALL instances, check it against the pdf which is the authoritative statement at ALL times:

Louise Dar Witness Statement, Bates v Post Office Common Issues Trial by Nick Wallis on Scribd

Name of witness: L P Dar
No. of statement: 1st
No. of exhibits: LD1
Date: 10 August 2018

Claim Numbers: HQ16X01238, HQ17X02637 & HQ17X04248







Louise Paterson Dar of will say as follows:

1. I was Subpostmaster of the Lenzie branch, located at 118 Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie,
Glasgow, from 19 November 2014 to 27 March 2017 when Post Office summarily terminated
my appointment.

2. I am currently employed by Teleperformance UK as a customer service advisor, supporting
customer passport applications and progress.

3. I am Claimant number 261 and a Lead Claimant for the purposes of the Common Issues trial,
and make this Witness Statement in relation to the Common Issues as defined in Schedule
1 of the First CMC Order.

4. The matters stated within this Witness Statement are true to the best of my knowledge and
belief. Unless otherwise stated, the facts contained in this witness statement are within my
own knowledge and are true. Where they are not within my own knowledge they are derived
from the sources to which I refer and are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Exhibited to this statement is a paginated bundle of documents marked LD1. References in
this witness statement in the form [LDI/number] are to pages of that exhibit.


5. Between 2006 and 2011 I was employed by Hilton Hotels as an IT support helpdesk analyst.
In this role I logged calls from Hilton staff, investigated and sought to resolve users’ IT issues
and was involved in providing staff training. I developed good IT skills in this role, and was
involved in testing and programming the Hilton Hotels reservation system. The reservations
system which was in use (Fidelio), was in some ways similar to Horizon, but it was a more
advanced system than Horizon, which I came to discover was more basic, older technology.
I expect that because of my IT background, I had greater IT skills than most other

6. In 2011, I was made redundant, and in August 2012 I set up a retail business with my
husband Rehman, the Day Today Express Lenzie. The Day Today Express was a local
convenience store, selling groceries, confectionary and other every day essential items. The
shop was located at 118 Kirkintilloch Road, a few doors away from the Post Office branch at
94 Kirkintilloch Road, which was at the time run by the Subpostmaster Mr Jaspal Singh Toor.

7. In August or September 2012, I learned Mr Toor, intended to resign because of a proposed
change to his contract with Post Office. My husband’s family had known Mr Toor for some
years, he was a quiet man and did not speak about business very often, but he told us that
Post Office was going to change his contract, he felt that this would make the business
unviable for him, and that he thought he had no option but to move on from the branch.

8. Having recently opened the Day Today Express, I was interested in the opportunity to run
the Lenzie Post Office branch. I thought Post Office was a big company with old fashioned
values, which was at the centre of the community. I expected Post Office to be a good
company to work with, and that I would be able to build a good future for my family. Post
Office had a respectable reputation, and throughout the appointment process, Post Office
came across as approachable and supportive. I remember they provided me with glossy
brochures about how they would support and help me and that I could build my future with
them. I thought that running a branch would be a positive challenge, and that it would be
worthwhile. I very much understood this would be a long term commitment, I thought this
would be for good.


Registering my Interest

9. Soon after becoming aware of the position from MrToor, above, in around September 2012.
a Post Office representative Elizabeth Hammerton visited me in my shop. Ms Hammerton
was very friendly, talking about Mr Toor moving on from his branch, and encouraging me to
consider the possibility of taking on the branch within Day to Day Express. I would say she
was upselling this opportunity to me. She said it would be good for the shop and good for
the area. She gave me an information leaflet about the Network Transformation Programme,
I no longer have a copy of this leaflet, but I believe it was a glossy leaflet, smaller than an A4
sheet of paper.

10. Soon after this visit, I registered my interest on the Post Office’s website online, as Ms
Hammerton had advised me to do. I didn’t hear anything back about that application, so in
early November 2012, I telephoned Post Office to check whether they could give me an
update, but was told that there was no record of my registration. I gave all of my information
to the Post Office representative again. I was told that no decisions would be made without
including me in the process and that someone from Post Office would visit to conduct a

11. I didn’t hear anything further until 2013, when I heard that the Lenzie branch would be moving
to another location, on Gallowhill Road. I called Post Office again and was again told that
there was no record that I had registered an interest. The representative on the telephone,
told me that I would need to provide proof of having registered my interest. I did not have any
documents from Post Office to confirm this, so I was unable to produce this evidence. I was
told that the transfer of the branch had already been agreed and there was nothing that could
be done about it.

12. On 17 April 2013, I sent an email addressed to the Post Office Transformation Team,
to explain the efforts I had made to register and the events above, and to make the case for
the Lenzie branch to be relocated into my shop. I also completed a customer feedback form

13. I then received a call from a Post Office representative, Ms Connie Hewitt, who met with me
on 24 April 2013, accompanied by her colleague Shirley Hailstones. Ms Hewitt questioned
me whether I had in fact applied or not, but told me that they would look into it. As I recall
during this visit Ms Hewitt said or indicated that the Day Today Express premises would not
be big enough for a branch anyway.

14. After emailing again on 20 May 2013, I was told by Ms Hewitt that at the end of the
consultation period the following month all feedback would be reviewed and Post Office would make a decision.

15. As I recall the consultation period was in fact extended again, and looking at my email of 22  July 2013 in which I sought confirmation that my application had been received, it is possible that I applied again. I think the reason I referred in that email to the branch operating from the existing branch premises was because of the concerns which Ms Hewitt had expressed to be about the size of the Day Today Express when she had visited the shop. My preference had always been that the branch operate from the shop premises, but I thought that I had to make this change in order for my application to be considered.

16. Post Office responded to say that again there was no record of my application, but after registering again via a link emailed to me, I did finally receive an acknowledgement of my application.

17.1 am confident that I had submitted the earlier applications correctly and believe it was a fault
in Post Office’s systems which led to problems I have explained above.

Discussions with Mr Toor

18.1 spoke a little to Mr Toor over this period, and my husband also had some discussions with
him. I cannot now recall exactly what was said, and Mr Toor is quite a private person, so
these were not lengthy discussions. I recall Mr Toor did explain a bit about his product
breakdown, and which Post Office products and services made good sales, and said that
motor vehicle licensing was important and generated revenue. He said to make sure my
documents were in order (which I later did), he showed me how he stored documents. He
also showed me the rough set up of the branch for example where the safe was.

19.1 didn’t ask Mr Toor for a copy of his contract, I thought this was a document which was
personal to him. The whole point of Mr Toor moving on from the branch was that the Post
Office contract was changing. He also didn’t show me any operations manual or other
documents, and I did not have any access to these types of documents until my own branch

20.1 did not discuss anything with Mr Toor about shortfalls or problems with Horizon, and he
didn’t raise any particular problems or say he had experienced any unexplained shortfalls.

Application Process

21. On 9 August 2013, I received an email from Ms Sharon Bohanna in Post Office’s Agent
Application Team, The email attached a link to an online application form, a link
to download a standard form business plan, and a zip file of additional documents, including
a restrictions policy a guide to assist with preparation of the business plan
a guide how to save the business plan in the correct format, a checklist of supporting evidence for the business plan, glossary of terms, a consent form for criminal record checks to be carried out, a pro form, and an interview preparation guide.

22.1 read these documents. In the interview preparation guide there was reference to a sense of
pride, and a requirement to “Share with us why you want to be part of our Post Office
community, operating a Post Office branch”, which fitted with my expectations about
how it would be working with Post Office.

23.1 completed the online application form, although Post Office has not disclosed a copy of this
and I do not have a copy.

24.1 remember reading the restrictions policy and having questions about whether we would be
able to have lottery through the Post Office and whether there would be restrictions on the
types of envelope we could sell. I believe I raised these with Post Office at this time.

25. The email I was sent from Post Office on 30 August 2013 attaching a fees booklet
and confirming that the branch would retain the motor vehicles licence transactions was I believe prompted by discussions I had had around this time with Post Office, following the discussions I had with Mr Toor, about his product breakdown, as I have explained above.

26. Although I was keen to take on the Post Office branch, I had some reservations about doing
so with the branch in a separate premises rather than the Day Today Express as I had
originally hoped. I was concerned about the finances for a number of reasons, including the
council tax effects of having two properties. I contacted Post Office about this around this
time because I wanted some reassurances from Post Office about my income. I can see from Post Office’s internal emails dated 4 September 2013 that a visit with me was
arranged as a result. I was given an extension of time to complete my business plan as
recorded in those emails.

27. On 18 September 2013, Ms. Bohanna sent me an email attaching a copy of what she described as the latest business plan, I believe this was an updated version of the standard form business plan I had previously been sent a link to.

28. Over this period I was working to complete the standard form business plan. I can see that
on 19 September 2013, Ms Grant sent me an email referring to the business plan I had been emailed the previous day and also saying I had been posted an information pack and “a general draft contract. I do not recalling receiving any documents in the post around this time, and do not believe I received any form of draft contract at this time.

29.1 was under pressure to complete the business plan on time and exchanged some emails
with Ms Grant about extending the time for this who was helpful and supportive and arranged a short extension.

30. On 15 October 2013 I emailed Ms Grant, attaching a business plan and my CV. The business plan was for the branch to operate at 94 Kirkintilloch Road, i.e. the existing branch premises. I used figures from Mr Toor to complete the information about previous accounts on [p69], which I had discussed with my accountant. I explained in my email to Ms Grant that Mr Toor hadn’t given me much information to work with.

31. On 22 October 2013, Ms Hammerton sent me an email attaching a document titled
“Generic Products & Services Available for PO Local ”, which was a list of products that Post Office local branches could sell, and a document titled “Network Transformation Programme” [LD1/79-99] which provided a fees estimate for the branch. I must have already been provided with that information before completing my business plan, because I had used the lower and upper range estimates (£18,700 and £20,800) as my profit projections for years 1 and 2 in my business plan. There was a red highlighted “Note & Warning” on the first page of the document which stressed that the fees were estimates only and that I should not rely on them. Obviously I did in reality have to rely on these figures.
32. I responded to Ms Hammerton on 24 October 2013, attaching a copy of the
business plan that I had submitted, and explaining that somehow Post Office’s website was again recording that I was not registered, and despite being promised a call back I had not received one. I later sent the supporting documents to Post Office special delivery, as I referred to in my email to Ms Grant.

33. On 29 October 2013,1 received an email from Ms. Bohanna requesting further
documents to be sent, including a fuller explanation of the increase in sales I was projecting.
I did as was asked by Ms Bohanna, and I also completed the online application, which
generated automated emails on 29 October 2013 and I responded to Ms Bohanna by email on 1 November 2013 to confirm that I had provided all the information requested, and attached to that email a word document which provided additional detail about my profit projections. I also attached an updated business plan, which made some amendments, including to record that I would be receiving £1,000 as a family gift.

34. This prompted an email from Ms Bohanna on 5 November 2013 to say I needed
to provide evidence of the £1,000 gift, which she said would need to be both a letter from my
father in law “giving the amount and terms of the loan” and his bank statement showing that
he has the funds in place within 7 days. I thought these were unreasonable requests and it
was not easy for me to provide this information because my father in law lives in Pakistan.
In the end, after a phone call to Ms Hammerton, I sent an email to Ms Bohanna on 11
November 2013 [LD1/122], attaching a further revised business plan [LD1/123-131], in {E5/61/1-9}
which I removed the reference to the £1,000 entirely.

35. On 14 November I received an automated email which stated that my application had been
forwarded for financial assessment and that “The analyst will complete a report and decide
on the outcome of this stage of the application”. I did not see any report at the time, and Post
Office have not disclosed a copy of this report to me.


36. On 18 November 2013 Ms Bohanna sent me an email [LD1/132], giving me a provisional
interview date of 6 December 2013. Her email said that she had attached a guide to help
with preparation of my presentation, but there was no attachment. I think I may have
contacted her about this, because on 19 November she sent me a further email subject
“Presentation Sheet ’ [LD1/133] , which did have an attachment [LD1/134-136], but in fact this was a guide to assist with presentation of the business plan, which of course I had already

37. On 19 November 2013 I received by email [LD1/137] what seemed to be an automatically
generated invitation to interview, attaching an information checklist. This email said that my
interview would be recorded. I was told to be familiar with my business plan and to bring
along hard copies of my presentation.

38. My interview was with Brian Trotter, Agents Contracts Advisor. It was rescheduled to 9 December 2013 [LD1/138], for reasons I cannot now recall. I was 8 V2 months pregnant at this time, so it is possible that it was related to this.

39. During the interview I gave my prepared presentation and we discussed the business plan.

40. Following my presentation, Mr Trotter told me that he didn’t think the plan would be financially
viable, and he doubted the likely success of the products I was proposing to sell. At the time,
I thought that Mr Trotter had come to this decision based on my presentation. However, I can
see from later internal emails now disclosed by Post Office (email from Mr Trotter to Ms Marshall, dated 15 January 2014, that it seems the reason Mr Trotter rejected my application was on the basis of the financial information in the business plan. The information in that email was not shared with me by Mr Trotter.

41. During the interview Mr Trotter encouraged me to reapply for the branch, but to operate it
from the Day Today Express premises. This was frustrating as it is what I had wanted to do all along, but had been told it would not be possible. I explained this to Mr Trotter who said he would look into it.

42.1 expressed some reservations to Mr Trotter during the interview about taking on the
responsibility of a Post Office branch but Mr Trotter reassured me that the quality of the
training and support would be very good. He gave me the impression that we would be
working as partners together, and that there would be a good and supportive relationship.

43. Mr Trotter did not provide me with detailed information about Post Office or how it ran its
business. He did say that losses needed to be made good immediately, but I expected these to be minor amounts (pennies or very low value) and that it would be possible to work out where the loss had arisen. At Hilton Hotels, for example, if the wrong payment had been made, it was possible to trace this, and work out where the problem had come from. I did not know at the time that Post Office’s Horizon system was a much older and more basic system than the system at Hilton Hotels. I expected Post Office to have a fully functioning and modern system given the number of financial transactions to be processed. Mr Trotter certainly didn’t tell me that I would be responsible for apparent shortfalls of hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Scoping Visit and Re-submitted Business Plan

44. On 6 January 2014 there was a scoping visit carried out by Ms Hammerton at our shop
premises, the Day Today Express. This visit is referred to in Post Office’s letter to me dated
13 January 2014, Post Office identified works that they would require me to carry out in order for the branch to be located in the shop. The Scoping Report which was enclosed wasn’t very easy to read, but there was a list of actions to be undertaken at my cost as follows: new secure door, old retail desk to be removed, all existing shelving and stock to be removed to fit new desk, new ramp required at front entrance, and a new counter gate to be installed. There were some other actions and requirements dotted through the report. The report recorded that 60% of retail space would be lost using Post Office’s required layout. I would clarify that this must mean 60% of floor space rather than retail space (as this would include shelving on walls).

45. The letter enclosed a plan, but I do not think I was sent the scoping report
photographs. These have been disclosed by Post Office and show the shop premises and
{E5/121/1 -5} layout at this time [LD1/171-175],
{E5/81/1} 46. On 24 January 2014, I sent an email to Mr. Trotter [LD1/176] which attached a revised
{E5/80/1 10} business plan [LD1/177-186], on the basis of the branch being operated from the Day Today
Express at 118 Kirkintilloch Road.
{E5/83/1} 47. On 31 January 2014, Mr Trotter emailed me [LD1/187] to say that my business plan looked
stronger financially but there were some areas to discuss before he submitted it to Post
Office’s finance team. We spoke by phone about some of parts of the plan, and then on 3
{E5/85/1-2} February 2014 Mr Trotter sent me an email [LD1/188-189] with a version of my business
{E5/84/1 -10} Plan which he had revised [LD1/190-199], I found Mr Trotter to be helpful and supportive at
this time.

I made some further minor changes to the business plan and then submitted it to Ms
Bohanna, by email the next day, on 4 February 2014 [LD1/200, LD1/201-210], It seems
from Post Office’s internal emails that there was a lack of communication within Post Office
about events relating to my application, because Ms Bohanna’s 10 February email to Mr
Trotter states that she did not know I would be reapplying [LD1/211-212].
On 18 February 2014 I was resent a set of application documents again, in a standard form
email telling me to complete an application form and business plan [LD1/213-214]. I did find
it frustrating and wasteful of my time to require me to go through this process again.
At this time I sent documents to Post Office, which were returned to me, so I had to send
them back special delivery (as referred to in an internal Post Office email from Ms Clarke to
Mr Trotter on 18 March 2014 [LD1/215-217]).
I again completed an application form [LD1/218-223], An email from Ms Clarke on 26 March
2014 [LD1/224] asked for evidence of the lease for the premises, and said I would need to
obtain new basic disclosure certificates. My husband and I completed new consent forms
for these checks [LD1/225], [LD1/226], I had already sent the lease [LD1/227-257] twice^E5/15/1 31^
already, but I did send it again recorded delivery, as referred to in my email dated 28 March
2014 [LD1/258-260],
On 8 April 2014, Ms Clarke sent me an email [LD1/261], attaching various documents to
prepare for an interview with Mr Trotter on 16 April 2014. No interview in fact took place on
this date.
On 11 April 2014 [LD1/262-263], Ms Clarke sent me an email stating that “Your application
has now been assessed by a financial analyst' but that in order for them to complete the
assessment I would need to send further documents. I was not pleased about the way in
which my application was being handled by Post Office, and started to become concerned
that perhaps Post Office were intending to move the branch to a new location (this is referred
to in an internal Post Office email from Ms Grant dated 11 April 2014 [LD1/264-265]). I did
however send the documents that were requested, recorded delivery, as referred to in my
email of 1 May 2014 [LD1/266-267],
I can see from a Post Office internal email to Mr Trotter dated 13 May 2014 [LD1/268] that
my business plan was assessed by a finance analyst, and was marked as a “pass” but “high
risK'. I was not at the time shown the assessment, and was only told by Ms Clarke that it had
{E5/123/1 -2} passed (email on 20 May 2014 [LD1/269-270]).

Meeting with Mr Trotter

55.1 met with Mr Trotter on 4 June 2014 (noting this date in Mr Trotter’s internal Post Office email
dated 3 June 2014). I would not describe this as an interview, and I do not think Post Office
classed it as an interview at the time.

56. It was quite a relaxed discussion, and Mr Trotter was helpful and friendly. At that meeting,
Mr Trotter told me that my application would be successful, and talked to me about the
training that would be available. He said I would receive training on all aspects of Horizon
system, and emphasised that training would be thorough and that it was classroom training,
not online training.

57. Mr Trotter also emphasised that there was a helpline available, and that I could rely on it. He
said words to the effect that they are on hand, at the end of the phone, at any time you
require. He was reassuring me about the support that would be provided.

58. Mr Trotter said that I would receive a contract and mentioned the possibility of obtaining legal
advice, but he very much conveyed to me that this wasn’t necessary and that I could trust his
word. He indicated that there was nothing too detailed or complex in there. I trusted Mr
Trotter, as he had been very helpful to me throughout the process. I told him that I would get
my dad to read over the contract when I received it, which is in fact what I later did.
59. Very soon after meeting with Mr Trotter on 4 June 2014, I received Post Office’s letter dated
4 June 2014, which confirmed my success at interview. As above, I would not describe my meeting with Mr Trotter as an interview, and I think it is likely this was a standard form Post Office letter. The letter set out the training that I would receive.

60.1 then received a call from Ms Grant on 5 June about VAT registration. As set out in her
email sent dated 5 June, Ms Grant encouraged me to operate as an individual and not a company, because progressing as a company would delay my application. I agreed to progress my application as an individual.

I received a contract and some other documents from Post Office in June. Looking at an
internal Post Office email dated 17 June 2014 [LD1/275-276], it seems likely I received this
on 18 or 19 June. I can see from Post Office’s internal email chain [p276] that they suggest
that I did not receive the first copy they sent to my old address because I had not told them
about my change of address, but this is not correct. I remember that when I moved house, I
called the Network Transformation team by calling the contact number for them, to give them
my new address. I was told that they had made a record of this, but they asked me to write
a letter to confirm this in writing. I recall that I handwrote this letter at my kitchen table and
posted it to the Network Transformation team of Post Office.

