Monday 12 November 2018

Common Issues trial transcript: Day 3

This is the unperfected transcript of third day of the Common Issues trial in the Bates and others v Post Office group litigation. The hearing below took place on Mon 12 November 2018 in court 26 of the High Court 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.


Lead Claimant 2: Pam Stubbs - former Subpostmaster, Barkham branch (near Wokingham, Berkshire) - finishing the evidence she started giving on Day 2 of the trial.
Lead Claimant 3: Mohammad Sabir - former Subpostmaster of Cottingley and Crossflatts branches in West Yorkshire.

Pam Stubbs' witness statement.
Mohammad Sabir'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 3 full transcript:

                                       Monday, 12 November 2018
   (10.30 am)
                MS PAMELA JOAN STUBBS (continued)
           Cross-examination by MR CAVENDER (continued)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just two very quick points before you
           Last week I asked if a custom bundle could be
       created, if I did it internally with Opus for documents
       per day.  Has that -- on my Opus as of very early this
       morning it hadn't appeared.  It might be that it is in
       hand.  It doesn't matter just yet.
   MR GREEN:  We will check and make sure it is done.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Right.  Then the other point is just
       a reminder which I am sure you know about anyway.  On
       Wednesday of this week is when we have to stop at
       3 o'clock.
           Right, Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  Good morning, Ms Stubbs.
   A.  Good morning.
   Q.  We are about to move on to deficits operation of your
       branch more generally.  Before I do, can I ask you a few
       questions about errors in branches generally and
           Would it be fair to say, in the years you were
       a subpostmistress, that the Post Office staff were very
       rarely physically present in your branch during normal
   A.  Could you say that again.
   Q.  That during all the years you were a postmistress,
       Post Office staff were very rarely physically in your
       branch during the time of your operations?
   A.  No, I wouldn't say that at all.
   Q.  On a day-to-day basis, when you open up at 9 o'clock and
       go through to 4 or 5, generally you and your assistants
       are the people in the branch doing the transactions?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Yes.  And the Post Office staff are not there, they are
       not able to see what you are doing in terms of selling
       stamps, in terms of taking cash, in terms of remming out
   A.  That depends at what times that was happening.  Because
       for the majority of the time that I was in charge of the
       branch we were a two position Post Office, which meant
       there were usually somebody else in the Post Office
       branch with me.
   Q.  But it wasn't a member of Post Office staff, was it?
   A.  You mean Post Office as in the wider range of
       Post Office?
   Q.  Exactly.  In terms of supervisory, in terms of the audit
       people, the Post Office management?
   A.  We didn't have any Post Office management with us at
   Q.  Exactly.  I am just --
   A.  I wasn't sure what you meant by Post Office staff, that
       was all.
   Q.  Okay.  What I am talking about is supervisory staff,
       audit people, other people from the management aren't
       there.  You're running the branch on your own with your
       assistants.  That is the obvious point I'm --
   A.  Yes, I understand you now.
   Q.  Okay.  So when you count cash or hand cash to customers,
       Post Office doesn't know how much you are handing to
       those customers, does it?
   A.  I presume not since they are many, many miles away.
   Q.  And if you handed the wrong amount of money to them, or
       took the wrong amount of money in, Post Office has no
       way of knowing that?
   A.  No, I presume not.
   Q.  If you enter the wrong figure into Horizon, higher or
       lower, again Post Office has no way of knowing that is
       what you have done?
   A.  No, they wouldn't.
   Q.  If one of your assistants was dishonest and took
       a couple of hundred pounds out of the till, Post Office
       would have no way of knowing that?
   A.  Post Office itself would have no way of knowing but
       I would.
   Q.  You may or may not, depending on whether you were in the
       branch at the time.
   A.  Or even at the end of the day because I always, except
       on the rare occasions when I wasn't in the branch at
       all, I was always aware of the overnight cash and
       roughly how much money had come in, if you like, in
       bulk, and £200 is a bulk amount.
   Q.  But obviously if assistants take money, put it in their
       bag or pocket and leave, you don't search them, do you?
       You have no way --
   A.  No, no.
   Q.  So just with those quite basic, obvious things out of
       the way, at paragraph 88 and following of your witness
       statement you deal with what I am going to refer to as
       the portacabin losses, ie those that commence really
       when you moved into the portacabin.