To the best of my recollection now, some of the documents I received were contained in a
red wrap-around folder with the title “Modernising your Post Office branch - The Contract'
marked on the outside. I also received a bound set of documents which had
printed on the front “Post Office Network Transformation Programme Contractual Documents
Pack”, This bound set of documents had sticky tabs in places I was required to sign.
Looking carefully at the documents in the bound set of documents, I can
describe them as follows:

a. A page titled “Table of Contents”. This was in fact two lists of items. The first list seems to be guidance for Post Office about what to include in the bound set of documents, rather than a list which for me of what was actually included. For example it had a number of items listed “where applicable", which were not included in my bound set. The second list is a list for documents in the red wraparound folder. Again this isn’t very clear, for example the first entry is just “duplicate documents” and again there are items listed “where applicable”.
b. A 25 document headed “Off Site Local Post Office Agreement”, with sections of appendices as follows:
i. “Preface Part A ”
ii. “Part B Consultation Condition Precedent ”

iv. A signature page

v. “Appendix 1 Works at Branch Premises and Plan” [p290-301], which I think is a copy of the scoping report I have referred to above (at paragraph 44), and was not written in language I would expect in a contract.
vi. “Appendix 2 Equipment”, with crosses in different columns for who orders and
pays for equipment and who maintains it.
vii. “Appendix 3 Conditions of Appointment”
c. A 45 page document headed “Post Office Limited Standard Conditions for the
Operation of a Local Post Office Branch (Off Site, Post Office Limited Cash)”. I
understand this is what Post Office would describe as the standard Network
Transformation Contract (“NTC”)
d. A form to complete my bank details for payment of fees.

64. It was not clear to me which of these documents were standard form documents and which
were specific to me. I previously did not recall if I received a copy of the standard conditions
that Post Office describe as the NTC, but looking again at the bound documents and
understanding what it is that Post Office say is the NTC (as above), I think this was included
in the bound set of documents. What these documents were and how they related was very
unclear to me at the time, and I am still not very clear about it now.

65. Inside the red folder, there was a document headed “PACK", which began with a list of documents said to be included in the folder. I am less certain exactly what was included in this folder, but I believe it included copies of some of the documents which were in the bound set of documents I have referred to above. I believe the bound documents I have referred to above may also have been included in this red folder.

66.1 do not believe this folder included a copy of the Operations Manual, although this appears
to be listed on the page headed “PACK’ (“Manual - 1 copy”). I do not believe I had a copy of
this until branch set up and opening. I note that the list of contents for the red folder which is
included in the bound set of documents does not indicate that a copy of any manual would be provided to me at this time.

67. The document headed “PACK’ then had a list of instructions, the first of which was for all the
signed documents to be returned to Post Office by 26 June 2014. This was less thana week after I received them. I think I must have obtained a short extension to this period because I in fact sent the documents to Post Office on 2 July 2014, as I explain below.

68.1 can see that the instructions suggested I obtain legal advice, and I understand that Post
Office rely on this, but Mr Trotter had played down the need for this in my discussion with him
as I have described above (paragraph 58), and I had told Mr Trotter that I would get my dad
to read over the contract when I received it, which is what I did.

69.1 did my best to understand the documents I was sent and talked through them with my dad,
but neither of us have any legal experience. Post Office did not draw my attention to any
particular provisions of these long documents, and whereas I did think the documents were
confusing, and did not fully understand them, I relied on what Mr Trotter had said about them
and my trust in Post Office overall.

70.1 did not have any opportunity to negotiate the terms of these documents and I understood
that I had to return them without any changes, which is what I did.

71. On 2 July 2014, I returned the documents I was required to sign to Ms Grant at Post Office
by recorded delivery, and sent an email to Ms Grant to the next day to confirm.

72. Post Office then sent me a letter dated 16 July 2014, which was headed “SIGNED
AGREEMENT". This included a version of the bound set of documents, now showing on the signature page that the agreement had been signed by me on 2 July 2014, and Post Office on 15 July 2014.

Shop Works prior to Branch Opening

73. There was a lot of work to do to get the shop ready to open. Some of this work I paid directly
myself, but a lot of the work which Post Office paid for still had to be organised by me, and
required a lot of work obtaining quotes and making arrangements. I had many meetings with
third parties and contractors, to ensure that the requirements of the Post Office were met.

In relation to the ramp for the front entrance, on 11 June 2014 I met with the council to discuss
this, which I emailed Ms Grant about on 11 June 2014, Ultimately the Council would not permit me to install a permanent access ramp, so I agreed with Post Office that I would provide a temporary ramp. Post Office also required me to install a bell for assistance and grab rail, as recorded in Post Office’s internal email on 10 September 2014 I did install a grab rail, but Post Office later decided there was no need for a bell as the counter was right next to the door.

Post Office required me to obtain an asbestos report for the branch, requested by Ms Grant’s
email to me on 4 July 2014, Post Office in fact arranged for this survey to be carried out, but the report was sent directly to me on 21 July 2014 and I emailed Wendy Grant the same day to let her know that I had received it.

Post Office scheduled a meeting, referred to by Post Office as an ISM, on 11 September
2014. Charlie Green, Post Office’s project manager sent me an email on 13 September 2014, attaching notes from the meeting, a letter, lists of approved suppliers and a number of other documents. I believe the text of the letter was supposed to have been copied into a Post Office template, but this had not been done which I did not think was very professional. The notes recorded the works which Post Office required and a timetable for different parts of the works to be carried out
I obtained quotes for the necessary works. It was particularly difficult to get a suitable quote for the secure door, as can be seen from my various emails in October 2014.

I also made enquiries and obtained quotes for joinery works relating to the shop counter and
other works as referred to in my various emails with contractors in September and October |
2014. In addition to obtaining quotations for these works, I was also taking time to meet with contractors and oversee some of the works. For some of the works which {E5/170/1}
were to be funded by Post Office I was still required to pay the contractor directly myself and {E5/178/1 -2
then ask Post Office to reimburse me (see my letter dated 20 November 2014 [LD1/424]). }
In November 2014 Post Office installed Horizon and provided a horizon terminal and also a
pay station at the branch. Around this time Post Office also installed a safe, the Post Office
counter itself, and a security screen.
On 12 November 2014, Post Office issued a Completion Certificate, which myself and Mr
Green each signed [LD1/425-430], The “supporting compulsory photographs” [p428-429],
show how the shop looked from the outside and inside, including signs for Post Office and
pay station, Post Office window stickers, and the new Post Office counter. There were some
minor works still required of me at this stage prior to branch opening [p430].
{E5/190/1 -34}
Classroom Training
Classroom training prior to branch opening took place between 12 -15 November 2014, in a
training centre at the Springburn Crown Office branch.
The information I had received from Post Office about the training in advance, was the 4 June
2014 letter ([LD1/271-272] referred to above), an email on 24 September 2014 [LD1/431-
432], which included the course content for the 3 days of classroom training, as well as some
information about the plans for in branch training. I had requested in my meeting with Mr
Trotter that my husband Rehman also attend this training, and this was finally confirmed
when we received an email on 7 November addressed to him, also identifying the classroom
course content [LD1/433-435],
These emails referred to three training workbooks, which my husband noticed had not been
sent to us, so he requested copies of these [LD1/436-437], and ultimately we did obtain them
prior to the course beginning. I think a representative of Post Office brought them into the
shop for us. The workbooks were about compliance training [LD1/438-471], and dangerous
goods [LD1/472-492] and [LD1/493-520], 1 ;
I would say that the classroom training was quite basic and at 3 days only, it was quite short.
There were 5 or 6 of us on the course, some from local and some from main branches, and
the course covered content for products which would not be offered in our branch, for
example, travel insurance, special stamp books and cashing different types of cheque. We
spent time completing training sheets and role playing transactions with a training terminal,
printer and card reader.
As I recall, the course content did follow the content in the emails which had been sent to
Rehman and me, which was [p433]: Introduction & Health and Safety; Take Over Stock &
Datestamp; Postage, etc.; Royal Mail Inland Services; Automated Products & Reversals;
Security (including Open Plan Working); Regulatory Compliance; E Top Ups & Phonecards;
DWP Cash Cheques; Stock Balancing; Performance Standards Assessment; Introduction to
Horizon; Postal Orders; Cash Management; Banking; Royal Mail International Services;
Customer Service; Post Office Card Account and Redirection of Mail.
85. During the training I asked the trainer what we should do if we had problems with balancing
and the trainer said that we should check over the figures and if in doubt, call the helpline. I
asked about troubleshooting and was told that this would be covered during the onsite
86.1 did not find the classroom training to be adequate at all. Given my background as an IT
analyst at Hilton Hotels, I was very aware of the amount of training required to equip users
with the necessary knowledge to enable them to use a complex IT system such as Horizon
and the many complex tasks which a user may need to carry out. In my opinion, the training
should have been far more thorough.
Branch Set Up and Induction Training
87. Set up of the branch took place on 17-18 November 2017. The Post Office auditor present
was Ms Margaret Guthrie. It was her job to set up the branch and to provide induction
training and ongoing support during my first days of operation.
88. On the first day of set up, Ms Guthrie experienced problems logging in to Horizon, and it took
her around 2 hours to even get in to the system.
89. In the weeks leading up to the branch opening, Post Office had delivered various labels,
forms, and other items necessary to set up the counter. There were also deliveries of cash,
stamps and stock which arrived on the first day of set up.
90. It was Ms Guthrie’s job to enter the cash, stamps and stock which had been delivered onto
Horizon, but she made mistakes when she was doing this, so that even before we had even
opened we had an apparent shortfall of £977. I explain this further below.
91. During this period prior to branch opening, Ms Guthrie provided some induction training to
me, my husband Rehman, and our assistant Ms Jasbir Sohi but I do not think this followed
the course content which had been emailed in advance [p433], Ms Guthrie was trying to fix
the problems which I have referred to above.
92. Ms Guthrie taught me how to count and sort cash and stock. She also gave me some
paperwork in a grey folder, which I believe contained the “Horizon Online Cash Declarations
- Top Tips Guide” [LD1/521 -522], This document says that cash declarations must be made
before 19:00 hrs, but Ms Guthrie told me that it didn’t matter what time the declaration was
made, so long as it was made every day.
93. Ms Guthrie did tell me that I would have to make good shortfalls showing on Horizon, and
said I would be lucky if I was only £20 to £30 down when balancing. I was concerned about
this, and specifically asked Ms Guthrie what do if the system wasn’t balancing, but she just
said to call the Helpline and that they would resolve any problems I told Ms Guthrie that I
wasn’t comfortable opening the branch without any troubleshooting training and I asked if
any could be provided, but she didn’t offer me anything more, she told me that I would just
have to get on with it and call the Helpline if I had problems. This is not what I expected, and
it meant that I was left entirely reliant on the Helpline if I had problems.
Branch Opening
94. The branch opened for the first time on the afternoon of 19 November 2014. I believe the
opening time was pushed back from 1 to 2pm because we were not quite ready for 1pm.
There was a lot happening on that day.
95. It was during that day that Ms Guthrie gave me a document headed “Acknowledgement of
Appointment’ [LD1/523], We were standing behind the counter at this time, and Ms Guthrie
said that I needed to sign it in order to take control and for the branch to be signed over to
me. Ms Guthrie didn’t explain the document to me, or what any of the terms ‘my agreement’,
the ‘book of rules’ or ‘postal instructions’, were intended to mean. It was not and is not clear
to me what these terms mean, or which documents they include. I didn’t think that I had a
choice whether to sign this document, all the works had been completed and the branch was
due to open that day. I didn’t have any time to consider the document and didn’t understand
that it was something which I might want to consider with a lawyer.
96. Ms Guthrie gave me a copy of the Operations Manual and told me to read it at my leisure. I
understand now that Post Office says that the Operations Manual formed part of my contract,
but this is not something that I understood prior to or during my appointment.
97.1 was also required to sign a number of further documents on that day. These included a
{E5/201/1-2} form called ‘PI 3’ [LD1/524-525] and other documents which I cannot not recall, but I do
remember being asked to sign various items of paperwork on that day. These documents
were not explained to me by Ms Guthrie and were presented to me at around the same time
as the Acknowledgement of Appointment I have referred to above.
On Site Support
98. After branch opening Ms Guthrie stayed on site for 6 or 7 days. She was shadowing me, and
intervening in customer transactions. I often didn’t find her interventions helpful, and she was
sometimes rude to customers. She seemed overwhelmed by the fact that the shop was busy
at particular times of the day, but a main reason for opening the branch in the shop was that
it had existing customers.
99. The Performance Standards Assessment prepared by Ms Guthrie for me on 27 November
{E5/203/1-3} 2014 [LD1/526-528] gives the impression that I was not committed the branch, which I
entirely disagree with. This was always going to be a busy branch, and it was Ms Guthrie
who was not comfortable with that. I had taken on an experienced Post Office assistant, Ms
Sohi, who Ms Guthrie encouraged me to rely on for her experience. I also made sure to read
up on Post Office instructions and guidance available to me when the shop was less busy.
100. Although the letter I had been sent on 4 June 2014 and email I had been sent on 24
September ([p271] and [p431] above) said that Ms Guthrie would support me with my first
balance day, which was 3 December 2014, in fact she was not present that day. Ms Guthrie
attended the Thursday before, on 27 November 2014 and prepared for rollover on that day,
but that was not the same process and this did not assist me with my balancing.
101. Also, although Ms Guthrie said she would come back after opening to give me more
training or support she did not. In fact, the first time Ms Guthrie came back was on 15 July
2015 to carry out an audit, as I explain below.
Expectations and Reliance on Post Office
102. My expectations prior to being appointed were that I would be reliant on Post Office and
that I would be like an employee in many ways. I remember that Ms Hammerton would refer
to my “payslips” which was consistent with this. I understand Post Office now describe me
and Post Office as separate businesses, but this is not how it felt at the time during the
appointment process or how I understood it would be in practice. I thought we would be
working in collaboration together.
{E5/93/1 -2}
103. I didn’t really understand the contractual position, either the documents which I was sent
and signed on 2 July 2014, or the acknowledgement of appointment on 19 November 2014.
I had understood from Mr Trotter that legal advice wasn’t really necessary and there was
nothing too complex or concerning in the contracts. I don’t fully understand now all of the
documents which Post Office say have contractual effect, or how I was supposed to know
how Post Office would operate the contract in practice. I understand that in Post Office’s
Defence (at paragraph 21(d)) it is said that some contractual documents were available on
request and/or online, and that not all of the types of document were relevant to my branch,
but this does not help me to understand what exactly are the documents Post Office say
make up my contract.
104. I think it is obvious that I had to rely on Post Office for all training, assistance and support.
I had no other way to obtain relevant training, and I was repeatedly told that if I had any
problems I should call the Helpline. The main way in which my expectations differed from
reality was the quality of training assistance and support I received, which I explain further
Horizon and Helpline as Services
105. I understood that Horizon and the Helpline were both in Post Office’s control, were
provided by Post Office to me, and I was supposed to rely on them. I was repeatedly told
that I should rely on the Helpline and it was there to assist me. I understood that Horizon
was a system which was supposed to make the business of running a branch easier, and
expected that if a big company like Post Office provided it in all of its branches, it must be
106. I understand there is a legal issue as to whether Horizon and the Helpline were “services"
provided to me, and I therefore also mention that in the restrictions policy [LD1/11-14] which
I was provided with by email on 9 August 2013 [LD1/9-10] and 18 February 2012 [LD1/213-
214], it states as follows:
“Operators benefit from being part of the Post Office® network. In addition to
payments which Subpostmasters receive from Post Office Ltd, Post Office Ltd
invests in advertising that brings customers into Post Office® branches, it ensures
that Post Office® products meet regulatory requirements and it provides customer
and business services such as helplines to support Subpostmasters/Operators.”
How Post Office Ran its Business
107. I have been shown paragraph 11 of Post Office’s Defence in my case, where Post Office
suggests it is to be inferred that I would have obtained information about the way in which
Post Office ran its business and about the business relationship it had with its
Subpostmasters before my appointment. The information I obtained from Mr Toor was very
limited, and the extent of this is set out above. Before my appointment, I was not aware of
the manner in which Post Office ran its business and dealt with its Subpostmasters. I have
set out above what my expectations were in respect of working with Post Office, which was
based on my general impression of Post Office and from my discussions with Post Office. I
was not aware of the limitations in training and support (including the way in which Post Office
operated the Helpline) and I would say that how this was delivered or provided was entirely
at odds with what I knew and expected prior to contracting. Prior to appointment, I did not
know about the way in which Horizon operated in practice, Post Office’s approach to
shortfalls, audits and investigation, or its approach to suspension and termination.
Training, Support and the Helpline
108. I have explained above why I do not think the classroom training or initial onsite training
or support was adequate. It was much less thorough than I had expected, both based on my
discussions about this with Mr Trotter at interview, and generally from my experience at Hilton
Hotels and City Hotels, which gave me experience about what was required in order to
operate a system like Horizon.
109. My expectation that I would receive more detailed training prior to opening was also
consistent with what was later said to me by Mr Fraser (a Post Office auditor) who asked me
why I had only received 3 days training, and not the full 5 days training. I later learned from
Ms Guthrie that the standard Post Office training provided had changed to save costs and
the 5 day training was no longer available. From the way Mr Trotter spoke to me at interview,
I think he was also expecting better and more thorough training than I in fact received.
110. In terms of branch opening and in branch training, I did not expect to immediately have
a problem in my branch accounts, but an error was introduced by the Post Office’s own
auditor Ms Guthrie, as I have mentioned above. As I later recorded in my email to Mr Trotter
on 12 February 2015 [LD1/529-532], it appears that the apparent shortfall first appeared at
the time of the first roll over to the next trading period, Ms Guthrie tried and failed to resolve
it, then left me with the problem in my accounts. After a period this appeared to go away,
and I was told by the Helpline it had been resolved, only to then be billed the amount months
later, in February 2015.
111. At the time in November 2014, Ms Guthrie did not know what had caused this problem.
At one point she suggested that I might have taken the money, which I was very shocked by
and was in any event ridiculous because she had been with me all day. She then said it was
likely caused by the power cut we had experienced. Ms Guthrie wasn’t able to find out that
it was her mistake that had caused the problem. She said things like it was “the system”
which was the problem.
112. I was very unhappy and concerned about these events, and I raised with Mr Trotter why
Ms Guthrie had been allowed to leave with my branch accounts still showing a shortfall. I
didn’t think she should be allowed to be an auditor when she had such limited knowledge of
how to deal with shortfalls, and I told him this. Mr Trotter said to me that Post Office was
looking whether the problem was related to the power outage and the matter would be
escalated to Fujitsu because it was their system. Ultimately this problem was resolved by
Post Office issuing transaction corrections, which is referred to in my email to Andrew Winn
{E5/209} on 4 March 2014 [LD1/533-534], I note now that Post Office chose not to send me the more
complete information about the errors which had been identified, in their internal emails
{E5/208/1-4} ([p529-532], following my 12 February email above).
113. Prior to contracting I expected there to be some sort of ongoing training or at least a
helpful response when I specifically asked for further training, but this was not the case. The
only training I received after opening was online compliance training in the form of multiple
choice questions. Post Office required me to retain the print out confirmations of this training
{E5/203.1/1 -9} for me ancj my assjstants, which I did [LD1/535-543].
{E5/206/1} 114. On 1 December 2014, my area manager, Jamie Haugh sent me an email [LD1/544]
{E5/206/1-2} attaching some information titled “How to complete Stock & Office Balance” [LD1/545-546],
He sent me this because when he visited my branch shortly before the beginning of
December 2014, I asked him if he knew why my balancing had never been correct to the
penny. He told me that so far as he understood, there was no reason why it should not be
correct. He said that he would look into this for me. He mentioned that he knew of another
Subpostmistress who had some helpful tips. He said he would look into this and follow up
with me. I am not sure whether the document he sent to me was from another
Subpostmistress but I did not find the document particularly helpful and I continued to have
difficulties balancing
115. I felt very disappointed with the training I had received overall and I raised this on a
number of occasions with Mr Haugh. My disappointment is recorded in Mr Haugh’s email to
me sent on 6 March 2015 [LD1/547], As I recall I did follow up with the contact provided
(Ms Hassam), but I did not hear anything further. I was not offered any further training at any
116. As to the Helpline, my expectations prior to being appointed were that the Helpline would
be extremely helpful and able to resolve any problem I encountered, because I had
repeatedly been told to rely on the Helpline and given the impression that it was an excellent
source of support. I was shocked to find out that in practice the support from the Helpline
was much more limited. From what I now understand about the Helpline, I think the limitations
of it are general limitations, and not specific to my case, so when I was being told to rely on
the Helpline in fact it was never going to be as good as I was being led to believe.
117. I frequently asked for support from the Helpline, I would estimate 2-3 times per month,
and often this was in relation to problems with apparent shortfalls or balancing. Contrary to
what I had expected, the advice I received was generally not very helpful at all. The Helpline
advisors didn’t help me with information about specific transactions or information, and just
gave very general advice. Most of the time, the Helpline would just tell me to do a re-count
and if there was still a shortfall, they just told me that I would have to make it good. Throughout
the time I was calling the helpline I generally was given the impression that I was the only
person having these kind of problems with balancing. They would seem surprised when I
described the problems and they never gave any indication that similar issues were occurring
in other branches.
118. I was one time told how to “get around” Horizon by altering stock figures to balance,
which was obviously not helping me to find the specific problem, and was just covering it up.
They told me they ‘shouldn’t be doing this’ but that this was the only way around the problem
I had. This felt wrong and it was concerning to me that there were little ’work arounds’ to
dealing with the Horizon system, this really suggested that there was some kind of fault in
the system.
119. At times the advice I was given by the Helpline was not in line with the advice that I was
given by Post Office representatives. For example, Ms Guthrie had told me that in order to
deal with discrepancies I should use the ‘variance’ button, but the Helpline told me not to do
120. I believe that Post Office had access to many more sources of information about
transactions than I did, but the Helpline advisors did not share this with me, and they would
say that they “could not see the system’’.
121. Post Office has disclosed helpline records relating to my branch which cover the period
{E5/198/1 -3} 19 November 2014 to 9 March 2017 [LD1/548-560], I don’t know if this log in fact records
all of the times I contacted the Helpline and the notes are very brief. The log doesn’t show
the calls which Margaret Guthrie made to the Helpline during branch set up which I have
referred to above. I note that the log does show that Post Office treated as a “resolution”
advice to do a recount or run a report, whether or not this actually resolved the problem for
me. See for example the entry on 30 November 2014, which records “#389 LOSS
of this entry, it is possible I made this call because of the problem introduced by Ms Guthrie
during branch opening, but I cannot be sure. The “resolution” which is recorded was simply
“ADVISED TO TRY A BALANCE REPORT’’. There is no record whether this in fact resolved
the problem for me.
122. As part of my previous employment with Hilton Hotels, I had always been told and worked
on the basis that unless an issue was satisfactorily resolved, we could not close the enquiry.
Prior to being appointed, I expected the same standard of service from the Helpline, but from
my experience this was clearly not Post Office’s approach to resolving problems raised by
123. I understand that Post Office says it was my role to train assistants, but this was not
explained to me at the time, and was not realistic in practice, when the training I had received
was so limited.
124. Post Office didn’t offer me any support or guidance about training my assistants, other
than requiring them to undertake the compliance tests I have referred to above.
125. Post Office had encouraged me to rely on my experienced assistant Ms Sohi, who had
previously been employed by Mr Toor, when taking on the branch (this is referred to in Ms
Guthrie’s performance assessment of me, referred to above, at [p528]).
126. Later, Post Office also encouraged me to dismiss Ms Sohi, after the 15 July 2015 audit
which I refer to below. Post Office told me that there had been deliberate falsification and
{E5/223/1-2} inflation of accounts the night before the audit using Ms Soho’s user id, [LD1/561-562] and
gave me further guidance about conducting a disciplinary meeting with her (as referred to in
{E5/224/1-2} my notes for the meeting [LD1/563-564]). I understood that if I didn’t dismiss Ms Sohi Post
Office would not let me reopen the branch.
127. More generally, I understood that Post Office controlled the process of employing
assistants, by requiring assistants to be registered with them, and being able to refuse any
assistants I wanted to employ if they did not agree.
128. I did not expect to be encountering apparent shortfalls and not be able to identify and
resolve the problem, either on my own or with Post Office’s help. In fact I had apparent
shortfalls on a regular basis. I was generally unable to find the cause of the problem using
Horizon and I had to rely on Post Office to help me. In fact Post Office gave me very little
help, and I didn’t have access to the same information I believe Post Office had access to.
129. I have described above the initial problem caused by Ms Guthrie during branch set up
and the fact that Ms Guthrie couldn’t find the problem using Horizon. I was completely reliant
on Post Office to sort this issue out, which thankfully they finally did. I expected there to be
an easier way to use Horizon to identify the cause of the problem and how to resolve it
130. I think this experience during branch set up is highly relevant to how easy it was for an
error to be entered into Horizon. I also think it shows how difficult it was for Subpostmasters
in practice to find out the cause of an apparent shortfall showing on Horizon, when Ms
Guthrie, an experienced auditor, was unable to do this. The emails above also show that
Post Office did not provide complete information to me even when it was available to them.
131. I encountered further problems with Horizon during my period as Subpostmaster,
including in June 2015, when Post Office issued a transaction correction for £2,660, which
related to a delivery of coins. I did not agree with the transaction correction or the basis for
it, but I was told by Post Office that I had to accept it in order to roll into the next balance
period. This transaction correction is recorded in the transaction correction data which Post
{E5/229} Office has disclosed ([LD1/565-566]).
132. I was initially told that without the rem in slip, which I did not have because it hadn’t
printed, that Post Office couldn’t even log a call with Fujitsu to investigate. I then spoke to
my area manager Mr Haugh about this who tried to assist, and there are various Post Office
internal emails I have now seen which show the problem I had, and the lack of understanding
on behalf of even Post Office employees about the issue (for example, email chain from Mr
{E5/211/1-2} Haugh beginning 4 June 2015 [LD1/567-568]). While Mr Haugh was trying to be helpful, he
was also focused on sales and upselling, as shown by his email to me on 5 June 2015
{E5/212/1} ([LD1/569]). I was very stressed throughout this period, and did everything I could to try to
resolve it, including providing to Post Office all the documents I thought might assist and as
full explanations as possible.
133. I have now seen an email sent by Mr Haugh to Ms Southern on 19 June 2015 [LD1/570-
{E5/213/1-5} 574] (which I was not copied into), which shows the lack of understanding even by Mr Haugh
about what reports were available on Horizon (7 have spoken to a Branch Manager in a
former branch of mine and she says you can check on Horizon through the Rem in report
and Transaction Log as to whether it has been scanned in”). He also seems to be
uncomfortable with how I was being treated during this time (7 don’t know the process but it
seems like we are treating people as being guilty of something all because they have lost a
slip. Surely there are other methods of checking?”). Mr Haugh also referred to how little
training I had received and the effect it was having on me (“This is a new operator with limited
training and this amount of money is probably 4 months income. Louise is really stressed
about the situation.”).
134. I have also now seen an email from Mr Haugh to Mr Trotter on 19 June 2015 [LD1/575-
{E5/214/1-5} 579] (which I was not copied into), telling him about the issue, and again recording his
concern (“Not sure where she goes next. It seems the business are telling her she never
scanned it in so you owe us the £2k. ”)
Audits and Investigation
135. My branch was first audited on 15 June 2015. This was during the period when I was
trying to get to the bottom of the problem with the transaction correction and cash, which I
have referred to above. Prior to contracting I didn’t expect Post Office to plan an audit during
a period where there was this type of uncertainty and there were outstanding enquiries being
136. I had not been in the branch for the period before the audit, as I had been in Pakistan
and Ms Sohi had been managing the branch in my absence.
{E5/215/1 -3}
{E5/216/1 -2}
{E5/217/1 -2}
137. The audit was conducted by Ms Guthrie, and she concluded that there was an alleged
shortfall of £10,423.96, as recorded in her audit report [LD1/580-586], although this was not
sent to me at the time. Ms Guthrie only left me with a few handwritten notes on the day.
138. I was suspended following this audit, which meant that I was then unable to carry out my
own investigation. I raised this and other issues with Mr Trotter in my email to him on 22 July
{E5/219/1} 2015 [LD1/587], I later met with him on 27 July, and as can be seen from my notes [LD1/588-
{E5/220/1-2} 589], I was raising with Mr Trotter possible enquiries Post Office could make, and explaining
the difficulties I had had with the transaction correction as referred to above.
139. Post Office did later find that a large amount of the apparent shortfalls related to cheques
which had been sent. Post Office’s internal emails between 30 July and 4 August refer to
{E5/221/1-5} this [LD1/590-594], and I note that Mr Trotter considered that the cheques “may have been
sent out of course or gone missing in the post” (email on 30 July 2015). However, I was
considered accountable and liable to pay for these apparent shortfalls until the cheques were
140. I was also held liable for the losses which had apparently been caused by Ms Sohi (on
{E5/223/1-2} the basis of Mr Trotter’s email to me ([LD1/561-562] above).
141. As I explain further below, Post Office did not allow me to reopen the branch until I agreed
to repay the amount of the outstanding apparent shortfall from the audit and accepted new
contractual conditions. Post Office then deducted the amount of the shortfall in instalments
from my fees.
142. I was audited again on 17 May 2016, the auditor on this occasion was Mr Fraser, and an
apparent shortage of £2,252 was found. On this occasion I was not suspended, but was
again required to make good the apparent shortfall, and received a “Notice to remedy
[E5/231/1-2} breaches in 14 days” letter dated 6 June 2016 [LD1/595-596], Post Office took the approach
that because I was not able to explain the apparent shortfall I had to repay it and again made
arrangements for deductions to be made from my wages. So far as I am aware Post Office
did not itself carry out any investigation in relation to the cause of the apparent shortfall.
143. I was audited for a third time on 3 February 2017. An apparent shortfall of £6,870.85
{E5/234/1-11} was recorded in Post Office’s report [LD1/597-607] (although this was not provided to me).
144. During this audit, one of the auditors named Caroline told me not to worry, that it would
all get sorted out, and when I said the situation was ridiculous told me many people had said
145. Again, Post Office’s approach was that unless I could explain the amount of the apparent
shortfall then I was liable for it. I could not, although I did explain the problems I had had,
and asked for more support. I was suspended and later dismissed. I was made liable for
the amount of the apparent shortfall.
146. Prior to contracting, I expected to have a great deal more support from Post Office when
dealing with a situation where I was being held liable for very large sums of money - many
thousands of pounds. I expected Post Office to assist me to try to find out the cause of the
losses, whether I was responsible for them, and whether these were real losses to Post Office
at all.
Suspension and Termination
147. As explained above, I was suspended following the first and third audits. I was not paid
any fees during my suspension and did not have access to any information via Horizon. Post
Office took away some of my records following the third audit and when I asked did not return
them to me.
148. I attended a meeting with David Southall on 3 March 2017. Again Post Office’s approach
was that I had to provide an explanation, rather than Post Office trying to help me with what
had gone wrong.
{E5/235/1-4}149. My appointment was then terminated by letter dated 27 March 2017 [LD1/608-611],
150. Prior to my appointment I had not expected Post Office to terminate my appointment,
either on notice or summarily (as in fact occurred). I thought this was a long term
arrangement, that this would provide my livelihood for good. Post Office was advertising
that the Network Transformation scheme was to build futures, and they had required
investment and commitment from me at the outset. I remember Ms Hammerton had encouraged me when I was talking about buying a house that I would be investing in my future, and together with Post Office, I would be able to build a good future for my family.
151. I expected that if there were problems, Post Office would support me to resolve them.
Comparative Knowledge about Transactions
152. I understand that one of the issues before the Court at the Common Issues trial relates
to relative knowledge about transactions as between Subpostmasters and Post Office, and
I have been shown paragraphs 76(4) to (6) of Post Office’s Generic Defence where Post
Office states the alleged limits of its knowledge in relation to transactions undertaken in
153. I understood that Post Office had much greater access to information than me, and
indeed this can be seen from some of Post Office’s internal emails which have now been
disclosed but weren’t available to me at the time.
154. The only reference guides that were available to me for Horizon were the guides that
were built in to the Horizon system itself, when you keyed F9 or F10 (I cannot recall the exact
key). These guides could not be accessed when in the middle of a transaction, so were not
helpful as a point of reference when in the middle of a transaction. They were also not very
user friendly, some sections were blank, there was no search function, and the only print
option was a page at a time.
155. Post Office could obtain information from Fujitsu, who I was not able to contact directly,
so I was entirely reliant on Post Office if and when they chose to do this, and whether they
shared this information with me.
156. I never received any training to assist me to identify the cause of apparent shortfalls,
even after Post Office held me liable for apparent shortfalls which I could not explain.
157. I believe that Post Office were much better able than me to investigate the cause of
apparent shortfalls if they wanted to do so. For example, it was Post Office who provided me
with the information about Ms Sohi, although neither Post Office nor me had been present in
branch at the relevant time.