           Do you have a hard copy of your witness statement?
   A.  No, I prefer the screen.  I find the hard copy quite
       hard to turn over.
   Q.  Yes.  It's {C1/2/21}.
   A.  Thank you.
   Q.  Paragraph 88 is, as I read it, where you start dealing
       with the portacabin losses.
           If we go to the page before that {C1/2/20},
       paragraph 87, we see from that that you had run the
       branch for some eight years, I make it, with Horizon,
       without any particular problems with Horizon, is that
   A.  Apart from the period when I had power outages, when
       certainly the balance issues were quite spectacular.  It
       was pretty much like being on a choppy sea.  It would be
       up one week, down the next, and I was having, I think
       the maximum, up to 36 power outages in one day.
   Q.  So leaving that this one side, the electricity supply
       thing which magically -- or you say magically seemed to
       sort itself out, or maybe an electrician sorted it out.
       Leaving that aside, up to this point of the portacabin
       losses you had no particular problems with Horizon, is
       that right --
   A.  Not really, no.
   Q.  What I am saying is fair, that you didn't have any
       particular problems with it?
   A.  No.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  As in you agree?
   A.  Sorry --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It is just if counsel is saying you
       didn't have any particular problems, and you say no,
       I assume --
   A.  No, I didn't have -- I agree with what you're saying.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You are agreeing.
   MR CAVENDER:  I am obliged.
           In terms of -- before we go to the specifics, you
       employed up to about six assistants, is that right?
   A.  Over that nine-year period.
   Q.  Yes.  Do they change over time regularly?
   A.  Not really.
   Q.  You had some people --
   A.  I had a couple of staff when I first took over who
       stayed a long time until they decided to emigrate, and
       obviously couldn't work.  From then on, I think staff
       lasted perhaps two or three years at a time.
   Q.  There were errors in the branch over the years, I could
       point you to various examples, where you did have
       difficulties in terms of money going missing,
       deficiencies, things of that kind.
   A.  Yes, I had some shortages and I had some surpluses, and
       I dealt with those by and large by the means that we
       have heard about before where you have an envelope in
       the safe and you keep a note of surpluses and put the
       money in.  If there was a shortage then you made a note
       of that on the outside of the envelope, removed the
       money, and put it into the Post Office cash.
   Q.  In terms of these deficiencies we are talking about at
       the moment, this was due to error of you or your staff,
       were they?
   A.  I think the largest of them was actually my own error.
   Q.  Can we look at a few of them so we see what we are
       talking about.  {E2/6/1} please.
   A.  I have no idea what this one is, I am sorry, I don't
       recollect.  It is there, and I know it is there because
       I have signed it.  I actually can't remember what that
   Q.  You have a shortage of £393 and then a surplus of £529,
       it seems.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  But was that typical of the kind of problems you had on
       an ongoing basis?
   A.  No, not on an ongoing basis.  This was typical of
       the sort of shortage and surplus that I had around the
       time I was experiencing the power outages.
   Q.  Go to {E2/9/1}, another such example of the £578.02
   A.  Is this not the same one as the previous one?
   Q.  I'm not sure it is.  We haven't gone into huge detail
       and analysed them.  You may be right but I don't think
       so unless you can point to something which --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Can we go back to the other one.
   MR CAVENDER:  {E2/6/1} --
   A.  The £529.23, this was --
   Q.  The £529 is a surplus, remember and this is a deficit.
       So seems to be a different number, but I'm happy for you
       to tell me --
   A.  One is November, one is July.
   Q.  Exactly.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Are these both pre-Horizon?
   A.  I cannot exactly remember when Horizon came in.  It was
       about the time that Horizon would have been put in the
   MR CAVENDER:  On the same theme, I don't want to spend too
       much time on this.  If you go in the same bundle
       {E2/14/1}, this is 5 April now 2001, a letter from you
       outlining the number of three separate cash shortages.
       367, the robbery --
   A.  These were definitely -- this letter was written after
       the power outages, so I would assume that those, the
       shortages and surpluses, were due to the power problem
       I had.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Why don't you just read it first.