Variations to Contract

158. As I have referred to above, following first audit in July 2015, Post Office offered to
“reinstate” me if I agreed to certain “conditions” set out in their letter of 24 August 2015,
including repayment of the alleged shortfall amount ([LD1/612-613]). I understand now that
this letter varied my existing contract terms. I did not take any legal advice in relation to this
letter and did not think I had any choice except to agree if I wanted to reopen the branch
which I did, having invested so much into it.
159. Post Office required me to sign and return their letter of 6 June 2016 following the second
audit, which I understand also affected my contract.
160. I requested a variation to my contact terms in August or September 2015, when I
requested a change to opening hours following the events of July 2015 and Ms Sohi being
dismissed [LD1/615], Mr Trotter told me on 28 August 2015 that I couldn’t make this request
until the anniversary date of my contract “which according to my records is the 19th November
20'/5”[LD1/616-617], then on 7 September said that my request had been noted and he was
awaiting authorisation from the regional manager [LD1/618]. I did not then receive a decision
until 24 March 2016 [LD1/619-622], Mr Trotter sent me a letter confirming new hours with
effect from 4 April 2016. Mr Trotter expressly stated in that letter that the change amounted
to “a variation to your Agreement'. I do not know why it took Post Office so long to agree to
this change, but I think it is possible that Mr Trotter just forgot about it. It seemed to me that
he was overworked and had too much to deal with, he did not seem to be particularly

161. Around the same time I made a request to Post Office for my branch to become a Post
Office Plus branch to enable customers to deal with their banking [LD1/614]. My branch
was located next to a Royal Bank of Scotland branch, which closed in August 2015 and I had
enquiries from various customers, who hoped to bank at their local Post Office, my branch. I
understood that we could only offer banking services if Post Office designated the branch a
“Plus” branch. This request was ultimately refused by Post Office, but I cannot recall the date
this decision was made.

I believe the contents of this statement to be true.
Date 10 August 2018

Common Issues trial transcript: Day 5

This is the transcript of the fifth day of the Common Issues trial in the Bates and others v Post Office group litigation. The hearing below took place on Wed 14 November 2018 in court 26 of the High Court's Rolls Building. The claimants' QC is Mr Patrick Green and the defendant's QC is Mr David Cavender. The managing judge is Mr Justice Fraser.


Final Lead Claimant of 6: Louise Dar, former Subpostmaster, Lenzie branch, Glasgow.

Lousie Dar's witness statment.

For my write-up of the day, click here.

Day 1 transcript - Wed 7 November - Opening arguments
Day 2 transcript - Thu 8 November - Claimants: Alan Bates, Pam Stubbs part 1
Day 3 transcript - Mon 12 November - Pam Stubbs part 2, Mohammad Sabir
Day 4 transcript - Tue 13 November - Naushad Abdulla, Liz Stockdale
Day 5 transcript - Wed 14 November - Louise Dar
Day 6 transcript - Thu 15 November - Post Office: Nick Beal, Paul Williams
Day 7 transcript - Mon 19 November - Sarah Rimmer, John Breeden, AvdB part 1
Day 8 transcript - Tue 20 November - AvdB part 2
Day 9 transcript - Wed 21 November - AvdB part 3, Timothy Dance, Helen Dickinson, Michael Shields part 1
Day 10 transcript - Thu 22 November - Michael Shields part 2, Elaine Ridge, David Longbottom, Michael Webb
Day 11 transcript - Mon 26 November - Michael Haworth, Andrew Carpenter, Brian Trotter
Day 12 transcript - Mon 3 December - Claimants' closing argument: Patrick Green QC - part 1
Day 13 transcript - Tue 4 December - Claimants' closing argument: Patrick Green QC - part 2
Day 14 transcript - Wed 5 December - Post Office closing argument: David Cavender QC - part 1
Day 15 transcript - Thu 6 December - Post Office closing argument: David Cavender QC - part 2

Day 5 full transcript:

                                    Wednesday, 14 November 2018
   (10.30 am)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Good morning.  I have a consent order in
       relation to Horizon dates.  I don't know if either of
       you are expecting me to give it back to you, but I am
       going to do it now.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, that is the extension -- indeed.  I am
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You looked alarmed about Horizon dates
       because you thought I meant something else?
   MR GREEN:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  No, it's just about directions.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, there are a couple of minor points.  We
       have the spreadsheet that you asked for.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Yes, I have seen that.  Thank you.
   MR GREEN:  Does your Lordship have the A3 one already?  I am
       grateful.  Then I think my learned friend was very
       kindly going to clarify the basis of the redactions.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think the best thing is to start with
       Mrs Dar, or does that have to be done now?
   MR GREEN:  I am only putting down a marker in case we can
       understand what it is.  And I was going to raise on the
       redaction subject the document at G40.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Let's deal with this after we have
       finished your evidence.  Or does it affect what is going
       to happen with this witness?
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, no.  I was just trying to make sure it
       doesn't all happen too late by just raising it now, so
       it can be thought about at least on the other side, as
       to whether, for example, the heading on G41 is actually
       properly redacted or not.  I can deal with it with my
       learned friend perhaps over lunch.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  On the basis you have one witness left
       and we have a hard deadline to finish that witness.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  And Mr Cavender has the time he has
   MR GREEN:  Of course.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  We will deal with that other point
       either at the end, if we have time, or tomorrow.
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think you are going to call Mrs Dar.
   MR GREEN:  I am.
                 MRS LOUISE PATERSON DAR (sworn)
                 Examination-in-chief by MR GREEN
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you very much, Mrs Dar.  Have
       a seat.
   A.  Good morning, my Lord.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, could your Lordship be passed very
       kindly the amendment pages to Mrs Dar's witness
       statement.  (Handed)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you very much.
   MR GREEN:  The only substantial one, my Lord, is on page 9,
       it's the second of those pages.
           Mrs Dar, open in front of you on the table should be
       a witness statement with your name on it {C1/5/1}?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And if we go, for example, to page {C1/5/2}, you will
       see a minor amendment in paragraph 7?
   A.  That is right.
   Q.  And there are a number of other amendments which we put
       in at your request.  But subject to those amendments, do
       you believe the contents of your statement to be true?
   A.  I do, yes.
   MR GREEN:  Thank you very much.  Please wait there, there
       will be some questions.
                 Cross-examination by MR CAVENDER
   MR CAVENDER:  Good morning, Mrs Dar.
   A.  Good morning.
   Q.  A couple of introductory questions.  I believe you
       started working for Post Office in November 2014, is
       that right?
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  And you were terminated on 27 March 2017?
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  So you worked for two and a bit years?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Prior to applying to Post Office you had worked for
       Hilton Hotels, is that right?
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  Latterly as an IT support desk operative, is that right?
   A.  IT support desk analyst.  That's correct.
   Q.  That involved you reading documents and understanding
       them, is that fair?
   A.  Sure, reading documents was one part of the job at that
       point, but the main part was learning different
       applications to support the hotel chain running.  In
       that, yes, it would involve that, but the main aspect
       was the operation of applications.
   Q.  When you were learning the applications, did that
       involve you studying the detail of those in order to
       understand them properly?
   A.  Yes.  Detail in lots of ways, yes.
   Q.  So would I be right in thinking you are good on detail
       and picking up detailed matters?
   A.  I can be.  It depends on what context, just depending
       what type of thing.  It depends what type of brain you
       have in certain ways.  You can learn applications,
       different types of -- just different types of learning,
       I am sure.
   Q.  But you are able to read something, identify the
       important points pretty quickly?  You can scan something
       and say it's saying various things?
   A.  Yes, I would say so.  If a point is clear enough, then
   Q.  It is fair to say that you taking on the role of
       subpostmaster was a significant step for you, moving
       away from your previous work with Hilton Hotels, is that
   A.  Yes, it was exciting.  I hadn't worked in Hilton Hotels
       my entire career.  I had, as you can see from my
       background, I had previously been in -- it was more
       hospitality, and yes, it was a challenge, something
       exciting that interested me and my husband.  So it was
       something in common involving customer service and IT
       skills, so incorporating a lot of my skills that I enjoy
       and was good at.
   Q.  It was something that was important to you, is that
       right, taking on the role of subpostmaster?
   A.  Of course, incredibly.  It was our family's future.
   Q.  And it was something you were going to take care about
       to ensure that the terms you were being offered were
       terms that you were happy to accept, is that fair?
   A.  Yes, of course.  It is something you care about, yes,
       lots of people that had had Post Offices previously, and
       it's something that you just want to grow in your
       business.  And it is the place I was born and bred as
       well so you just want that to succeed.
   Q.  It is also right that you had support and advice from
       your parents looking over your shoulder, is that right,
       helping you look at the documents and getting their wise
   A.  I wouldn't say looking over your shoulder.  I had asked
       my dad at the time, he had run successful graphic design
       businesses for years, to help me with it.  He read
       contracts and things and didn't think there was anything
       derogatory in there, anything to worry about, any
       documents we had received.  But it was awfully bitty, so
       ... From what we had received, yes, it was a challenge.
       We just thought it was something to bite into.
   Q.  If we go to, as an example, {E5/9/1}, we have an email
       here, subject "The Post Office - thoughts from mummy and
       daddy".  But it is actually rather more than that, there
       are seven points there and some afterwards.  And it
       gives what I suggest to you is sensible commercial
       advice, do you agree with that?
   A.  Yes.  It was mum and dad, not mummy and --
   Q.  At the top it says "Subject: The Post Office - thoughts
       from mummy and daddy".
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Inverted commas, I am not making any point about it.
   A.  Okay.  So yes, of course, as you can see, my dad has had
       a lot of experience so he is just trying to help me
       think is it the best thing to do.  I think that is --
       what date would that be?  That was 13/6.  So, yes, I am
       not sure -- referring to my accountant, I don't think
       I had even spoken to my accountant at that point.
           So obviously that is the thing -- things you
       consider.  That was from his point of view.  I had my
       point of view, and my husband's.  Obviously it is not
       something you just jump into.
   Q.  No.  And is it right to say -- we will go through the
       documents obviously -- that as you got various documents
       from Post Office, like the contract and other things,
       you would have also shown those to your father and he
       would have been your wise counsel in the same way, is
       that fair?
   A.  Yes, we looked into things together.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is Anayat one of your children?
   A.  Yes, my little boy.  Yes, it was before ...
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I was just looking at the end of
       point 6.
   A.  Yes, it was before Amelia was born, so that is why it
       just says Anayat.
   MR CAVENDER:  Before you got involved with the Post Office,
       you actually were involved in setting up a convenience
       store business, weren't you, in advance of getting
       involved with the Post Office at all?
   A.  Yes, that is correct.
   Q.  You did that I think in August 2012?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You set up Day Today Express Lenzie Local convenience
       store, is that right?
   A.  Yes, that is correct.
   Q.  We can see, if we go to {E5/15/1}, the lease for those
       premises.  Would you have looked at this lease and
       reviewed it to see whether it was commercially
       acceptable to you?
   A.  With us, with the landlord, it was a personal agreement
       as well that we had.  We had known the landlord for
       several years and we just had this in place.  Yes, so he
       had made sure that we could, at the end of the five
       years or whatever, get out of that lease if we wanted
       to.  But yes, it's something -- we read over it but, as
       I say, it was more the way Colin had said, it was more
       kind of a gentlemen's agreement at the time, and time
       went on, so we had this in place.
   Q.  You may say that, but if you read the terms,
       paragraph 1.14, it's a one-year lease with an extension
       option to extend to five, do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And in terms of the rent, we can see that it's £9,600
       per annum with upwards only rent review every three
       years.  So those are the kind of commercial terms you
       would have considered?
   A.  No.  Because, as I say, we took this agreement with
       Colin and our rent didn't go up in the six years that we
       were in that premises.  We just had a good arrangement
       with him.
   Q.  My point is that you would have used your commercial
       skills to decide whether this is something that you
       wanted to enter into or not with these rental terms?
   A.  Yes.  Because he wrote this for us, that wasn't legally,
       that was for us just as a kind of -- something to fall
       back on if we needed to, but we knew we had good terms
       with each other so we didn't really need it.
   Q.  So it wasn't legal, I don't quite understand what you
       mean by that.  It has been signed, it's a legal lease,
       isn't it?
   A.  It wasn't through any solicitor.  That was just between
       the landlord and us.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Colin is the landlord?
   A.  Yes, Colin Frame is the landlord.
   MR CAVENDER:  Did you have a contract with someone to fit
       out the shop as a convenience store or was it all fitted
       out before?
   A.  Beforehand, because Colin was subletting -- sorry,
       Mr Frame was subletting the property to us, it used to
       be -- he had a salon, a hairdressing salon next door.
       He had at one point knocked it through and it was a nail
       bar and things.  He wasn't making enough profit from
       that, so then decided to make it into two separate shops
       again and let that out.  So when we moved in, I actually
       saw the day he put the sign up on the window, and we'd
       been considering, because at the time I'd been made
       redundant from the Hilton while I was on maternity
       leave, and we had been talking about being brave enough
       to open a shop.
           So we thought, right, we will do it, that's a good
       sign, we will go for it.  And at the time, my dad,
       Rehman, my husband, my mum, we all maintained the shop,
       grouted the flooring, the tiles and everything, and did
       it all up ourselves.
   Q.  So your answer is you didn't get someone else to do
   A.  Not for the shop.
   Q.  Thank you.
   A.  Later on for the Post Office but not for the shop.
   Q.  Moving on then to applying to be a subpostmistress.  You
       say in your witness statement by way of background that
       you had a visit I think from Post Office in
       September 2012?
   A.  Sorry, can I just check which paragraph that was, just
       to check the dates and things.
   Q.  I am not questioning the dates, I am just trying to warm
       you up to the period.
   A.  I would just like to get to that place, please.
   Q.  You say that in -- it's paragraph 9 {C1/5/3}:
           "... in around September 2012 a Post Office
       representative Elizabeth Hammerton visited me in my
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So I am just identifying that.  You set out in great
       detail the background leading up to whether -- deciding
       to apply or not, yes?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  I think there was some confusion about a link being sent
       and being sent again and things of that kind.  I'm not
       going to ask you about that.
           In short, you decided to become a subpostmistress in
       order to increase income to your retail business, is
       that fair?
   A.  Yes, for that reason and for the community as well.
   Q.  You knew this was going to be a business relationship
       with the Post Office, is that fair?
   A.  Of course.  If you are becoming a subpostmistress then
       of course it is not personal.
   Q.  And you weren't going to be an employee, were you, you
       knew that?  You were going to be an agent?
   A.  At that time referring to agent is a bit general.
       I would say at the time they needed to -- there wasn't
       much explanation.  The way it was discussed with me it
       was as if, yes, don't worry, we will be working together
       and it will be a really good relationship.  And really
       from that it is not particularly clear because it is --
       at the end of the day it is trying to sell it to you.
       They just want somebody to take on a branch.
   Q.  It became clear, I suggest, as you went through the
           Go to {E/5/16}.  We are going on quite a long way in
       time here, we are going to 9 August.  So you had been
       visited originally in the September 2012 and now we are
       going to August 2013.  So {E5/16/1}.  And this is
       sending you the link to make your application, yes?
   A.  Is this the third attempt?  Second or third attempt?
       Because I know you mentioned confusion, if you don't
       mind me mentioning.  So when I actually go to this
       reference number, I had been in touch twice before, so
       ... I am just trying to get it on the timeline.
   Q.  On 9 August 2013.
   A.  Yes, that is fine.
   Q.  Then later in September 2013 {E5/33/1}, we see a letter
       on 19 September:
           "You should have received a new version of the
       business plan which is more user friendly.
           "I have also posted an information pack out to you
       which provides information on the fees that would be
       paid to you for Post Office transactions and also
       a general draft contract."
           And you can see change to the hours, et cetera.
           "Best regards, Wendy.
           Pausing there.  Do you remember receiving this
   A.  I remember the email.  But the Post Office transactions,
       I don't think I -- I didn't get the draft contract at
       any point.
   Q.  Pausing there, you hadn't seen the draft contract before
       this point, had you?
   A.  No.
   Q.  No.  So they are saying they are going to send you
       a general draft information -- a general draft contract,
       and they say they are going to do that by posting
       an information pack.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Do you remember receiving an information pack after --
   A.  Not at that point.  I think I did later on, I remember
       seeing the information pack regarding the transactions.
   Q.  Because surely having got this email, and being told you
       are going to receive something by post, I suggest to you
       that you would be looking out for that information pack
       by post, and if it didn't arrive you would have emailed
       or phoned the Post Office?
   A.  Yes, I think I did actually send an email following it
       up and she said that she had sent a contract.
   Q.  So isn't it likely, therefore, that either it was sent
       out, or you chased it, and you did get the draft
       contract at around this time?  Isn't that likely?
   A.  At this time everything was moving so fast as well.  The
       speed of trying to get the Post Office arranged, opened,
       the number of people involved in the set-up even
       initially, beforehand.  And even just the general
       excitement of it, I think that is -- I can't recall at
       that point.  But I do remember I didn't receive a draft
       contract.  And then when I did get the actual, there was
       yet again confusion with that, whether it was sent or
       not or whatever.
   Q.  I don't quite understand this.  If you are being told
       you will be posted an information pack, including
       a draft contract, and you are showing this to your
       husband and showing it to your father, presumably --
   A.  I don't show every email to my dad and my husband.  When
       it is an email from one person to other, generally
       I will deal with most of these things.  My husband dealt
       with the shop very well, so ...
   Q.  I am talking more about updating -- or this information
       pack.  Let's have a look at that because that might have
       a lot of information about fees that will be paid to
       you, Post Office transactions, general draft contract.
           It's quite important, isn't it, to know what the
       terms of the contract are that you are going to be
       contracting on?
   A.  If you are talking about the transactions, yes.  So that
       would be the transactions, that would be the
       remuneration that you would get from it.  So, yes, that
       would be a separate issue related to the contract.
   Q.  But it is saying it is an information pack, and as
       I read this it seems to be included in one thing, an
       information pack that contains both.
   A.  Sorry, just let me read that again.
   Q.  "... provides information --"
   A.  "... and also a general draft contract."
           So it includes it.  It doesn't say it's the same
   Q.  No, it is not the same thing.  But surely you would have
       asked for it if it wasn't there, is really my point?
   A.  Yes, but further down the line we did get that, so we
       did get all -- we did get detail of the transactions
       because I remember specifically asking about,
       for example, motor vehicle licensing, because I know
       a lot of smaller Post Offices don't do that and it has
       a very high -- sorry, a lot of customers in the area who
       drive, who drive vehicles, that don't want to go online,
       they want to support Local small businesses, things like
       that.  And you don't want to have to do it all online,
       taking away another business.  So I asked specifically
       like that.  I know a lot of people have come in and said
       "I hope you don't get rid of the special stamp books and
       the wee presentation packs and things", because they
       were so important to them.  And yes, there were certain
       things that were being taken away from us, so of course
       I asked for those transactions, but I don't remember
       receiving that in the post.
   Q.  Can we move forward in time to the interview with
       Mr Trotter on 9 September 2013.  Do you remember that?
   A.  Yes, I remember it vividly.
   Q.  If you had received the contract, as I suggest you would
       have done, you would have had it for about two months by
       the time of the interview.  And you made a presentation
       at that interview, didn't you?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We see that at {E5/74/1}.  This is I think the slides or
       the -- I don't know if you did slides or not.
   A.  I had it on my laptop.  I also had it on paper.
   Q.  This was your business case, really, for why you should
       be taken on.  Is that right?
   A.  Yes, exactly.
   Q.  By the time you prepared this, had you seen the
       contract, the draft contract by this stage, by the time
       you prepared this?
   A.  No, I don't think so.  Not at that point.  Because you
       are -- this is the point you are just trying to sell it
       to them, it is like part of your interview process.  You
       are pitching to them to try and get that Post Office.
       So they wouldn't show you a contract before they have
       actually said, yes, you can go for it.
   Q.  Because one thing you do deal with is training,
       {E5/74/10}.  And reading this, you seem to be proceeding
       on the basis that you are going to train your staff.
       You say at the top of 10:
           "Staff training - one-to-one trainer.
           How did you know you were responsible for training
       if you hadn't had sight of the contract which contains
       provisions along those lines?
   A.  Because it is not just based on what Post Office tell
       you, it is based on the person I am.  I just -- anything
       I do, I do thoroughly.  I make sure I do a good job of
       it, and you can't -- I am afraid if you want something
       done well you do it yourself, I'm afraid I'm that kind
       of person.  Sorry if it's an old-fashioned thing to say,
       but I just always make sure things are done correctly.
       You need to have a seamless service.  Whether you come
       in and you get me or you get my husband or you get Lisa,
       the girl who used to work in the shop, you just need to
       make sure it is a genuine service you are providing.
   Q.  So focusing on the training, then, you are saying you
       just assumed you would be responsible for training, just
       because that is who you are, not because you had seen
       anything in the draft contract by that stage that
       indicated that was your --
   A.  Yes.  Not assuming in any way.  You can't base anything
       on assumptions, that is the point.  I would just want to
       be involved in it.  Whether it was entirely my role or
       not I would want to be involved in that if they were
       working alongside me.
   Q.  We have the notes of the interview at {E5/74.2/1}.  Have
       you looked through the transcript of this interview?
   A.  Yes, listened to it, read it several times, yes.
   Q.  You say at paragraph 42 of your statement {C1/5/8},
       dealing with the interview:
           "I expressed some reservations to Mr Trotter during
       the interview about taking on the responsibility of
       a Post Office branch but Mr Trotter reassured me that
       the quality of the training and support would be very
           Pausing there.  I have, as you have, you say, read
       the transcript of this interview, and you and indeed
       I have listened to the tape, I have not heard or read
       anything which begins to get close to Mr Trotter
       reassuring you in the way you suggest.
   A.  So in the interview -- sorry, I can't see it here
       myself.  Thank you.  Sorry, I'm not sure which page it
       was on.  We had discussed training at that point and
       I was advised we would have e-training, we would have
       classroom training, and we would have the training on
       site when it was the auditor or, sorry, I don't know
       what the job title was, but whoever that person on site,
       what they did.
   Q.  Okay, Mrs Dar --
   A.  But we didn't get all of that anyway.  So that is
       reassuring, surely.
   Q.  Can we focus on the question --
   A.  I am, if you don't mind me finishing.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Both of you, if you speak at the same
       time as each other it is impossible for the transcribers
       to transcribe, it is also quite difficult for me to
       follow it.
           So, Mrs Dar, you wait until Mr Cavender has
       finished, and Mr Cavender will wait until you have
           Right, Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  So in the transcript, and you want to go to
       the part where you deal with training, I am going to
       take you to that.  You see that at {E5/74.2/13}.  At the
       top of the page there you see you are speaking and you
       are talking about staffing:
           "My husband's nephew, he is interested to come and
       work in the Post Office ..."
           Et cetera.  And you are thinking about Jaz's sister.
           Then you come on to staff training:
           "And the staff training just to make sure obviously,
       Post Office you would put us through is it seven days or
       ten days initially?"
           And then Mr Trotter says:
           "Ahh I may as well explain this while we are talking
       about it.  The training for Post Office ... in three
           And you can see he outlines the details of that.
           Your response at the bottom, LD:
           "Right okay, cool thank you.  Umm then even after
       that training we will just have really good monitoring
       for the training and incentives.  I think that is
       an important thing you are in benefit of business.  But
       also could even have something like Love 2 Shop
       vouchers ..."
           Et cetera.  Then talk about healthy competition and
       you say:
           "Exactly, dealing with basic issues as well ..."
           I don't see, in the words or the sentiments
       expressed there, you expressing any reservations about
       taking on responsibility of a Post Office branch.
   A.  Well, in what Brian had said there, so the first part of
       the question you asked, that is him reassuring that it
       would be good -- sufficient training, breaking it into
       three modules, the first part distance learning.  Email
       address that was provided, we didn't get anything to
       that email address for a start.  Classroom training,
       yes.  So that is -- from there -- so I have said:
           "Right okay, cool thank you.  Umm then even after
       that training we will just have really good monitoring
       for the training and incentives."
           Surely an "umm" in there has a slight hesitation for
       a start.  Something like the incentives.  I have just
       gone on to that.
   Q.  Can you tell me where you express reservations to
       Mr Trotter about taking on responsibility?
   A.  Just a second.  Let me read the rest of this.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  The difficulty, Mr Cavender, is this
       witness can't see the whole of the 25 pages, I think.
   A.  Yes, because it's about an hour and a half long.  It's
       quite a document to read in one chunk.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That's alright.  We will revisit what we
       are going to do about this just before we have the
           Mr Cavender is putting to you that there is nothing
       in that transcript, he says, that amounts to you
       expressing reservations.  Is that a fair way of putting
   MR CAVENDER:  That is exactly right.
   A.  Not on that page.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Not on that page.  We will come back to
       the situation with the other pages later on.
           Right, Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  And I am suggesting, so that we are clear, not
       on any other page either.  That is what I am putting to
   A.  You can suggest that but I would like to confirm whether
       that is true or not.
   Q.  Another point that you make in paragraph 42 where you
       talk about operating as partners {C1/5/8}:
           "He gave me the impression that we would be working
       as partners together ..."
           I don't see anything in this manuscript or having
       listened to the tape that indicates you would be working
       as "partners together".  Do you say he used those words,
       or are you saying that he used words which you have
       summarised to mean you would be working as partners
   A.  I would say the words, the general feel from it, the way
       he was speaking was as if we would be working together,
       and if you were a sub-- if you had a Post Office you
       would have to work together, surely?  If we had
       Post Office cash, stamp, stock, counter, everything that
       belonged to them, surely you would have to.  But that
       wasn't made clear at any point.
   Q.  You accept he doesn't say anywhere here you would be
       working as --
   A.  Again I would need to read to find out exactly which
       part of the interview we had discussed it, but not from
       this page.
   Q.  I thought you had read this.  I asked you right at the
       beginning whether you had read the transcript.  You said
       you had read it and you had listened to the tape.
   A.  I have, yes, but to remember every single detail it
       would be handy to have it in front of me.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think on a 25-page document,
       Mr Cavender, that is a little bit unfair.  But I am
       adding that to the list.  At the moment I have your
       expressing reservations and the next item is working in
       partnership.  We will deal with all of these points in
       the same way, I think.
   MR CAVENDER:  If we go to {B5.5/2/7}, can you read
       paragraph 25 to yourself, please, on that page.  (Pause)
           You signed a Statement of Truth on this pleading, is
       that right, to say that it was true?
   A.  Yes, that is correct.
   Q.  And that this amendment was also true?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What was it that triggered your mind -- I think the
       amendment was made on 1 June 2018.  What was it at that
       time that triggered your mind to amend your pleading to
       put this point in?
   A.  Just the fact that -- just I'd worded it slightly
       incorrectly and that Brian at the time was coming across
       as an approachable, friendly person who understood my
       position, and he was saying, "Oh, regarding contracts or
       whatever, it is -- you could get legal advice but it is
       all quite self-explanatory", and at that point I had
       explained that I would get my dad just to read over it
       with me to make sure there was nothing that kind of
       jumped out at us.
   Q.  Because before you amended it, it said:
           "The claimant was not advised to seek independent
       legal advice prior to contracting with the defendant or
       at any other time in relation to her appointment."
           That is what it said previously.  And you have
       altered that to say:
           "The defendant's Mr Trotter had mentioned to the
       claimant the possibility of her obtaining legal advice
       (which the claimant recalls was likely during the
       interview on 19 November ...) but said that there was no
       need to and that the claimant could trust his word."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  Again, I have looked at the transcript and listened to
       the tape, and there is no mention of Mr Trotter saying
       to you that you don't need to take legal advice, you
       could trust his word.
   A.  Okay.  Again from that I would need to check, but
       I don't know if I have maybe got a date slightly
       confused?  So obviously all of these dates, it is some
       timeline on there and some amount of water has gone
       under the bridge in that time.
   Q.  This is at the interview we are talking about, so
       there's no doubt --
   A.  We did have more than one.  Well, one wasn't referred to
       as an interview.  So maybe that is a possibility, I've
       got one detail confused.
   Q.  There was only one interview, wasn't there, and then you
       had a later discussion, a later ... chat I think you
       call it?
   A.  Yes.  It was more like an interview, just not
       a presentation, but it was referred to as more informal.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Was that also with Mr Trotter?
   A.  Yes.  I am sure if anybody writes anything,
       I don't think an author gets a book right first time.
       I think with one detail it is allowed.
   MR CAVENDER:  But this is something you have on 1 June
       decided: right, the existing drafting is incorrect here.
       I need to amend it because this happened at this
       interview.  And I am suggesting to you it is absolutely
       clear it did not.
   A.  Just reading over things, obviously you need to try and
       get things right and get it in the correct order in your
       mind.  It is human.
   Q.  We will come to the second one, paragraph 55 of your
       witness statement, so that is {C1/5/11}.  This is on
       4 June, so six or seven months after your interview, and
       you describe that as meeting with him, you do not
       describe it as an interview, and I don't think
       Post Office classed it as an interview at the time.  So
       there is not a lot of room for confusion there,
       I suggest?
   A.  There was at the time, but that was confirmed by emails
       obviously to confirm these things.  Because then
       I thought about: oh, yes, wait a minute, I didn't have
       to give another presentation so, yes, maybe it wasn't
       an interview.  But at the time I accepted that --
       I think I considered it as an interview.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, I am slightly hesitant.  I didn't object
       earlier.  But it is perfectly clear, if one looks on in
       the witness statement, where is the relevant pleaded
       point this witness gives evidence about.  I am a bit
       hesitant about it being put to her as it has been, on a
       premise that isn't ...
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think Mr Cavender is being relatively
       careful about how he puts it.  But I have read the whole
       of the witness statement.
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful, my Lord.
   MR CAVENDER:  The net effect of the interview was that on
       the financial side the proposal was never going to work,
       was it?  That was really indicated to you during the
       course of the interview, do you accept that?
   A.  Well, not never going to work, because he did reassure
       quite a few times in there that we would work with it,
       to make to work.
   Q.  No, but in terms of the numbers you had then, he said
       essentially you need to --
   A.  He didn't say never.  He did say at the time he thought
       financially it wasn't viable, at that time.
   Q.  On those particular numbers?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Yes.  So the interview then really came to an end, and
       I suggest to you he didn't go then through the contract
       with those other matters that he says he would normally
       do, because he says the interview really came to an end
       at the end of your presentation really, is that fair?
   A.  Yes, at that point I had said I would speak to the
       potential landlord at the time and we would get back in
   Q.  So then you apply again effectively in January the
       following year and submit an updated business plan, is
       that right?
   A.  Yes, that is correct.
   Q.  We can see, just for the documents, {E5/93/1}, so
       18 February 2014.  This is the start of the same process
       again, yes, that we have seen previously with the link?
   A.  Yes.  But I was advised -- I'm sure at one point
       I shouldn't have to start from the very beginning again.
       It was a case of resubmitting an updated business plan
       to start from the beginning again.  I should have just
       given up at that point, I think.
   Q.  Then you put in your updated business plan, and I think
       you are told in May 2014 that it had passed the
       assessment stage.  I think we get that from {E5/123/1},
       20 May:
           "Your business plan has now passed the financial
       assessment stage and I am awaiting an interview date."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You must have been quite relieved when you got that
   A.  Of course.
   Q.  So then we have the meeting with Mr Trotter which you
       then deal with at paragraph 55 of your witness
       statement.  {C1/5/11}
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So this is an interview also with
       Mr Trotter for your second application, is that right?
       So far as you can recall.
   A.  Yes, it was the second -- so you will see why
       I considered that as an interview because really it was
       for the second application.  But then, yes, it was
       referred to as a discussion.
   MR CAVENDER:  You deal with various things here.  And you
       say at paragraph 58 here, if you read that to yourself
           Here in your witness evidence, contrary to the
       pleading I referred to earlier, you are saying that
       Mr Trotter mentioned the taking of legal advice at this
       meeting, but said you don't need to worry about it, you
       could trust his word.  So in your witness evidence you
       are placing this conversation at this meeting, is that
   A.  That is what I mentioned earlier.  I didn't know if
       I had maybe got confused between the two.  But it was
       definitely mentioned that -- along the lines of it's
       self-explanatory, and as I say even there, I did say
       I would get my dad to read over the contract with me
       when I received it.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I assume there is no transcript of this
       interview, is there?
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, no.
           So I am a bit confused about that.  Because the
       amendment to your pleading was done on 1 June 2018
       I think, and by 10 August 2018, so a little more than
       a couple of months later, you are changing your
       recollection and placing this alleged conversation at
       the second meeting.
   A.  Not changing my recollection.  As I say, it is over time
       reading things, and you think you can't remember
       details, and obviously the more you think about it, at
       times you -- you have more things that are at the front
       of your mind, they're more important, you block out
       these details.  And obviously once you start talking
       about it, it all comes flooding back.  You might be in
       the shower one morning and you think, oh, I remember
       a detail.  Things like that.  It happens.
   Q.  Because it is quite an odd thing to -- well, firstly,
       I say he didn't say it to you, so that we're absolutely
       clear, Mr Trotter did not say that to you, anything
       about: you don't have to take legal advice and you could
       trust him.
           Secondly, you say at 56 {C1/5/11}:
           "It was quite a relaxed conversation ... helpful and
       friendly ..."
           Training and things of that kind.
           I suggest to you that if that was the mood of the
       meeting, then it is pretty unlikely he is going to start
       talking about legal advice and things of that kind.
   A.  No, I wouldn't say so, because --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Pausing there.  You have actually been
       asked two questions together and I would like the
       answers to each of them separately.
           So the first is: it is put to you that Mr Trotter
       didn't say that.  What is your answer to that?
   A.  He did say that.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Right.  And the second question is:
       because of the mood of the interview, with it being
       relaxed et cetera as you describe it, it would be
       unlikely that he would say --
   A.  I say "relaxed", yes, sorry, it was still a meeting.
       When I expected to go to a Post Office interview, you
       would have at least two or three people there, maybe one
       taking notes or one -- two different, maybe, positions
       in the Post Office.  You wouldn't expect it just to be
       one person.  And I did comment on that as well to
       family, that it was just one person.
           So I think for that reason it is more relaxed.  And
       obviously we had met before in the previous interview.
       So again it would be because you are more -- you have
       met that person before, so generally you are more
       relaxed than in your first interview.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  The next thing that happens is you are sent
       a contractual pack on 18 June 2014 {E5/136/1}.  At the
       top we see:
           "Contract is in the post tonight and will be with
       Louise tomorrow."
           Do you remember receiving it around --
   A.  I remember there was confusion because the first one was
       sent so I am just checking the dates.  One moment.
           So, yes, I can see that one was sent to a previous
       address, and I phoned to chase it up at that time, and
       then they had said I hadn't called to change the
       address, which I had, so they then sent it and, yes,
       I received that one.
   Q.  Then a contractual pack we see at the next tab,
       {E5/137/1}.  If we go to {E5/137/3}, you will have read
       this at the time, I am assuming, when you received it?
   A.  Yes, specifically the opening hours as well, because
       they had that as the minimum.
   Q.  And you would have read a notice that this was a formal
       legal type document, yes?  That would have been apparent
       to you?
   A.  I see it is an important document.  I wouldn't know if
       it is a legal document or not at that point.
   Q.  The preface says it's part of an agreement between
       Post Office and the branch premises and says:
           "The Agreement consists of the following documents:
           "This preface and the following appendices ..."
           Appendix 1 is works at the branch premises and plan,
       do you see that?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  Appendix 2 is equipment.  Appendix 3 is conditions of
       appointment.  And then we have something called the
       standard conditions, something called the manual, and
       something called the fees booklet.
           So it was pretty clear to you I suggest what the
       Agreement, capital A, consisted of.  Is that fair?
   A.  It says "part of an Agreement between Post Office", so
       it wasn't particularly clear at that point.  I thought
       this would be a list of documents that were obviously
       part of being a subpostmistress, but you don't -- it is
       not laid out particularly clearly.
   Q.  It says "the Agreement", capital A, yes?  And if we
       could go forward to page {E5/137/9} of this document --
   A.  I think it would be clearer if they said the preface is
       part of "your" agreement, not just "an" agreement.
   Q.  If you go to page 9, the signature page, it says:
           "The Operator and Post Office Ltd hereby agree to
       enter into the Agreement [capital A] as defined above."
           Do you see that?  And I have just taken you through
       what the agreement consists of.
   A.  Yes.  Previously they were referring to it as
       "an" agreement and here it is saying "the" agreement.
       It is -- the attention to detail is not great.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is a point for me, really.
           So that is how it is structured.  Then we can see
       that the standard terms, yes, the standard conditions it
       is called in the preface at page {E5/137/3}, start at
       page {E5/137/28}.  Can we look at those.
           If we flick through this, we can see at page 30 the
       definition of manual {E5/137/30}:
           "The manuals and other documents referred to in part
       5 of these standard conditions."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then the main provisions of the agreement start at page
       {E5/137/32} under "Part 2 - Operating a Local Branch":
           "The agreement is a contract for services and the
       operator is an agent and not an employee ..."
           You would have read that?  Yes?
   A.  Yes, as subpostmistress, yes.
   Q.  And you would have read --
   A.  But on section 1.2 it says:
           "The operator acknowledges that no relationship of
       employer and employee exists between Post Office and the
       operator ..."
   Q.  Yes.  But also it says at 1.2:
           "The agreement is a contract for services and the
       operator is an agent ..."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes, the first sentence of that point, yes.
   Q.  Yes.  In terms of liability for Post Office cash and
       stock, if you go to page {E5/137/39}, you've got
       clause 4.1, you would have read that?  Your husband
       would have read that, your father would have read that?
   A.  I read that, yes.  Of course being subpostmaster, yes,
       you would have to accept that, yes, you -- I would have
       the confidence that we could resolve any issues.  We had
       never had any issues previously before in previous jobs
       dealing with cash or dealing with figures or anything of
       these things.  There is always a way to identify issues,
       investigate them and resolve them.
   Q.  Go to {E5/137/49}, please.  Paragraph 16, "Termination".
       You would have read that provision, six months' notice
       either way after the first year.
   A.  Yes, I would have read that.  It wouldn't have been
       something that we would have been focusing on.  I am
       sure at that point we were actually told we had to leave
       a year's notice as long as you do get somebody to stand
       in in your place.  But that wasn't something we were
       considering, because we thought this would be something
       for life for us.
   Q.  You would have discussed the fact that it was six
       months' either way written notice with your husband and
       your dad, presumably, because it is quite an important
       feature to know the structure of the arrangement,
       isn't it?
   A.  Yes.  But as I say we saw that there, but we were
       advised -- my husband remembers too that we were advised
       it was a year's notice we had to give.
   Q.  By whom?
   A.  Margaret Guthrie.
   Q.  When?
   A.  Behind the counter the week of the big audit that we had
       issues with.
   Q.  What, after contracting?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  I see.  I am talking about the time prior to signing the
       agreement, yes?
   A.  I think the previous postmaster told us the same.  I
       can't be 100 per cent exactly when it was but I remember
       he had said that as well because we were surprised.  We
       went "A year?", because it is the longest notice period
       I have ever heard.  But then he added "Or as long as you
       get somebody to take it for you", so it's not even any
       guarantee that you can get out.
   Q.  But I think you would agree with me that this term in
       this contract at paragraph 16.1 is pretty clear?
   A.  It looks clear there but not as we have been advised,
       that you can give six months' notice but you need to
       find an alternative person to take over the Post Office.
   Q.  I don't accept that was said to you.  Anyway, you are
       saying that was after contracting during one of
       the audits, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We can come to that.
           You had originally pleaded in your Individual
       Particulars of Claim, and let's go to that {B5.5/2/1}.
       Paragraph 18.2 on page {B5.5/2/5} of the document.  18.2
       originally said:
           "The defendant did not provide her with a copy of
       the standard conditions prior to signing this
           And then you altered that to say -- you said you
       didn't recall whether or not they had in fact provided
       you with a copy of those terms.  And now I see in
       paragraph 64 of your witness statement you now accept
       that you think these terms were included in the bound
       set of documents, is that fair?
   A.  Again I think the change, it is some amount of documents
       all kind of distributed at different times, it is
       difficult initially to try and work out when I received
       them and what they included.  That is the reason for the
       changes that have been made.
   Q.  But surely if, on your first version, if they hadn't
       been there, which I don't accept for a moment, you would
       have asked for them, wouldn't you?
   A.  At that point would I know it was missing?  At that
   Q.  You don't recall ever asking for them, do you?
   A.  At this point I have no recollection of it, I am sorry.
   Q.  So looking at the contents of the pack you were sent,
       {E5/138/1}, in terms of the instructions -- along with
       the pack I just showed you, you got some instructions,
       yes?  We see them on the screen there.
           "Welcome to the next stage of the appointment
           "We hope [it is] helpful ..."
           And it lists there what is included in the pack.
       And you received all those items in the pack, I am
       assuming?  Am I right?
   A.  I think what we were discussing, the standard
       conditions, weren't there.  But looking at that, I don't
       remember that, sorry.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is there any reason why some is in red
       or is that just a quirk?
   MR CAVENDER:  I think it is a quirk, my Lord.
           It says -- the instructions are:
           "Please read all of the documents carefully and
       follow the instructions."
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  So this helps you navigate the documents we are just
       looking at, doesn't it?
   A.  Yes.  But as I say, I do not remember this document,
       I am sorry.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  The red, sorry, it says you have to sign
       the documents in red at line 2 of instruction 1.
   MR CAVENDER:  You are right, my Lord, yes.
           So it says if you would like to be appointed to
       operate a Local branch you should sign all the documents
       highlighted in red.  We call these "relevant documents",
           Paragraph 2:
           "We strongly suggest you take independent legal
       advice before signing the relevant documents and
       returning them to us.  We would also suggest that you
       keep a copy of the relevant documents that you have
       signed and dated."
           Even on your case, no one suggested or countermanded
       instruction number 2, did they?
   A.  As I say, I don't remember this document.
   Q.  Are you saying you didn't receive it?
   A.  I don't remember it.  I don't recall this document, I am
   Q.  I suggest you did receive it.  It is part of the
       standard pack.
   A.  But as I say, I don't know.  I couldn't answer that
       because I don't remember it.
   Q.  I can tell you that you did receive this because it has
       been disclosed by you in this action.  Does that help
       you remember it?
   A.  Even if it has been disclosed, I say it is one out of
       hundreds of documents and I am afraid I don't remember
   Q.  It's disclosed by you.  So you have had it in your
       possession, that's the point I'm putting to you --
   A.  I had a whole cupboard of documents.  I am sorry, it is
       one document.  I can't remember.
   Q.  But it would have come with the pack, with the standard
       terms I have shown you, and it would contain the
   A.  I have heard, yes, you have stated that is what you
       think, but I don't remember it.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I just want to jump ahead on this
       because at paragraph 5, first line, Post Office has said
       that you sign the documents, send them back to them, and
       that is an offer.
   A.  Okay.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You don't need to worry about the legal
       consequences of that.  But then paragraph 5 in the
       instructions says:
           "If we accept your offer to enter into the agreement
       we will also sign the relevant documents and return one
       copy to you within two weeks ..."
           Do you recall that happening?
   A.  I remember documents coming back to me signed, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you.
           And I assume they are in the bundle somewhere, are
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, yes.  I will hopefully get to those
       in a moment.
           The other thing you got is {E5/139/1}, something
       called "Modernising your Post Office Branch.  The
       Contract".  Do you remember this document?
   A.  I do, yes.
   Q.  And you would have read this document?
   A.  Yes, I think that would be once it had been sent to me
       after the first mess with my address, I believe.
   Q.  This comes with the pack, we see that from page
           "This pack contains some important documents, but
       before you get to them, we recommend you read through
       this guide.
           "On the back page you will find a checklist that you
       can complete to make sure you send everything back and
       have ticked all the boxes."
           And then you can see on page {E5/139/3}, "Frequently
       Asked Questions".  Cast your eye down there.
       Paragraph 3:
           "What are the notice periods for the new contracts?
           "For main branches, either Post Office Limited or
       the operator would need to give at least 12 months' ...
       For  branches ..."
           You knew you were a Local branch, didn't you?
   A.  Yes, there is also discussion on that.  Yes, I was
       a Local, but whether we were -- we had some Local plus
       services and not others.
   Q.  So you are a Local branch:
           "... the notice period is at least six months.  This
       can be given at any time after the contract begins."
   A.  So at least six months.  Not stated as six.
   Q.  At 6:
           "What should I do if I'm not happy with the
       financial obligations attributed to me?
           "If you're not happy to accept the financial
       obligations in the contract, you shouldn't sign it.
       Once you do sign the contract then you will be
       responsible for all the obligations so it is important
       you read it very carefully."
           So I think you would agree with me the Post Office
       in various places in these documents, these instruction
       documents, made it clear to you (a) that these are
       important documents, yes?
   A.  Without -- I know they are important documents, yes.
   Q.  And secondly, you should therefore read and consider
       them carefully before signing and returning them?
   A.  I did read those.  But I think also obviously the
       excitement, the adrenalin and the hope for the future
       takes over a lot of that as well.  And you just think
       it's exciting and -- it is something you want to do to
       benefit the entire family.
   Q.  Is that really true, Mrs Dar?
   A.  Of course it is true.
   Q.  The excitement and the adrenalin?  You were entering
       into a business relationship, yes?  You were having
       advice from your husband and your father at least, who
       weren't probably, I suggest to you, as full of the
       excitement and adrenalin you refer to.  They were giving
       you cool-headed advice, weren't they?
   A.  Cool-headed advice.  That doesn't stop somebody being
       fired up and excited about a business.  My dad has run,
       as I said, several graphic design businesses over the
       years.  Obviously you have to have adrenalin to make you
       go forward to do something.  If you didn't have that you
       wouldn't do anything in life.
   Q.  We can see you did sign the agreement and return it and
       that is at bundle {E5/148/6}.  You signed it on
       2 July 2014.  Does that sound right?
   A.  Yes, that is my signature.
   Q.  You would have signed that having taken any legal advice
       that you as a business decided to take.  Is that also
   A.  I signed that as a new business owner, having got advice
       and, yes, I did sign that as I have explained.
   Q.  Because you suggest in your witness statement this is
       all very confusing and difficult.  But I suggest to you
       it was actually very straightforward?
   A.  What part of the Post Office is very straightforward?
   Q.  The signing of this agreement and its structure?
   A.  The structure is not straightforward whatsoever.  You
       get document after document after document referring to
       things you probably need to cross-reference.  I just
       wouldn't think it is user friendly whatsoever.
   Q.  There was a set of instructions?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  There was an overview document to get you into the
       process?  Post Office couldn't really have done any more
       to make it clearer, I suggest to you.
   A.  Yes, I am sure they could have.
   Q.  In terms of the reasonable expectations of a reasonable
       person in your position as at 2 July when you return the
       contract, vis-a-vis Horizon, I suggest to you that such
       a person would have expected Horizon to have been
       a reasonable, reliable system.  Do you agree with that?
   A.  Yes, of course.  If it is an accounting system it should
   Q.  And as regards training, such a person would expect such
       training as was necessary to operate the system, do you
       agree that is a fair point?
   A.  Yes, definitely.  Being involved in training is a most
       important part.
   Q.  Such a person would also, vis-a-vis the Helpline, expect
       a reasonable Helpline to be provided, is that fair?
   A.  Yes, that is what I provide now, it is what I provided
       previously for a different company.  You have to have
       sufficient resources for your staff to work on.
   Q.  So moving on in time, then.
           I'm not sure, my Lord, when we are having the break.
       I am moving on to appointment now.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  How long do you think -- if it going to
       take 20 minutes or less, let's probably --
   MR CAVENDER:  It will take longer than that.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It might be sensible to have the break
           Mrs Dar, we are going to have a break.  Please don't
       talk to anyone about the case because you are in
       the middle of your cross-examination.  But before you
       go, and before we have the break, I just want to
       consider with counsel the best way to approach this
       transcript of the interview and the two effectively
       outstanding points.
           Mr Green, have you got a copy of that document,
       a hard copy of that document?
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, I do not think I do.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is fine.
           Mr Cavender, I assume we are going to go into the
       afternoon with this witness.  Is that likely?
   MR CAVENDER:  I don't think it is.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Right, then this is what we are going to
           Mr Green, and this doesn't have to be done in
       the next ten minutes, someone is going to go, please,
       from your team to get a hard copy of that document.
           When we finish your cross-examination, Mrs Dar, you
       are then going to be given ten minutes just to read
       through that document.  Mr Cavender has the right to ask
       you some questions.  If you find a passage which deals
       with either of the two subjects, which I will remind you
       of just before you are going to do it, you will be able
       to say to him "It's page X, it's page Y", he can have
       the opportunity to ask you a few questions, and then if
       Mr Green wants to re-examine he can.
           I think that is the only fair thing both to you and
       to Mr Cavender.  He is entitled to ask questions about
       it, and you obviously can't read the document on the
       screen very easily and I don't want you to feel under
       pressure.  But it requires a hard copy from you tout
       suite, please, but obviously not within the next ten
           So we'll take a ten-minute break.  Mr Cavender, does
       that sound like a workable solution?
   MR CAVENDER:  Yes, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Ten minutes.  Thank you very much.
   (11.37 am)
                         (A short break)
   (11.46 am)
   MR CAVENDER:  Mrs Dar, we had you at 2 July 2014 having
       returned the signed contract, yes?  Then you are
       appointed, you took over on 19 November 2014.  Do you
       remember that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  One of the things you signed was the acknowledgement of
       appointment and we have that at {D1.5/3/1}.  Do you
       remember signing that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  It's a pretty straightforward document saying you agree
       to be bound by the terms of your agreement.  Do you see
       the first line?
           By this stage you had signed the agreement with
       Post Office, and I suggest to you it is pretty clear
       from this what agreement it is referring to.  Do you
       disagree with me?
   A.  Well, at this time it is not simple whatsoever.  There
       was a huge mess by that auditor, who was the signature
       of witness on there, and she had asked me to sign that
       so she could leave, to sign things off.  It was just
       a quick "Oh, sign here", behind the counter.  And it is
       not nearly as simple as that.  It was less than simple.
   Q.  It is very straightforward, isn't it, and simple that
       when it refers to "I agree to be bound by the terms of
       my agreement", it is referring to the agreement you had
       signed on 2 July that year?
   A.  Well, sitting here with it on the screen it looks
       simple, yes.  But with the circumstances it was far from
   Q.  There are very few words on this page, Mrs Dar, aren't
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  And you are an intelligent educated woman?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  This document is put in front of you and you are asked
       to sign it.
   A.  Uh-huh.  And you are in a hurry, you have opened late,
       you have an auditor who has caused an absolute
       shambles -- sorry to speak openly, but for the week
       before, and to be told "Just sign this" ...
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You don't have to apologise for speaking
       openly about things, Mrs Dar, just so you understand.
       All right?
   A.  Just so that she could leave to get rid of it, leaving
       me with a mess.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  How many documents approximately did you
       have to sign that day, do you remember?
   A.  I think two or three.  And it was a case of literally
       just "Sign it so I can leave, get away, and I'll leave
       you to it".  And for her to be allowed to leave ... that
       is disgraceful.  Sorry.
           So you can't say it is simple.  If you actually read
       what went on, I don't know why she is not answering the
       questions.  It is disgusting.  She has a lot to answer
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Don't apologise.  If you would like
       a few moments ...
   A.  No, it's okay.
   MR CAVENDER:  The only reason I asked you about this,
       Mrs Dar, is because of what you say at paragraph 95 of
       your witness statement.  {C1/5/18}
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It might be easier to look at the hard
       copy in front of you.
           "It was during that day [i.e. the day of handover]
       that Mrs Guthrie gave me a document headed
       'Acknowledgement of appointment'.  We were standing
       behind the counter at this time and Mrs Guthrie said
       I needed to sign it in order to take control and for the
       branch to be signed over to me."
   A.  As I just said.
   Q.  You don't quite say here what you have just said but
       leaving that aside.
           You go on to say:
           "Mrs Guthrie didn't explain the document to me or
       what any of the terms, 'my agreement', 'book of rules'
       or 'postal instructions' were intended to mean.  It was
       not and is not clear to me what these terms mean or
       which documents they include.  I don't think that I had
       a choice whether to sign this document, all the works
       had been completed and the branch was due to open that
       day.  I didn't have any time to consider the document
       and didn't understand that it was something which
       I might want to consider with a lawyer."
           Do you see that?  It's a slightly different tone and
       content, I suggest, to the evidence you just gave
   A.  Sorry, what was that last line you read out?
   Q.  It was the last line of the ...
   A.  You read out something about a lawyer.  It says:
           "This is not what I expected, and it meant that
       I was left entirely reliant on the Helpline if I had
   Q.  The last line was:
           "I didn't have any time to consider the document and
       didn't understand that it was something which I might
       want to consider with a lawyer."
           That is what you say.
           But the simple point is you are pretending in this
       paragraph 95, I suggest, that it is not clear, amongst
       other things, which the terms of your agreement are.
       And it's abundantly clear what your agreement is, isn't
   A.  No, it is not fair to suggest that, because I have
       explained exactly.  If you actually look even at the
       particulars you will see the issues that did occur at
       that time, and it is not as clean cut as you are making
       out.  It is far from it.  And it was a case of Margaret
       was just wanting to get away because she was going to
       Kilsyth Post Office, she was going to the next one, she
       had a timeline to follow.  She didn't really care how
       she got there as long as it was signed off and she was
       away.  It was a shambles from day one, from the day she
       walked in.
   Q.  None of that is in your witness statement.
           But let's move on because what is in your witness
       statement at paragraph 135 and following {C1/5/26} is
       the section where you deal with the audits and
       shortfalls, yes?  Without going to any particular
       paragraph, am I right in the general theme that you
       suggest that the deficits you suffered were the fault of
       Horizon, is that basically your position?
   A.  Yes, because if I am doing a daily, a weekly, a monthly
       audit and nothing is flagging up, how is it suddenly
       when auditors walk in -- announced or unannounced, may
       I add -- that there are suddenly issues with that?  It
       doesn't make sense.
   Q.  You would accept that having shortfalls in your branch,
       and we will go to the three audits in detail, but having
       deficits in round figures of £7,000 on the first,
       £2,000-odd on the second and £6,800 on the third, having
       deficits of that amount in the branch you are managing
       is a serious matter.  Would you agree with that?
   A.  It is a serious matter from the beginning.  It is
       something I did take seriously.  I would take the --
       keeping note of everything, of my finding the right time
       in the day to do my cash declarations, all of these
       things.  Of course, it is the most -- one of the most
       important aspects of having a Post Office.  It is not
       something I take lightly.
   Q.  Going through the various audits, the July 2015 audit
       first.  We see the result of that at {E5/215/1}.  You
       can see at the bottom the summary of the position,
       discrepancies on the left, cash on hand and following,
       and on the right-hand side the various differences.
           So cash on hand was minus £2,700, cheques for some
       £3,100, and forex, foreign exchange, of £3,676.  Over
       the page {E5/215/2} we see that all comes to a minus
       £10,000-odd figure, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  I think that cheques were subsequently found and so the
       amount was reduced to some £7,300-odd, is that right?
   A.  Initially when they were doing the audit they were
       claiming there was a much higher value of loss.  And
       then, yes, it got down to that.  And after the cheques
       were off, yes, it was just £7,000 something.
   Q.  Yes.  I think what had happened was some £1,978 in
       cheques had apparently been posted for the branch and
       not entered on to the system.  Do you remember that?
       That is what happened to those cheques.
   A.  At that time I had gone to visit my mother-in-law in
       Pakistan for ten days and Jaz, who was the previous
       postmaster's sister and had worked there for over seven
       years, did refresher training before I left to make
       sure -- and she claims she sent the cheques but didn't