   A.  I have read the last paragraph which reminded me what
       I said.  (Pause)
   MR CAVENDER:  I think you can see from {E2/14/1} that this
       was during the time of your electric problems.
   A.  Yes, it was.
   Q.  That is also supported by a document my learned friend
       asked me to take you to at {E2/10/1}, power failures.
       I don't think I need to ask you more questions about
           In terms of {E2/24/1}, this lists a whole number of
       transaction corrections over a significant period.  So
       {E2/24/1}, again I'm not going to take you through all
       of these, but if you go to the first page, I'm not
       sure -- in mine they are not actually paginated, I'm not
       sure if they are on the electronic bundle?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  We are not there yet, Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  {E2/24/1}, please, which should be a table.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  We will just pause for a second.
           How are we getting on?  (Pause)
           I'll tell you what I am going to do, rather than put
       people under pressure with everyone waiting expectantly,
       I will rise for five minutes.  So if you can get the
       equipment sorted out I will come back down at ten to.
   (10.44 am)
                         (A short break)
   (10.52 am)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  We have an issue.
   MR CAVENDER:  Apparently somebody from Opus is on their way,
       we are told.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Someone is on their way?  All right.
           I'll tell you what we will do.  Mrs Stubbs, you may
       as well leave the witness box.  I will rise, and if
       someone comes and gets me when it is sorted out.
           I don't want whoever it is to feel under ridiculous
       pressure and then crash it again in 10 minutes, so take
       enough time to set it up properly for the day, and then
       we will see how much time we have lost and we will catch
       up somewhere.
           All right, Mr Cavender?
   MR CAVENDER:  Thank you.
   (10.56 am)
                         (A short break)
   (11.07 am)
   MR CAVENDER:  Mrs Stubbs, we were looking at {E2/14/1}, and
       some of transcript seems not to have -- the system went
       down during that discussion.
           So if we go back to {E2/14/1} briefly, do you
       remember that was the letter I think you were reading?
   A.  That's right, yes.
   Q.  The last paragraph talks about magical skills and
       electrical problems.
           These were the type of problems that you had in
       April 2001, is that fair?
   A.  Yes, that is probably fair to say, yes.
   Q.  Then going on in time to {E2/24/1}.  This is later in
       time now.  This is a document of transaction corrections
       from 2006 onwards.  So this is much later.  Your
       electricity supply has been sorted out by now, that was
       2001, so some years later.
           If you go to the third page of that, the top of the
       it, left-hand column, the date is 14 March 2008.
           Row number?  I don't have row numbers on mine.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Where do you want us to look?
   MR CAVENDER:  It's the 14 March entry.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  On the left-hand side, 2008.  Yes, row
   MR CAVENDER:  If you look at that page, we can see
       a transaction to the right, batch control voucher,
       12 January.  It shows one cheque of £74.88.  This amount
       has not been claimed through Horizon and remmed out,
       therefore £74.88 is allowed.  Evidence sent by post.
           And then on the 31st of that month we see on
       25 February remmed out is a total of £1,470 by your
       office but amount sent and received was £1,900, so £488
       wasn't remmed out.
           Then going down to 2 June 2008, we have value
       £12,500 booked out through Horizon but not collected.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Which was the date of the third entry?
   MR CAVENDER:  2 June 2008.
           There are many others, I could go through them all.
       My question is simply: is this typical of the kind of
       errors that you had in branch caused by you or your
       assistants at this time?
   A.  These I believe were -- at least the first two were
       batch control vouchers which were cheques which had to
       be remmed out after ... After being totalled at the end
       of the day, they were then remmed out as batch control
       vouchers and went out in the red and white striped
       envelopes to batch control centre.
           I did I believe at that time have one assistant who
       seemed to have a mental block.  She would rem them out
       possibly once and then rem them out again and again,
       and I found out from the Helpline how I could reverse
       these to bring them back to normal, and it is possible
       that I didn't actually bring them completely back.
           The third one -- I don't know if I would say they
       were normal, we are --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Can you tell me what "remmed out" is
       shorthand for.
   A.  Remitted out.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Remitted out.
   A.  So you can remit out money and -- you can remit out
       cash, but at the end of each day you totalled cheques,
       added them up in branch, totalled them, and then in
       order to clear them off the system you had to remit
       them.  I'm not quite sure where they were remitted to
       but it was a requirement that you remit them.  And she
       seemed to have a mental block with this one, which was
       why I took to standing over her quite often to make sure
       they were correct.
   MR CAVENDER:  So leaving the errors behind.  Obviously there
       are many others -- I'm not taking you to all of them,
       I am just giving examples to you.  In your witness
       statement, paragraph 88 and following {C1/2/21}, is
       where you start at 11 November 2009 with what I have
       called the portacabin losses.  I am going to that area
   A.  We seem to have jumped again.  I have a witness
       statement of ...
   Q.  Can we go please to {C1/2/21}.  What you do in
       the paragraphs following paragraph 88 is summarise your
       shortfalls during the period from December 2009 through
       to May 2010.  I am going to summarise just so you
       understand the context of my question.
           So you have shortfalls of various amounts: in
       December of £2,500-odd, in January of £9,000-odd,
       February £8,400, April 2010 £7,900.  You then give
       notice in May of 2010 --
   A.  I am taking your word for that because that is not what
       I have on screen.
   Q.  On 15 May you have a shortfall of £5,000-odd, on 25 May
       a shortfall of £3,200. I'm just going through order of
       magnitude --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think, Mr Cavender, the witness thinks
       you are taking her through her witness statement.
           What Mr Cavender is doing, he is just reading out to
       you the figures and the dates over that eight-month
           Is that --
   MR CAVENDER:  That is exactly right.
           What you get to is, from December 2009 to May 2010,
       a shortfall of some £28,000-odd during the portacabin
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Does that sound about right?
   A.  That sounds about right.
   MR CAVENDER:  In relation to losses, before we go into those
       particular losses, in terms of procedure for losses, you
       knew the procedure was to settle centrally and dispute
   A.  No, at that time I didn't.  When it started I didn't.
       Because the first two, the one on 11 November was
       an apparent shortage of £388.88, and I was told that
       I ought to pay it because it was probably a piece of
       paperwork that had got lost in that move and it would
       turn up as a transaction correction.  So I paid that in
   Q.  Shall we look at what happened in relation to
       the £9,000-odd one, the January one.  That is when we
       get a bit more light shed on this.  So it's {E2/40/1},
       this is the £9,033 one and this is 27 January 2010.
           It says at the bottom, I think my learned friend put
       this in opening:
           "This statement excludes any items currently in
       dispute ..."
           Or it is meant to.
           We then have your response which is at tab {E2/42/1}
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  We are going to have to increase the
       size of that, please.
   A.  It's okay, I can read it.  Unless you can't, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I can't actually.
   MR CAVENDER:  Fifth paragraph down:
           "When I received the last reminder I rang the
       accounts office and was told that unless the matter had
       been reported as in dispute they could do nothing.
       I was unaware that this had not been reported as a
       dispute ..."
           In relation to that conversation you had, is it
       possible that when you first raised the matter with the
       Helpline you raised it as a query and asked about it and
       didn't formally say "I want to raise a formal dispute
       about this amount", is that possible?
   A.  That is entirely possible.  I wrongly assumed that if
       I rang the Helpline and said "I have got this shortage,
       I don't think it is right, what can I do about it",
       I thought that automatically meant that I was disputing
       it, because I didn't understand it, I didn't believe it
       was right.  But it wasn't until the £9,033 one came up
       that the words: you have to actually declare it in
       dispute.  If you don't say those words it doesn't count,
       and that is when I discovered what to do.
   Q.  At tab 42 we have that letter.  If we go to {E2/44/1} we
       have at the top of that page the response from
       Post Office where they say:
           "I confirm this matter is being investigated so we
       have put the request for payment on hold until
       a conclusion is reached."
           So effectively you agree with me they take on board
       that you intended to dispute it and then went into the
       dispute mechanism, effectively.  Is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Thenceforth you are aware of that procedure and you
       followed that procedure for the subsequent deficits?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Yes.  And there was no problem with following that
       procedure for you?
   A.  No.  I -- I could only investigate as far as I could do,
       and I expected that if I declared them in dispute that
       Post Office would actually investigate at their end and
       between us we might find out what had happened.