       rem them out on the system.
   Q.  What was the name of that person?
   A.  Jasbir Kaur Sohi.
   Q.  Also this deficit seems to have been contributed to by
       the deliberate falsification of cash figures by her.
       And we can see that if we go to {E5/223.1/1}.  On the
       left-hand side here we have the declared figures the
       night before the audit, various bank notes we see there.
       So we have 326 £10 bank notes, for instance, and we have
       1,694 £1 pound coins the night before the audit.  On the
       right-hand side is the true figure the following morning
       when the auditors go in and, as you can see, there is
       nearly £7,000 of cash missing, there is only 22
       £10 notes, and some 324 £1 coins, for instance.  Do you
       see that?
   A.  I do see that.
   Q.  So I think you accept she had been deliberately
       falsifying the cash figure?
   A.  Well, it looks like that there, but in Lenzie a lot of
       people do withdraw high volumes of cash, so -- not of
       that value, but it would be possible that lots of
       cash -- I mean with the Post Office cash account card we
       had one lady taking £600 a day out, and that is only one
       customer.  I know obviously that is from one day to the
       next, but we had a lot of people withdrawing cash.  So
       for me to see a huge drop in cash wouldn't surprise me,
       but obviously of that value then I wouldn't expect so.
           But it has -- yes, we have been through a whole
       BidiSafe before, like the front safe, we have been
       through that in a day and a half or a day when it is
       particularly busy when people are withdrawing money.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  When you say "we have been through", you
       mean you've used all the money?
   A.  We have used -- you use a cassette at a time.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  A cassette at a time?
   A.  A cassette.  So a BidiSafe is full of cassettes of cash
       of £500 in each cassette, so you would use one at
       a time, and we have gone through that before.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Cavender is putting to you that these
       two documents, showing what they show and dated when
       they are dated, show that your assistant had been --
   A.  I didn't see these receipts, I don't think.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just let me finish.  The point he is
       putting to you is that you accept she had been
       deliberately falsifying the cash figure.
   A.  Yes, I was confused.  I had to -- I sacked her for gross
       misconduct at that point, because obviously I wasn't
       comfortable with whether she had or not or what was
       going on, so I had to do that.  And I sought legal
       advice to make sure that I did let her go the right way
       and she couldn't come back and get me for kind of
       sacking her in the wrong way or whatever.  I know that
       can happen.
   MR CAVENDER:  Just to be clear, Mrs Dar, you say a lot of
       people withdraw cash in Lenzie.  Not between these two
       figures, they didn't, because the one on the left is the
       night-time closing figure.  The auditors go in first
       thing in the morning, yes, along the right, close the
       branch, and true it is that they did this print-out at
       3.57, but there was no trading on the audit day.  Do you
   A.  Yes, that is what I explained there.  I said from day to
       day you could see a huge drop in the cash because of
       withdrawals but not to this value.  Yes, I agree with
   Q.  The foreign exchange money that went missing, if we go
       to {E5/224.2/1}, you have at the bottom Brian Trotter
       now on 13 August saying:
           "I am still unhappy about getting an explanation for
       the missing foreign currency ... no explanation for the
       falsification of Post Office accounts, which is a
       criminal offence."
           And your reply at the top:
           "I am totally confused by the foreign currency."
           You say you counted it on the Friday before you went
       away, concerned you must have placed it in the wrong
   A.  A couple of auditors before have said -- or, sorry,
       Brian did mention and also Margaret at one point that,
       oh, just be careful -- because we had such a small room
       area as a stock room where the safe was, just make sure
       you don't put anything down maybe in the wrong place or
       it slips down behind something, things like that.  So
       I think that is where I was just worried in case, from
       experience that they had advised me of, in case I had
       put it in the wrong place.  So you just worry what has
       happened to it because it is still unexplained to this
   Q.  Exactly.  So thousands of pounds of foreign currency
       just went missing?
   A.  That is as it seems, yes.
   Q.  And as you say, you held a disciplinary interview with
       Jasbir Sohi, and we see that at {E5/224/1}.  This is
       your email summarising I think the contents of that.
           Fourth paragraph down:
           "I advised her there is evidence that shows inflated
       cash and showed her the photo you sent me of the cash
           So you did have the photos at the time, didn't you?
   A.  I must have.  I didn't remember.  I remembered the email
       from Brian but I didn't remember that photo.
   Q.  So you had the clear detail of what had gone on, and she
       couldn't explain any of it to you, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then two paragraphs down, you asked why cheques weren't
       remmed out daily, you thought you had done it in
       training.  And again she had no explanation for that, as
       to why she didn't do it, whether weekly or at all.  She
       said she didn't know.  Is that also fair?
   A.  Yes, but it is normally daily for cheques.
   Q.  And then foreign currency, again we touched on that, it
       couldn't be found.
           In relation to that, were you concerned about her
       generally, that she may have been responsible for other
       parts of the deficit?
   A.  Obviously it puts doubt in your mind because you don't
       know.  You think, oh, could it be?  But then she was
       quite close to us because she and her husband had worked
       with my husband before and it was friendly.  You just
       said to people it was like working for family, and you
       wouldn't imagine -- or you wouldn't want to imagine that
       somebody would do that to you.  But then you are just in
       limbo, you don't know.  You don't want to think that
       about somebody, but then obviously the money is not
       there, so what has happened?  It is just -- you're
       totally stuck.  It's a horrible position to be in.
   Q.  Then there was an audit on 17 May, a deficit of
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  17 May 2016.
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, yes.  You had no explanation for that
       shortage, did you?
   A.  No, it just didn't make sense whatsoever.  And that is
       why at that point I did ask the auditor, John Fraser at
       that time, I said we can't go on like this, I need -- it
       is going to destroy us entirely.  It was even at that
       point.  But I was told it was self-audit.  I said "Could
       somebody come in and help me, just watch what I am
       doing, make sure I'm not doing anything wrong".  And
       I was just told no.
   Q.  So the audit was on 17 May and the £2,252.84 deficit was
       found.  Do you remember when before that you had rolled
       over into a new financial period?  Was it quite close to
       that or had it been some time away?  Do you recall?
   A.  I don't remember, I'm sorry.  I know it was a weekly --
       our weekly balance was a Wednesday.  I would always
       check the table on the wall for -- I wouldn't know off
       the top of my head, I'm sorry.  So we always had a table
       on the wall showing the end of your trading period, just
       so you get the right date of it, because different
       branches went by different dates.
   Q.  Because you were reporting monthly, yes, or sometimes
       five weeks but on a monthly reporting.  But were you
       doing daily cash checks and weekly balancing internally?
   A.  Yes, always do your -- when cash is delivered on to
       a premises we would always count it, put it into your
       bundles, obviously your folding notes are your 100s and
       then your bundles of 5,000s.  Those notes I keep a tally
       of and then the front till and the BidiSafe.  Those
       totals would all be added together.  So I would re-count
       the whole BidiSafe and till at the front and add
       everything together.
   Q.  If you go to {E5/233.1/1}, please.  This is now going on
       to the February 2017 audit.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  One of the things that -- at the bottom of that report
       you said you hadn't undertaken a full account of the
       cash and stock for about two weeks, relying instead on
       a running cash sheet total.  That doesn't seem a very
       sensible way of running an accounting system, does it?
   A.  It does.  It is the way I was shown on set up.
       Margaret Guthrie had said at the time -- she was the one
       that taught me how to count the cash, sort the cash, put
       it into rubber bands, the bundles, how to organise it,
       put the stock in the safe.  She had said "If it is me
       that has counted it, I know it's there, I know it's
       balancing, there is no need to open all the like 5,000
       bundles, or whatever, and re-count those".  Whereas that
       is what they are saying now, and that is what she is
       referring to in the last paragraph of that letter -- of
       that page, for about two weeks.
           Because I didn't physically open the actual bundles
       that I had counted myself.  They said in their own words
       there was no need to do that.  Why would I doubt that
       if, once I have done a rem in, once I have done my next
       balance, if everything is balancing why would I check,
       why would I try and break something if it is not broken
       at that point, you know ...
   Q.  So going then to the content of this audit, the loss of
       £6,870.85, we can see where the shortage is in cash of
       £7,000-odd, postage, stock differences, et cetera.
       Presumably the day before this audit again the question
       is: had you rolled over into a new financial period
       recently, or --
   A.  As I say, I don't remember.
   Q.  You don't remember?
   A.  That time, no.
   Q.  Because surely these kinds of figures, if you were doing
       daily cash counts, for instance, or a weekly cash check,
       then having £7,000 down in cash is quite a big figure?
   A.  Yes, exactly.
   Q.  And surely it must have come to your notice in advance
       of 6 February 2017?  Sorry, 3 February.  I apologise,
       3 February 2017.
   A.  No, at that time I wasn't -- I wasn't aware --
   Q.  You were totally shocked?  You thought you were
       balancing to zero, did you, immediately before this
       audit?  Is that what you are saying?
   A.  I never balanced to zero in one day since I opened the
       Post Office and I had queried that.  I had asked
       Jamie Haugh.  There are internal emails, external
       emails, everything.  He got documents for me from
       previous postmasters, and Margaret Guthrie and
       John Fraser and Caroline and Brian, all these auditors,
       or so-called auditors, had said to me at that time, "Oh,
       if you're 30 quid up or down, you are laughing".  So
       even they knew there was something not right with it.
           I have worked in -- I keep using the example of the
       City Inn Hotel when I worked there, because that is
       the most relevant example I have.  A till, okay, it
       might be only 150 quid or something float in a till.  If
       you are 50p up or down you need to account for it.  That
       is what it has always been like.  If you are something
       out you need to find it, you need to identify that.  And
       that is why I got a job like I did at the Hilton because
       they wanted somebody that had the hospitality experience
       that could investigate and analyse things, and
       I couldn't do it with this.  There are so many things.
           One night I was in the Post Office until quarter to
       eleven to try and fix things with my mum and dad
       standing there to try and help.  You phone and get
       fobbed off and they say "Oh, but we can't balance it for
       you".  What's the point?
   Q.  Looking at the comments -- looking at the screen on
       the February audit, the last few lines:
           "A review of the cash on hand found discrepancies in
       the declared cash (for example the £2.00 coin line was
       showing a declared amount of £800.00 when only £4.00 was
       on hand in the office)."
           Are you really saying the night before when you
       cashed up before this audit, you really thought there
       were 400 £2 coins when there were only in fact two.  Do
       you see the point I am putting?
   A.  Yes, I do.  But I went from running totals as well, they
       also give change to businesses and -- so it's
       a possibility, I don't know what has happened with it.
       That is why I explain there are so many things that you
       just cannot identify.  There should be ways of resolving
       your own issues.
   Q.  Did you, in order to roll over, as the terminology is,
       into the accounting period you were in at this time in
       order to get it to balance to zero, alter any of the
       figures in order to make that happen?
   A.  I have never altered figures apart from one time that
       the Helpline advised me to do that as a workaround to
       get around it.  I would never false account anything.
       If I have a mistake or an error I will face it head on,
       no matter what.
   Q.  So if you saw a deficit on rollover day, you would
       accept it centrally and raise a dispute?
   A.  Well, accepting something ...
   Q.  Sorry, I apologise.  I withdraw that.  You would have
       settled it centrally?
   A.  Yes, exactly.  You got your words mixed up but that is
       exactly the point I was going to make.  So if you are
       settling it, you are accepting it.  So why should you do
       that?  Because then you dispute it, and Post Office
       would just send you a letter to make you pay it within
       seven or 14 days or whatever.  That is the way I see it.
       You would just try and resolve something, hence why that
       day in particular sticks in my mind.  I was there -- you
       have to do your balance by 7 o'clock, otherwise it
       fails, and then they will ask you to do it the next
       morning.  But I was just there determined to get that
       done, to find an issue with it, and there were so many
       days like that.  And then people, customers, would say
       the next day "Is everything okay?  I saw your light on
       at 9 o'clock", or 10 o'clock or whatever, and I would
       say "Oh yes, it's fine", and I'm just thinking -- but
       I was actually there with everything out trying to
       resolve issues.
   Q.  So if you did find a problem on rollover day you would
       have settled it centrally and then raised a dispute by
       phone, yes?  That was the procedure and that is what you
       followed, is that right?
   A.  As I have just said, I wouldn't settle -- there was the
       £977, the mistake that Margaret Guthrie made, and that
       had to be settled and rolled over and whatever and then,
       yes, that apparently -- it was her error but I wasn't
       even advised any further of that at that point.  But
       anything else, I think there is maybe a couple of things
       I had, because I actually thought I had faith in
       the Post Office and I thought: I will get to the bottom
       of that and I will resolve it and they will come back to
       me and I won't need to do that.  But that is clearly not
       the case.
   Q.  Mrs Dar, I think you said you could never get it to
       balance to zero, yes?
   A.  Because I would be putting money in every day or money
       would come out of the -- I have a wee Tupperware with a
       green lid in the safe.  If it was up I would put the
       money in there because I knew it would come back.  And
       then the fact that the Paystation wasn't interfaced
       which, in this day and age, is just a joke.  It is not
       interfaced.  Why?  Spend some money on it.  Do that,
       make it easier for everyone.
           Because even those transactions, if they are not
       updated or whatever, data doesn't come through on time,
       you don't get your note in the morning to take your
       money out of a separate place where you are advised to
       put money, apart from your till, and put it in.  It is
       all just old school.
   Q.  I suggest to you again you knew the system was, which
       in fact it was, that if on rollover day -- because you
       balance, don't you, at that stage, and you then see if
       you have less cash and stock than Horizon thinks you
       have.  Am I right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And if you come out with a deficit, a negative figure,
       you have to do something with that before you roll over
       into the following financial period, am I right?
   A.  Uh-huh.  So you either put your money in the till or
       wherever --
   Q.  You either accept it --
   A.  Yes, accept it --
   Q.  -- or you settle it centrally and raise a dispute, am
       I right?
   A.  You could, yes.
   Q.  And what that does, by settling it centrally, it keeps
       it in your account, so to speak --
   A.  Or accept liability, yes.
   Q.  Keeps it in your account, and it is subject to
       a dispute.  And it allows you, am I right, the following
       Monday or the following day to enter into a new
       financial period with a zero balance?
   A.  Potentially you could, yes.
   Q.  Coming back to these coins and these 800 --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Before you answer that, can I just ask
       a point of clarification.
           In your longer answer before that answer to
       Mr Cavender, when you said you were putting money in
       every day, did that mean you were putting your own money
       in to balance it every day?
   A.  Yes, from the shop money, yes, our own business money.
       You did have to do that because --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I understand.  I just wanted to make
       sure I knew what you meant.
           Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  The £800.  What happened the night before?
       Because you closed the Post Office, yes, you have
       a declared amount here of £800, so 400 £2 coins, and
       then following morning when the auditors come there are
       only two.  So can you help me -- I am a bit confused --
       as to how that can happen without somebody entering
       a figure which is untrue?  Because the true figure
       presumably at the close of the Post Office is £4, two
       lots of £2 coins, and never 400.  Do you see?  Can you
       help me as to how you think that occurred?
   A.  I can't explain that.  The only possibility I can see is
       I have been going off a running total.  Because I had my
       separate coin safe, my main safe, the BidiSafe and the
       till, and unless I have got mixed up somewhere with it,
       I don't know, but as I say it is unexplained.  I would
       love to know the answer as well.
   Q.  As a result of this you were suspended.  Is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  There was a meeting and we see the report of the meeting
       and the internal Post Office document, {E5/34/1}.  What
       we see there is --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I'm not sure that is the correct
   MR CAVENDER:  It's {E5/234/1}.  This is a record of
       decision-making.  What it does, it summarises, if you go
       to page {E5/234/2}, the July 2015 audit at the top of
       page 2, at the bottom of page 2 the 17 May branch audit.
       And then at the top of the next page {E5/234/3}
       the February audit I have just put to you.
           What this then does is go through the factors to
       consider in terms of what they were going to do.  At the
       top of {E5/234/7}, "February Audit":
           "Louise was asked to explain her comments in
       connection to not counting the cash/stock for two weeks.
           "Louise explained she kept a total of the cash on
       sheets of A4 ... Each time money was taken out ..."
           Then at the bottom:
           "It was clarified this as user ID RDA ... completed
       cash declaration the day before the audit and was the
       only user ID all day - Louise explained that she stood
       by her husband as he completed the cash declaration as
       she was training him up."
           So your husband's ID is RDA002?
   A.  That is right.
   Q.  So he would have done the cash declaration in relation
       to the £2 coins?
   A.  With me.  I was training him.
   Q.  So you actually counted the coins and counted £400 of
       £2 coins, did you?
   A.  No.  As I explained, I think I must have just used the
       tally sheet for the coins, I am not sure --
   Q.  But whether they are £2 coins or any coins, in terms of
       cash you didn't have anywhere near the amount of cash
       that you say you had, do you see, the following morning?
       So whether it was £2 coins or £1 coins, I suppose one
       can imagine getting that wrong.  But getting the total
       amount wrong, how did you manage that?
   A.  I don't know.  As I say, we -- I was training him on
       that and I can't explain what has happened.
   Q.  Because in terms of these various losses, what I suggest
       to you is the most likely cause for these deficits were
       things done by you or your staff in the branch.
   A.  There are so many things to find.  With all of the
       audits I had questions on things because, as I say,
       I have always been one to investigate things.  For the
       Hilton, for reservation systems, for anything I do,
       I try and investigate.  And I had asked questions on
       certain figures that they said were outstanding that
       they didn't have answers to, different things, I had
       different -- I wanted to look in the system for
       different transactions to try and investigate this, to
       try and work it out.  But I was always ignored.  I had
       asked this three or four times.
   Q.  To be clear, I am saying these errors by you or your
       staff or dishonesty by you or your staff are the most
       likely causes, I suggest, for each of the deficits --
   A.  It is not, I can guarantee.  It's honesty.  I have been
       honest 100 per cent from start to finish.  It is not an
       option.  It is ludicrous to imagine that.
   Q.  In terms of investigations, what investigations did you
       in fact carry out in relation to --
   A.  None.  I was locked out of the system, I was locked out
       of Horizon.  They even tried to lock me out of my own
       shop because between the two of them they couldn't work
       out how to lock me out of the safe, I had to do it for
       them.  Really clever.  They asked me for my fob for the
       shop and I said "What?  I can't close my physical shop
       for you because you can't work it out".  They tried
       phoning King Security.  It's a safe company you need to
       phone.  I eventually said "Look, I will lock it out for
       you", whatever.  So we did it that way.
   Q.  You were running a parallel commercial business from the
       same premises?
   A.  Yes, that's right.
   Q.  And you cashed both businesses up at the end of the day
       and put the money in the safe?
   A.  The shop was completely separate.  The Post Office,
       everything was cashed up and put in the safe, yes.
   Q.  Is there not a possibility that there could have been
       inadvertently a crossover between the cash from one to
       the other?
   A.  No chance.  The shop money was kept in the shop till.
       We would only ever remove notes from the shop side.
       Really Rehman dealt with that, the shop was kind of his
       thing, and I dealt with the Post Office as my thing.
       You know what you are good at and that is the way we
       did it mainly, initially.  But, no, you would always
       make sure everything was separate.  We're not stupid.
   Q.  What about night-time?  Surely you'd take the cash out
       of the till and put it in the safe?
   A.  For the shop?
   Q.  Yes.
   A.  No.
   Q.  You left it in the till overnight?
   A.  No.  Any cash we'd take home with us.  It's a small
       amounts, it's a small shop.  You are talking £500/£600
       sales a day.  There is no way.  It is not big volumes of
       money.  With our shop it would be either you go to the
       cash and carry -- get up at 4 o'clock in the morning, go
       to the cash and carry, open at 6 or 7, or most of time
       you are trying to -- you have got your list, you go to
       the cash and carry straight after the shop shut, or you
       go home, have your dinner, go to the cash and carry or
           It is not a load of money we are building up, it is
       using and selling and investing as you go along in shop
       items.  It's not big volumes of money.
   Q.  If we look at the page on the screen dealing with
       the February audit, it is said there in brackets at the
           "... (it was explained to Louise that the manner of
       her accounting process, particularly not undertaking a
       full count of the cash on a daily basis, would make this
       very difficult if not impossible)."
           That is, an investigation.
           You must have realised that if you didn't have good
       accounting practices that when losses did occur, it is
       going to make it incredibly difficult for anybody to try
       and come in and help you investigate them?
   A.  I asked that from day one.  I asked why has this never
       balanced?  And Jamie Haugh was the only person, the only
       human being, that actually understood and tried to get
       answers, tried to get documents to assist me on that.
       Whereas I was just told -- you'd phone the help desk and
       they'd just say "Recount, recount".  How many times can
       you count the same cash, stamps and stock you have in
       front of you?  If you can't find an issue physically --
       well, Margaret clearly couldn't.  When she caused
       a problem she couldn't identify her own issues as
       an auditor, how was I supposed to?  She had been doing
       it for however many years she was telling me about.
   Q.  As I say, I have put the Post Office case to you.
           Training on Horizon.  You deal with that at
       paragraph 80 and following.  {C1/5/16}  Am I right in --
       I'm phrasing it -- saying you thought the training
       wasn't sufficient?  Is that ...?
   A.  Sorry, which --
   Q.  It's paragraph 80 onwards you deal with classroom
   A.  Yes, I do, because it was far from sufficient, and
       I expressed that at the classroom training as well.
       I think it is actually on a report there, that I did ask
       at the time.  Because they give you amber, green or
       whatever, however they think you have done on that
       training, and my concern was there were a lot of ambers.
   Q.  Can we remind ourselves what the training was.  Go to
       {E5/185/1}.  This was the training overview you got, is
       that right?  It's a three day course in the classroom.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If you go down the content of that, you will see amongst
       other things relevant to this debate stock balancing on
       the bottom left and an introduction to Horizon on the
       top right.  Is that right?
   A.  Yes, that is right.
   Q.  You had three full days, is that right?  Sort of
       a 9 to 5 type day?
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  And you were working on dummy terminals?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Computer screens with touch screens, and being taken
       through various exercises, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  In terms of practice sessions, if I can show you a few
       of them, see you if you remember any of these.  Go to
       {F3/196/1}.  Session 8 is a one-hour session.  And a
       Horizon online jigsaw practical exercise, is that
       something that rings any bells?
   A.  It looks like a projector, like an overhead or
   Q.  I am not suggesting -- I think these are the training
       ones you had -- in terms of coverage I am trying to get
       you to focus on.
   A.  I think I would remember a jigsaw practical --
   Q.  You can't?  No.
           And {F3/200/1}, an introduction to Horizon online
       and Helpline.  Do you remember a session --
   A.  No.
   Q.  -- about that?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That appears to be another jigsaw.
   A.  I am sure anything like jigsaw, I would remember
       something like that.
   MR CAVENDER:  Then {F3/205/1}, an aide memoire to balancing.
       This looks like something that has been perhaps given to
       you.  Do you remember --
   A.  Just give me a second to read it, please.
           I don't remember it.  But if it was something at
       training, I'm not sure, because I don't know why he is
       asking you to write down your ID and password, that is
       a bit strange for a start.
   Q.  It is telling you how to log in, I think it's reminding
       you of that.
   A.  Yes, but this has fields for user ID and password.  That
       is not advised for data protection, but ...
   Q.  The training you got here, together with the in branch
       training, was the training that was necessary for you to
       operate the system.  Am I wrong about that?
   A.  No, I'm sure it did show you -- it has a list here.  You
       were shown how to log in and do certain things alongside
       people that were running main Post Offices.  We were all
       in the same session together, strangely, but ...
   Q.  Then after the classroom stage, at paragraph 98 of your
       witness statement {C1/5/19}, you had in branch
       support/training for six or seven days, is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And that was pretty useful, having an experienced person
       there to hold your hand and remind you of things in the
       classroom training and hands on being very useful, is
       that fair?
   A.  It should be that way, yes.  Margaret Guthrie did set up
       a lot here, I am just looking to see how much is ... she
       had issues logging in initially which delayed things.
       It took her a couple of hours to log in.  She did show
       me how to count stock and cash and whatever and sort it
       and put it in the safe, in her way.  She didn't seem to
       manage to be able to deal with a busy shop very well,
       which surprised me, because the whole point of
       Post Offices going in to running shops is that they are
       successful shops, and that is the whole point, that it
       can be incorporated within that existing premises.  And
       she seemed to think it was too busy or too many
       schoolchildren, but a 15-minute rush of schoolchildren,
       surely that shouldn't concern you too much, it's a good
       thing that the shop is busy.
   Q.  You were given various manuals, I think, weren't you, to
       help you with Horizon, various manuals in the branch?
   A.  Yes, I was given wee folders and told "Just put those in
       your desk", she set up the desk for me, showed me where
       to put the labels and things, and just said, it's kind
       of normal, "It's your bedtime reading, I will leave that
       there for you".  So yes, there were some documents
   Q.  There were manuals on Horizon too, weren't there?
   A.  She gave me print-outs.  She set up a grey folder for
       under the counter, like the contacts and things.  So it
       would have the help desk numbers, the handy numbers
       I could add to.  There was a BidiSafe manual and I think
       there was a Horizon how to rem in and rem out in that
       folder.  So there were some documents yes.
   Q.  What about the training function within Horizon?  We
       have heard about, within the computer system, you could
       do some off-line training.  Were you aware of that?
   A.  I was aware of the compliance training that had to be
       done.  I can't remember if it was F10 or F11 you
   Q.  No, I am asking specifically on Horizon, that there was
       a training function within the computer system where you
       go off-line?
   A.  There was a function of sorts, yes, there was that
       there.  There wasn't always information.  You may go to
       a subject and it says there is nothing to show here.
       But it could be at times, yes, you could try and find
       something that could assist you in there.  It wasn't
       wonderfully helpful in any way but there were some
       resources --
   Q.  We have heard from other people saying they thought it
       was quite helpful although it was --
   A.  It depends what you are looking for.
   Q.  -- hard to log in and out, that is what we have heard.
           Helpline.  You deal with this at paragraph 108 and
       following of your witness statement {C1/1/21}.  Again,
       you criticise the quality of the Helpline.  I put to you
       formally that the Helpline did give you a reasonable
       level of help and assistance.
   A.  Sorry, which paragraph were we on?
   Q.  You start at paragraph 108 I think, and following,
       dealing with training support and Helpline.
   A.  Yes, that is correct.
   Q.  But in fact the Helpline was a helpful aid to you, was
       it not, when you had issues or problems?
   A.  No, not particularly.  I mean you phone, and I think on
       several occasions I did call and ask regarding I was
       having a problem.  They could help you if you couldn't
       find a stock code to order something and they could
       either order it for you or give you the code, fine.  If
       it was like your stamps or labels, special delivery
       labels or whatever.  But when it came to the issues like
       balancing, you were just told "We can't balance for you.
       Just recount or do a full -- go right up to your trial
       balance", things like that, just in case there is
       something.  So I did that on several occasions and there
       were still discrepancies, so you would just have to find
       it your own way.
   Q.  We have heard about something called a second tier,
       where you have the first tier of operators, perhaps the
       ones you are speaking of, and then there were people who