   Q.  And you didn't have to manipulate your accounts to
       affect the system?
   A.  Absolutely not.
   Q.  You honestly declared what you needed to declare and
       were open about it and settled it centrally with
       the dispute.  That is what you did?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  And when you settled it centrally with
       the dispute, what was the outcome?
   A.  Nothing.  It just sat there.  That is why it grew to
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You just agreed with Mr -- I must
       misunderstood then.  You just agreed with Mr Cavender --
       he said you settled it centrally with the dispute ...
   A.  Yes, if you settle it centrally but declare it in
       dispute, it -- I'm not entirely sure what happens but
       I think -- I think my cash account reverted to zero.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Let's just call it X, the X thousand
       stays in dispute.
   A.  It stays in dispute.  And I assume that Post Office is
       investigating at their end as I was investigating at my
       end and checking along with all the data transactions,
       the data logs I had, that there were no outrageous
       entries on the computer.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Understood.  But so far as your
       accounting, that reverts to zero for the next period?
   A.  Yes.  Although I would say that because I -- I believed
       that my trading statement wasn't accurate from the time
       this -- in January I did not sign a set of accounts
       because they weren't correct, as far as I was concerned.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  All right.  Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  Going into this period of basically early
       2010, the portacabin period, what assistants did you
       have working for you?
   A.  What assistants?
   Q.  Yes.
   A.  I had a lady who had been with me for some considerable
       time.  You want names?
   Q.  Yes.
   A.  Anne Watts.  I had one other assistant who had come to
       me I think just before we moved into the portacabin, her
       name was Philippa Gilham.  I think that ... and I had
       one lady who literally worked on a Saturday morning
       because it was busy.
   Q.  Was there a stage when suspicion fell on any one of
       those individuals in relation to the portacabin losses?
       Did you at any stage have any concerns or worries that
       possibly they may have been involved?
   A.  No, not with those.  With Anne Watts, yes, I will say
       that I -- she was not a methodical mathematician, put it
       that way, and I had a little booklet in which we kept
       overnight cash figures, and she was the one person that
       never took on board the idea of putting all the single
       figures at that side, then the tens, then the hundreds,
       then the thousands, to make it easier to add up before
       you entered the overnight cash figures.  Which meant
       that it was fine because if they were wrong, I could see
       that -- that it was her mathematics that was wrong, and
       I knew exactly who had done it and I was able to go back
       and put it right.  And check.
   Q.  What investigations did you do into any of those members
       of staff in relation to any part of the £28,000 loss?
       Did you ever sit them down and try and interview them
       and get to the bottom of whether they might have been
   A.  They knew what was going on.  In fact, everyone who came
       into the portacabin knew what was going on.  They were
       as worried as I was.  They knew that I was -- if you
       like, I had an overview for the entire time, and that
       I was watching everybody.  And I had -- with those
       particular people I had absolutely no doubts that they
       were honest, if you like, as honest as I felt I was.
   Q.  Did you ever sit them down and ask them questions about
       particular days or particular transactions to try and --
   A.  How could I?  Because I couldn't pick out particular
       days or particular transactions.  This was the point
       that I always made with -- whenever I dealt with my
       contracts manager, that I could sit and look at my
       transaction logs, and I did do this, I went through them
       for hours looking at one week's transactions.  And you
       can look at one side of the problem for as long as you
       like and you might, if you are very lucky, pick out one
       figure that looks out of place because somebody -- it
       never happened, but in theory I did what the Helpline
       told me to do which was look for extra noughts.  So it
       would be a £9,000 pay out instead of a £900 pay out.
           It never happened, I never found it, and I never saw
       anything that looked in the least bit suspicious.  And
       to pay out £9,000 too much in a matter of two and a half
       weeks I think would have involved every single customer
       being given too much money.
   Q.  Let's have a look at that as an example.  Go to
       {E2/43/1}, please.  This is an intervention request form
       from Post Office.  There is some narrative on it I want
       you to look at.  So {E2/43/5}, this is after a visit on
       16 February.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The bit I want you to concentrate on is the second to
       last paragraph where he says:
           "I also explained to Pamela that as her office deals
       with few regular Alliance & Leicester business customers
       who regularly deposit large amounts on automated process
       (bar coded) or card based deposits to check their books
       or paper work as wrong amounts can be fed through, ie
       £900 as £9000 ..."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Isn't that kind of a problem a distinct possibility in
       your case if a particular assistant had a blind spot --
   A.  If this --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Wait for the question.
   Q.  -- and repeatedly made the same error, that is
       a possibility on a transaction like that, isn't it?
   A.  The very large Alliance & Leicester automated
       transactions were one specific customer, and I was the
       only person that dealt with him because he actually came
       in before 9 o'clock on his way -- he ran a garage
       forecourt business and he handed his money in in sealed
       bags, I checked them in sealed bags and checked that
       each bag was correct, and I then entered his amount in.
       And I think in about six to eight months I made one
       mistake and I discovered that mistake almost within
       about an hour.  I then telephoned him and we were able
       to correct the mistake.  And there were one or two
       occasions when he had miscounted on his side and a bag
       of £1,000 would be £20 short, and then he would correct
       that as far as I was concerned.  So by the time they
       were sealed in the Post Office, with that one exception
       which was one of my mistakes, they were correct.
   Q.  But getting away from that particular gentleman to this
       kind of example more generally, it is the sort of thing
       that could easily happen, isn't it, putting in the wrong
       number of noughts?
   A.  It probably could, yes.
   Q.  In relation to Post Office investigations, you said
       I think on Thursday how upset and angry you were at
       times because you felt as if the Post Office didn't
       really do anything in terms of investigating portacabin
       losses, do you remember?
   A.  I do.
   Q.  I want to test that with you.  In terms of chronology,
       you moved into the portacabin in October 2009 and before
       then I think we have agreed there were no major
       shortfalls, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So for ten years or so you balanced the branch well with
   A.  I believe so, yes.
   Q.  Early on in December 2009, as we have discussed, you
       thought that calling in to discuss a problem was
       sufficient but you subsequently learned you had to say
       the word "dispute" or make it clear that you were
       engaged in a dispute.
           From early on in the process, Post Office was
       investigating the problems at your branch and you were
       told about that.  If you go to {E2/44/1} to remind
       yourself of what you were told at the time, I think this
       is a document I showed you earlier but in a slightly
       different context, the £9,000-odd demand was being put
       on hold subject to an investigation.
           If you look at the other said of the fence, you
       wouldn't have known this at the time, but if you go to
       {E2/33/1} there is a log here.  In line 20, column H
       there is text in capitals.  Do you see that:
           "Had call from Judith at Horizon saying this ref and
       problem had been investigated four times.  Is not
       a software issue."
           Do you see that?
   A.  That is alright, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mrs Stubbs, I need to read it as well.
   A.  Sorry.  I assume I am the only one with really bad eyes.
       I beg your pardon.
   MR CAVENDER:  Then there was a visit to your branch on
       16 February by Mr Tanveer, do you remember that?
   A.  I do.
   Q.  He took papers and records away to consider and reported
       on 19 February, I think, that he couldn't identify any
       problems.  Do you remember that?
   A.  I think he couldn't identify any problems from the
       trading statement that he took away and any other papers
       that he took away.  He looked at the, if you like, the
       mathematics that I was producing from my transaction
       logs and said that I -- he told me I was doing right
       thing by doing that.  He also I believe said that there
       weren't enough stamp sales to actually -- or sales from
       the branch to account for the losses that were there.
       But he did admit that as I was only looking at Horizon
       figures, which were the trading statements, he didn't
       expect to find anything.
   Q.  I think he also confirmed, didn't he, that he wasn't
       able to find any evidence of suspicious activity at that
   A.  That is right.
   Q.  What else did you consider as possible causes for these
   A.  I couldn't consider anything else at all, except that as
       far as I was concerned, Horizon was a hidden partner in
       our accounts.  I had no idea what Horizon was doing.
       I discovered some considerable time later in 2014 that
       things happened when you remitted out or prepared bags
       to remit out, and also that there are entries on the
       Horizon server side of the accounts which it was
       admitted that a subpostmaster would never know about and
       never see.  And I am sorry, that was what I had always
       believed to happen.