       they could take the point to if it was more technical or
       difficult.  It has been regarded as a second tier of
       Helpline.  Had you come across that?
   A.  I wasn't aware of that.  I am aware now, where I am
       working currently.  Obviously you have your main call
       floor which can sift your calls into what is more
       important and then those ones can be prioritised.  But
       I wasn't aware of that here, I was just aware of the
       hardware calls had to be logged and it was a number that
       directed you to America or wherever, and then there was
       this one.  But I don't know.  It probably depends who
       you got, whether they prioritised it or not or whether
       they were helpful.
   Q.  Go to {C1/5/23}, please.  Paragraph 118.  Read that for
           I suggest to you the Helpline operator never said to
       you that you could get around Horizon, let alone to do
   A.  I actually had a receipt for that.  I had a call
       reference and a name who told me.  I'm sure that was in
       my evidence as well.  Because I remember that vividly.
       That is why it kind of flagged up to me at the time and
       I thought: shouldn't be doing that.  Because even if you
       go in to adjust stock within Horizon, it says do not
       adjust stock unless advised to by NBSC.  It says on
       there.  That's where I thought: I can't be doing this,
       but they had advised me of it.  And then to change it
       back in the morning, so that is me over my TP, like
       my ... and then just to get on to let me function and
       then look into it.  I would speak to I think, I can't
       remember, I get the names mixed up, Jill Southern or
       Deborah Lamley.
   Q.  I suggest to you they didn't say that --
   A.  They categorically --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Hold on a second.  Mr Cavender said they
       didn't say that, and your response to that is?
   A.  Categorically they did tell me that.
   MR CAVENDER:  So how did you deal with that problem, then?
       Because you had this problem, you phoned them, and you
       say they suggested a workaround.  What did you in fact
       do?  How did you deal with the problem?
   A.  While I was on the phone with them I did as they said
       and I went into -- sorry, if I can even remember the
       system now.  I went into adjust stock, and I think that
       would be the stamp books if I am right in saying.
       I think so.  I went in and adjusted it and it let me do
       rollover, and then in the morning I had to change it
       back again.
   Q.  So you did falsify the figure?
   A.  I was advised to.  Not on my own authority.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That was as an overnight fix to enable
       it to roll over, was it?
   A.  Yes, just to let me roll over, to let me function the
       next day, yes, because I did write down details of that.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Cavender?
   MR CAVENDER:  I have no further questions, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Before you re-examine, because
       Mr Cavender does have an outstanding potential line of
       cross-examination.  Do you have a hard copy of the
   MR GREEN:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think it is 22 pages?
   MR GREEN:  Indeed.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  What I am going to do, Mrs Dar, I am
       just going to remind you of this.  This is
       the transcript of your interview.  If you could be given
       a copy.
   MR GREEN:  Would your Lordship like a copy as well?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  No, I can read it on the screen.  I have
       so many screens open, I am in a luxurious position.
       I am also used to navigating between them.
           There were two questions you were asked by
       Mr Cavender and I will just remind you what the subject
       matter was.  One was about the reservations that you had
       and the other was about anything said that made you
       think you would be working in partnership.  Okay?
       I don't want you to feel under any pressure so I am
       going to leave the room.  Do you think ten minutes ...
   A.  Yes, that would be fine.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So you have ten minutes to read it.
       Then when we come back -- in fact, if the witness could
       just be given a piece of paper to jot down any page
       numbers.  Then when we come back she is going to say
       which passages, if any, she says make those points, and
       you can pursue it if you want, Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, there is the third question about
       the need for legal advice.  There were two issues there.
       She pleaded that it was at the interview and then her
       evidence said it was at the meeting.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Or the second interview depending on
       nomenclature.  All right, if you would like to include
       that as well.
           There is also a third subject which --
   A.  Can I just write them down?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Of course.  So the three are:
       reservations, partnership, and then the third one is
       legal advice, although that was pursued in a different
       way on your evidence but it is worth looking at the
       transcript of your interview.
           If there are any passages in there which you say
       deal with those three things, when I come back in you
       can just say: it's this page, it's this page, or it's
       not included in the transcript.
   A.  Thank you.
   MR GREEN:  Can I just put down a marker --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  No, you can't actually.  This is one
       specific item arising out of cross-examination.
   MR GREEN:  Indeed.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I'm not interested in a marker.  You can
       make the point at the end.  This is simply to finish the
       cross-examination.  Because the witness was being asked
       about a particular document which she couldn't actually
       see and she can't be expected to remember the passages.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, completely.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Green, that is what we are going to
       do, and then we will finish the re-examination.  You can
       come back to that point at the end, if you want.
           So I am going to rise for ten minutes.  Does that
       give you enough time?
   A.  Yes.
   (12.40 pm)
                         (A short break)
   (12.50 pm)
   A.  So I will give you the number from the bottom of the
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Exactly right.
   A.  {E5/74.2/11}
   A.  Just even the fact that I had said:
           "Yeah so that is what my accountant was concerned
       about because he thought are you just getting occasional
       items or seasonal items and he said: that won't be
       enough, it won't be good enough for you so that's why
       you will be ..."
           Then I went on to saying there are a lot of richer
       people in Lenzie.
           Obviously we were just trying -- at that point it
       was discussion for where the Post Office was before and
       not moving it into our shop.  It is just trying to find
       the right things to sell that would make it a viable
   A.  And that has been discussed throughout the types of
       things we would be selling, not currently selling.
       I think that shows my concern.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Any other entries or is that the main
   A.  So, yes.  And just even talking about trying to speak to
       the council regarding to try and kind of haggle with
       rates and things to make it more affordable and speaking
       to the landlord --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Page number?
   A.  {E5/74.2/1} So that was her reservation.  So nothing was
       set in stone, nothing was "I will do it like this".  It
       was all we were trying to make it possible at that time.
           And also on {E5/74.2/23}, it's my concern there that
       with our shop of Day Today we were zero-rated because we
       did have the one shop.  The rule within East
       Dunbartonshire in Scotland is that if you have one shop
       and it's under a certain size it is zero-rated, so you
       don't pay your rates.  That is the council's effort in
       helping small businesses.  So I said:
           "And we're zero-rated, but even if we started the
       Post Office there is a chance the council will make us
       start paying rates on our shop as well because I think
       it's all on a certain size of property or on your first
       business, so if we take on another one and we're
       a partnership already ..."
           Obviously it could double, more than double costs.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I understand.
   A.  That was reservations.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is reservations.  Any others?
   A.  Yes, the legal advice, I may have got that confused
       between the two meetings we had.
   A.  Or not two.  But the partnership was ... yes, we talked
       about -- Brian Trotter spoke about working hand-in-hand.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Which page, please?
   A.  {E5/74.2/18}.  I think it is talking about customer
       service and working with two businesses, working
       hand-in-hand with each other.  He said:
           "Well, its both actually.  You work hand-in-hand but
       at this point in time even if we take out what is
       happening, so I will be honest ..."
           That paragraph.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you very much.
           Mr Cavender, do you want to pursue any of those?
   MR CAVENDER:  The first one, I think, this idea at the
       bottom of page 11 {E5/74.2/11}, that you express some
       reservations and Mr Trotter said don't worry, you've got
       good training.
           What you pointed to on page 11 at the bottom is
       talking about seasonal items, and mentioning your
       accountant was concerned because he thought you were
       just getting occasional items or seasonal items:
           "... a lot of people in Lenzie are a lot richer and
       you find rich people want bargains..."
           That is a million miles away from you saying you
       expressed reservations about taking on the
       responsibility of a Post Office.
   A.  No, it's not, because that is a responsibility.  You
       need to -- obviously if it is -- the whole point of the
       transformation is that the Post Office would be going
       into a healthy running business, you'd need to have
       a healthy running business for that to survive because
       there is no way that your remuneration would cover costs
       for rent or rates or both in a property.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Anything else, Mr Cavender?
   MR CAVENDER:  What I suggest, Mrs Dar, is that at the time
       when you wrote your witness statement, it wasn't known
       there was an existing tape-recording of this interview.
       It got misfiled in disclosure and it came out later.  So
       you were able to say pretty much what you liked about
       what happened at the interview and then you have been
       caught out by the fact that a tape-recording and
       a transcript has been later provided.
   A.  That is definitely not the case, because I remember
       specifically sitting at the desk beside the window in
       the Crown Office in Cumbernauld when Brian said to me:
       "If you don't mind, because I'm so busy, I've got so
       many branches", or whatever, "that I deal with, I need
       to record it because I can't remember everything.
       Obviously I've got a lot of work to do, a lot of driving
       to do ..."
           And I've got I think almost every single detail of
       that interview down to a T.  So for a couple of wee
       things to get mixed up between meetings or interviews,
       whatever you want to call it, I think that is not too
   MR CAVENDER:  It is not a couple of wee things.  We had the
       legal advice thing that you also say was included in
       this interview and I think you agree that it clearly is
       not.  You have now tried to move that into the
       subsequent meeting.
   A.  That is what I said at the time.  I did consider it as
       an interview but then the emails did confirm that it
       wasn't considered as an interview.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Understood.  Mr Cavender?
   MR CAVENDER:  Nothing further, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Green, any re-examination?
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, two small points.
                    Re-examination by MR GREEN
   MR GREEN:  While you have the interview notes, can you just
       look at {E5/74.2/13}.  The top box carries over from
       you.  This is you in the top box there.  Just look at
       the last three lines halfway across, and the sentence:
           "And the staff training ..."
           To the end.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then Mr Trotter gives you an answer, doesn't he, below?
       Describing training, in the box below.  Just have
       a look, please, at the last three lines of that box:
           "In this particular case it's simple because, like
       I say, PO Local has been designed with simplicity in
       mind and is straightforward.  That is the training!"
           What did you take from those words?
   A.  Reassurance.
   Q.  Thank you.  Could you please be shown {Day5/72:9} of the
       transcript for today.  This interlinks with another
       point, but look at the top line.  The question is put to
           "To be clear, I am saying these errors by you or
       your staff or dishonesty by you or your staff are the
       most likely causes, I suggest, for each of the deficits
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think then the answer should begin ...
   MR GREEN:  Exactly.  I think it was:
           "... each of the deficits you experienced ..."
           And you began to answer.  Can we just look back in
       your witness statement, please.  Because you gave
       an account -- it's a moment when you became quite
       distressed in the witness box -- about Mrs Guthrie
       leaving your branch.  It was suggested to you that
       the tone and content of what you had said at
       paragraph 95 was not borne out by your witness
       statement.  Can you look, please, at paragraphs 88
       onwards.  {C1/5/17}.
   A.  Yes, I am sure it was.
   Q.  Down to 91.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then can you be shown, please, 110 of your witness
       statement {C1/5/21} down to 112, just over the page
       {C1/5/22}, so you can see.  You mentioned in your
       witness statement that Mrs Guthrie at one point
       suggested that you may have taken the money but, apart
       from that, did anyone ever suggest that that £977 was
       the fault of you or your staff, either carelessness or
       dishonesty at the time?
   A.  Uh-huh, at the time it was saying: oh, have you taken it
       or -- I hadn't had much control at that point, so it was
       clear -- but then, as I said, she couldn't identify her
       own -- what she had done.  She didn't just go back and
       go over her own steps to see what she had done.
   Q.  Just a final couple of points on that.  When she found
       there was a problem, did she switch one of
       the terminals -- the terminal to training mode and have
       a look to see if she could find a way to resolve it
       through that?
   A.  No.  It was only a one terminal branch but, no, it --
       not that I was aware of.  She tried to blame it on
       a power cut.
   Q.  Did she refer to any of the manuals that you had been
       left to try and work out --
   A.  No.  She said she had been doing it for years.  She knew
       what she was doing.
   MR GREEN:  Thank you very much.  My Lord, no further
                 Questions from MR JUSTICE FRASER
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I have a couple of questions.  Right at
       the beginning of your cross-examination when Mr Cavender
       was asking you some questions about your prior
       experience -- and I will just give the reference for
       counsel.  It is page {Day5/4:16} of today's
       transcript -- you were explaining about when you were at
       the Hilton and you used an expression "operation of
       applications" and then Mr Cavender asked you a follow-up
       question, where he said "details of the applications".
       Did you mean the applications on the IT system?
   A.  Yes.  At that time -- well, with Hilton a lot has
       changed, obviously.  It is so fast-paced in IT, but at
       that time it was the DOS-based system.  So it was like
       your Fidelio, RSO and everything, and then obviously
       your .NET and all of those applications started coming
       in.  So all of those different applications that we used
       to operate the Hilton.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So when you started there it was
       predominantly the DOS-based ones?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  And then it moved to the .NETs?
   A.  Yes, because we had to learn all the programming for
       Fidelio and things.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That was then my next question, which
       was did you do -- obviously not in enormous detail, but
       did you do some programming?
   A.  Yes, small -- well, just for Fidelio, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  For Fidelio?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That's great.  Then my next question,
       I am going to show you a couple of documents first.  You
       have seen them already but it is just to put the
       questions into context.
           I would like to start, please, at {E5/234/2}.  That
       is a document which actually starts on the previous
       page, if we can go to {E5/234/1}.  Do you recall that
       document?  It's the record of the decision-making.  If
       you go to {E5/234/2} please, you will see there there is
       a passage which begins halfway down which says:
           "An intervention ..."
           I am just going to read it out to you and then take
       you to the next document:
           "An intervention visit was arranged following
       a request to investigate £3,121.44 of cheques identified
       as missing during the audit, with Mrs Dar believing that
       these cheques had been received by the Finance Service
       Centre and should have reduced the shortage accordingly.
       The visit took place on 30 October 2015 during which it
       was identified that £1,978 of cheques had been
       dispatched from the branch but not remitted out on the
       Horizon system.  The amount was remitted out during the
       audit on 15 July 2015 along with a £30 cheque that was
       on hand.  A further cheque transaction correction for
       £864.75 was issued after the audit and was offset
       against the shortage.  With these adjustments the cheque
       figure discrepancy was reduced to £278.66."
           I will show you another document and then I will ask
       you the question.  The document before that, please, is
       {E5/224.2/1}.  You will see there at the bottom on
       12 August 2015, second bullet point, is an email from
       you to Mr Trotter.  You say:
           "I have key questions to ask at this point.  It's
       now one month since Lenzie Post Office was 'temporarily'
       closed ..."
           Then you will see:
           "Cheques were initially accused of being missing -
       but turned up three weeks later."
           Then the final document in this series, although
       I am going in reverse chronological order, is
       {E4/224/1}.  You will see there this is a document which
       I think relates to the findings of the audit, and the
       second bullet point underneath "Acting on the advice
       given by the Post Office Limited" underlined it says:
           "It is now almost 1 month and no other cheques have
       been received by PO Ltd?"
           All of those three documents relate to the question
       of what are called "missing cheques"?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  If we can go back to {E5/234/2}, which
       gives a more complete or chronological analysis.  By
       cheques turning up or cheques being missing, am I right
       to read that as cheques which you had sent off but
       weren't being credited against your branch?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So they were showing as a shortfall, is
       that right?
   A.  Yes.  So when you had the cheques, at the end of the day
       you would rem them out on the system, you would fill in
       your wee slip, a bit like a Giro credit slip, that you
       would put in with it.  You would put it in your cheques
       envelope, plastic envelope, and it would go -- you would
       stamp it and it would go with the postman.  But that was
       always a concern of mine as well, because I think on one
       if not two occasions the postman has either come back
       running in going "I thought I'd lost this cheque" or
       whatever.  So it's not a very secure service for the
       cheques to be sent.
   A.  But, yes.  Yes, so they are remmed out on the system and
       then they wait to receive them and then they will
       confirm that.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  And by cheques "turning up" is that
       expression so far as you know being used to refer to
       them at some later stage being credited against your
       account on -- Horizon?
   A.  Yes, so it is probably just the way I put it --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just wait for me to finish, or is it you
       physically finding cheques in a drawer which should have
       been sent off but hadn't been?
   A.  No.  The Post Office actually acknowledging it and
       getting that.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So the actual cheques being credited?
   A.  Yes, exactly.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  All right.  Mr Cavender, do you have any
       questions out of that?
   MR CAVENDER:  I have one question, yes, just so we are
             Further cross-examination by MR CAVENDER
   MR CAVENDER:  You have a bunch of cheques and you have to do
       two things: you have to physically send them to
       Post Office, am I right?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  And you have to remit them out, or "rem" them out, on
       the Horizon system, am I right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And by remming them out, the Horizon system then credits
       them, yes?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  As a matter of accounting to your balance, am I right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Yes.  So the cheques not turning up, that is what
       Horizon assumes, yes, and then it compares, doesn't it,
       the reality of whether in fact those cheques do turn up
       with Post Office at the other end.  That is what is
       being discussed here, isn't it?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  Am I right?
   A.  Yes.
   MR CAVENDER:  Thank you.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I thought I had understood it, but let
       me just check.  If we look at page {E5/234/2} which is
       the one on the screen.  It says:
           "The visit took place on 30 October 2015 during
       which it was identified that £1,978 of cheques had been
       dispatched from the branch but not remitted out on the
       Horizon system."
   A.  So that is how it should be done, you should be remming
       it out.  It will print a wee slip for you, that you keep
       in your folder for that -- in your dailies.  You would
       fill in the slip for the total amount of cheques, you
       would stamp it, you would attach those, put it in your
       envelope, stamp the envelope and send it as a special
       with the postman.  But in this case it seems that Jaz
       had --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Sent the cheques?
   A.  -- not done it.  Yes, just given it to the postman.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  She had sent the cheques --
   A.  Just prepared it and sent it --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  -- but she hadn't entered it on the
       Horizon system?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Understood.  That is what I thought the
       case was.  Because the remitting out is something you
       in fact or your assistant in fact does in your
       Post Office?
   A.  Yes.  So that is you confirming that they are -- I have
       received these.  You can see it on the transaction
       listing, so that is you confirming that you have
       received them and that you are sending them to the
       Post Office.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Understood.
   A.  For preparation to be cashed.
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, nothing further.
   MR GREEN:  No, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you very much for coming, Mrs Dar.
       That is the end of your evidence.
   A.  Thank you.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Gentlemen, in view of the time, we are
       going to stop now.  You want to deal with your marker
       now, Mr Green, I imagine?
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, I don't.  I can address it in
       submissions.  It's fine.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is rather why I stopped you.
       Because I actually understood what it was going to be
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Each side approaches the evidence in
       different ways.  Not all of you -- and I'm sure the same
       might apply to you, Mr Green -- will necessarily always
       put good points.  But that doesn't mean, whether you
       think it is a good or a bad point, it can't be put.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, I was only concerned about fairness.
       But it is fine.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  If on any of the -- well, that is
       the last witness.  So it applies to Mr Cavender.  I'm
       sure if Mr Cavender thinks you are putting questions on
       an unfair basis to his witnesses then he will object.
   MR GREEN:  I am sure he will, quite rightly.
           My Lord, the last thing to raise is that, off his
       own bat, Mr Bates made enquiries about the people who
       had been in the mediation scheme who -- he gave
       evidence, do you remember --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I remember very well.
   MR GREEN:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Because I asked for a document arising.
   MR GREEN:  Yes.  He was then challenged on the document,
       about what the column meant.  So off his own bat I was
       told this morning he emailed the people to ask and has
       got responses from I think 40-odd of them, and I was
       going to ask for permission to recall him if that number
       isn't acceptable in evidence, to give evidence about
       whether they had a problem generally or whether it was,
       as he originally stated, that they didn't receive the
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think you are going to have to pursue
       that with Mr Cavender, decide if the point --
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am not saying whether any such
       application would or wouldn't be successful, but you are
       going to need a witness statement, you are going to need
       to weigh it up and also decide on the importance or
       otherwise of that particular issue.
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I'm not going to deal with round three
       now.  We will keep it as an exciting subject for
       a suitable point in due course.  We will start at
       10.30 am tomorrow.  You have two witnesses, is that
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, yes.  I am trying not to be a nuisance
       about Mr Bates, but if I am going to close --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You are being a nuisance actually.  You
       don't have a witness statement.  You are telling me you
       might want -- this is what you are saying, Mr Green: you
       are saying you might want to adduce some more evidence
       but you don't yet know and you haven't got a witness
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, the position is that a witness statement
       is being typed up.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Right.  You didn't tell me that.
   MR GREEN:  I am sorry, my Lord, I was trying to be brief.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Are you going to make an application to
       recall Mr Bates?  It doesn't actually have to be done
       before Mr Cavender calls his evidence anyway.  But, if
       you want to do that, you can give notice this afternoon
       I assume, if you haven't given formal notice yet, that
       you are going to apply and you might have an application
       tomorrow morning first thing.  Is that right?
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, yes.  Hopefully it can be dealt with by
       agreement but I want to give my learned friend the draft
       witness statement and see if it can be agreed and see if
       we can avoid the need for it.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I did ask for disclosure of that
       document because it seemed to me that I could look at
       the numbers.
   MR GREEN:  Absolutely.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I don't think I have had it yet, but
       then I did say --
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, I think it was the big spreadsheet.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Have I had it?
   MR GREEN:  I think it is the large spreadsheet with the
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, so we are clear, and I don't think my
       learned friend is being very clear, you asked for
       a document which was a schedule.
   MR CAVENDER:  That has certain categories along the top
       and I explained to you what they were.
   MR CAVENDER:  I managed to then find a document in the trial
       bundle which gives a narrative to what each of those
       boxes mean, and the particular box my learned friend is
       interested in had a number of reasons for being in that
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I understand.
   MR CAVENDER:  So those are the documents that are before the
       court.  What is now --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Can I have the reference to the second
       document?  I don't think I have that yet.
   MR CAVENDER:  I can get that, my Lord.  What my learned
       friend is trying to do now is introduce a hearsay
       document generated by Mr Bates going round to those
       individuals to ask whether, in their cases, although
       they told Second Sight they were in that box which, for
       a number of reasons, what was the particular reason --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It is to establish, as I understand what
       he has said, a more precise categorisation which either
       will or will not support Mr Bates -- I think his answer
       was roughly half or whatever the percentage was, for
       some reason because that is perceived as being important
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, yes.  I will take instructions but
       I imagine we will object to that.  The idea of Mr Bates
       coming back on the basis of some hearsay --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think both of you actually need to
       start looking at the wood for the trees, to be honest.
       It doesn't seem to me, speaking off the bat, it's
       a particularly important point one way or another.  But
       it may or may not be and, in the absence of seeing the
       witness statement, I can't really come to a view on it.
           Am I right therefore -- maybe I am not -- if you
       want to make an application, are you taking a particular
       position that, for some reason, this has to be done
       before Mr Cavender can call any witnesses?
   MR GREEN:  No, my Lord.  All I was concerned about was not
       to close my case without mentioning that.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Understood.  Fine.
   MR GREEN:  Just so your Lordship knew where we were in case
       we wished to do it and couldn't agree.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Understood.  Mr Cavender?
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, no, I have made my points.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  In terms of the technicalities of -- it
       is not a Crown Court.  It is not a question that you
       formally have to have dotted every I and crossed
       every T, which would then shut you out from making
       an application.  But I think I have given you enough of
       an indication of what I think the importance of any such
       application is and/or what its likely prospects of
       success are or lack thereof.
   MR CAVENDER:  I don't say anything.  I do need to give you
       a reference, my Lord, to the narrative document, which
       I am afraid I am failing to do at the moment.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Maybe it could just be emailed.  That is
       all I would like to know.
           Mr Green, in terms of timetabling and logistical
       organisation, you have a much more complicated task than
       Mr Cavender because you have 14 witnesses.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I have seen that on two successive days
       next week it is suggested you have four witnesses per
       day for two days running.  That is a lot of witnesses.
   MR GREEN:  It is.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just getting them in the witness box,
       sworn, et cetera, et cetera.  I am going to be
       revisiting timetabling with you at the end of every
       single day.
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Because you have to keep your eye on the
   MR GREEN:  We are planning it out.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Good.  That is fine.  I don't want you
       to take that sort of gentle hint as a suggestion that
       I think you haven't got it planned out.  I am just
       reminding you.
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So we have Mr Beal and Mr Williams
       tomorrow morning.  We will start at 10.30 am.  Thank you
       very much.
   (1.17 pm)
        (The court adjourned until 10.30 am on Thursday,
                        15 November 2018)