           I knew we hadn't done anything as wrong as this --
       we had some small losses, but certainly nothing of this
       magnitude, and I firmly believed that this had come from
       the Horizon side of the accounting procedure because
       nobody could see that.  I wasn't allowed to see it.
       I asked on many, many occasions that somebody from
       Fujitsu, Horizon would come and sit with me to compare
       even one day or one month of their logs with mine to say
       that they were exactly same.  And there was nothing --
   Q.  You mentioned Fujitsu.  Can we go to what they were
       doing in the background.  You didn't know this at this
       time, but you seem to be suggesting Post Office and
       Fujitsu weren't doing anything.
           Go to {E2/53/1}, I want to show you some emails from
       March 2010.  Page {E2/53/5}, please.  The bottom email:
           "Morning, Christine."
           And you will see:
           "Please see attached copy of intervention visit to
       the above branch regarding large losses.  Branch was
       moved into a portacabin in October last ..."
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Sorry, I can't see that at all.
   MR CAVENDER:  {E2/53/5} at the bottom:
           "I have spoken to the contracts manager ..."
   MR CAVENDER:  So it's bottom part of that:
           "Please see attached copy of intervention visit ...
           "Spmr has experienced losses since that time which
       she is attributing to Horizon software issues and not
       human error.  Also states this has been reported to the
       Horizon technical team - is there any evidence of this?
       The current loss stands at £17,670.65 made up of the
       following ...
           "These discrepancies are causing the subpostmistress
       a great deal of anxiety.  Could you urgently investigate
       them and report your findings back to me ..."
           So it seems Post Office weren't just sitting on
       their hands, were they, they were trying to engage
       Fujitsu in addressing their minds to the problem, is
       that fair?
   A.  They were engaging Fujitsu.  But as I did point out to
       Mr Allen when he came back to me within 24 hours after
       I had again asked for something to be done, it seemed to
       me that his investigation was to telephone Fujitsu and
       say "Is there a problem?", they would say "No", and that
       was the answer.
   Q.  Pausing there, if you go to the email at the top of the
       page {E2/53/5} you had the Fujitsu answer:
           "We have sent this call to SSC several times now and
       they are insistent there are no software issues with
       this branch ... conclusion they have to ..."
           Et cetera.
           "... there isn't really any further investigations
       that we can carry out.
           "However, if you are able to detail what checks have
       been carried out ... to rule out user error we can
       clarify ..."
           Et cetera.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  What does SSC stand for?
   MR CAVENDER:  I'm not sure, my Lord.
           Fujitsu support centre, I am told, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  SSC, Fujitsu support centre.
   MR CAVENDER:  I am not claiming I know each word but that is
       the net effect of -- service support centre.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is a Fujitsu department?
   MR CAVENDER:  Indeed.  So they are saying they have done
       everything, et cetera.
           Then we see at the bottom page of page {E2/53/4}
       that Post Office again aren't really accepting that:
           "Chris.  The reason for attaching the intervention
       report was to give you precisely the information SSC
       might require.  Please get them to investigate further
       based on Junaid's report. It is not satisfactory for FS
       to just 'shrug your shoulders', so to speak. This is a
       serious issue for the branch and Post Office ..."
           So they weren't just sitting on their hands and
       taking the first answer, were they?
   A.  It appears not.  But then they do say if they "can't
       progress it, I shall have to escalate".  But it never
       escalated and I would have expected that in order to at
       least -- how can I put it -- stop me from bombarding
       them with telephone calls, letters, that they might have
       actually said, "Okay, we will go out and we will compare
       the ARQ", which is the Horizon server logs, "with this
       subpostmaster's transaction logs".  But there was
       an absolute refusal to do it until I believe I saw
       an email in autumn of 2010 when somebody at Post Office
       said "We might actually have to get this ARQ and do
       a comparison even though it is time-consuming and quite
       hard work".
   Q.  When you say "transaction logs", are you talking about
       the printed out ones from Horizon?
   A.  No, the ARQ are the Horizon server logs.  I don't know
       what that means but they are the Horizon logs.  My
       transaction logs were the ones that I printed out which
       actually recorded just the transactions which had been
       acted out on my own terminal in the Post Office.