   MRS LOUISE PATERSON DAR (sworn) ......................2
       Examination-in-chief by MR GREEN .................2
       Cross-examination by MR CAVENDER .................3
       Re-examination by MR GREEN ......................91
       Questions from MR JUSTICE FRASER ................94
       Further cross-examination by MR CAVENDER ........98

Day 1 transcript - Wed 7 November - Opening arguments
Day 2 transcript - Thu 8 November - Claimants: Alan Bates, Pam Stubbs part 1
Day 3 transcript - Mon 12 November - Pam Stubbs part 2, Mohammad Sabir
Day 4 transcript - Tue 13 November - Naushad Abdulla, Liz Stockdale
Day 5 transcript - Wed 14 November - Louise Dar
Day 6 transcript - Thu 15 November - Post Office: Nick Beal, Paul Williams
Day 7 transcript - Mon 19 November - Sarah Rimmer, John Breeden, AvdB part 1
Day 8 transcript - Tue 20 November - AvdB part 2
Day 9 transcript - Wed 21 November - AvdB part 3, Timothy Dance, Helen Dickinson, Michael Shields part 1
Day 10 transcript - Thu 22 November - Michael Shields part 2, Elaine Ridge, David Longbottom, Michael Webb
Day 11 transcript - Mon 26 November - Michael Haworth, Andrew Carpenter, Brian Trotter