   Q.  As I understand it, it's your case that -- I think it is
       accepted that prior to the portacabin period Horizon was
       fine.  We know that after you left and another
       postmaster got involved there were no further problems
       with Horizon.
   A.  So --
   Q.  If you go to {E2/104/2}, an email from Nigel Allen of
       13 September 2010 referring to:
           "She [ie yourself] is alleging her losses of £28,000
       are due to problems with the Horizon system after it was
       relocated into a portacabin ...
           "Can you advise whether a case is being raised on
       this?  Given the fact we have not experienced similar
       losses with the temporary subpostmaster who was
       appointed after Mrs Stubbs was suspended and the same
       Horizon kit is being used ..."
           So it seems after your period of you and your staff
       using the same Horizon kit there weren't any
   A.  I will accept that.  I never said that there was any
       problem with the hardware, but it was -- and I have to
       say it was common knowledge that Horizon, Fujitsu were
       able to remotely access the computer system, which is
       why I wanted this done before I was moved out of the
       portacabin.  In June we were due to move into the new
       building, and I had consistently asked that any
       investigation, any examination, was done before it was
       moved out.  And in the end I was suspended, terminated,
       the Post Office was empty for I think almost two weeks
       and didn't re-open, and in my cynical frame of mind
       I would say that gave Fujitsu, Horizon nearly two weeks
       of ample time to reconfigure, which they can do
       remotely, before the new subpostmaster came in and took
   Q.  Pausing there, if you would.  You said a moment ago it
       was common knowledge that Horizon, Fujitsu were able to
       remotely access the computer system.  From when do you
       say it was such common knowledge?
   A.  Amongst the postmasters I had spoken to from quite early
   Q.  When would you say?
   A.  Probably before I moved into the portacabin.
   Q.  I see.  The document I have just shown you involving
       bundle {E2/104/1} is one of the ones you refer to.  Go
       to --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just before we go off that, I think just
       out of fairness to the witness, you put it to her that
       after she was removed, everything worked -- I can't
       remember the exact phrase you used --
   MR CAVENDER:  It balanced accurately.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It balanced accurately.  Is that what is
       being said in the middle email?  Because the two
       substantive passages in the middle email seem -- I say
       two substantive, actually it's the second and third
       substantive passages, don't necessarily sit with that
           Would you like to just read them carefully,
       Mr Cavender, and decide how you want to proceed with the
       witness.  (Pause)
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, I don't think I can proceed any
       further than I have really.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  But you put it positively to her, and
       yet those two passages say that after she left
       an auditor went in and sat with the subpostmaster who
       must be her replacement for half a day.  That made
       matters worse.  And then the next sentence, the second
       sentence of the next paragraph says:
           "The auditor supposedly witnessed all transactions
       for half a day and witnessed Horizon being short,
       thereby corroborating her account and also now
       a potential witness for her when in fact clearly he
       cannot have witnessed everything."
           That is rather different from the way you put the
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, it is.  I think, my Lord, this is
       dealing with the time when an auditor sat with
       Mrs Stubbs.  I think.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is one possibility in which case
       you have to put that to her.  Because that I understood
       from an answer three answers ago is what she said she
       was asking and didn't happen so, if that did happen you
       need to explore that with her.
   MR CAVENDER:  So was there a time when the auditor came and
       sat with you for half a day, while you were doing
       transactions, to look over your shoulder and identify
       any problems?
   A.  There was.  I have to say that my Post Office counter
       was probably that big (indicates), he sat there,
       I sat -- stood here.  I only had one stool.  He did
       a cash balance at 9 o'clock when we opened.  He
       literally sat, watched each transaction I did.  He did
       a cash balance at 1 o'clock when we closed.  And the
       Post Office had lost £190 in that time.
   Q.  This was Mr Tanveer?
   A.  No, this was Rajinder Gihir who also came to do an audit
       in my Post Office.  And when the auditors come, they do
       all the audit figures on their own laptops.  They don't
       use the Horizon terminal, they have their own laptop.
       And he spent I think the better part of the morning and
       he did the audit, found that it was short, and said,
       "Okay, all we have to do now is transfer these figures,
       everything I have entered, on to your Horizon terminal.
       It will come up with the same figures".
           When he did that it came up short another £376.  And
       he and I then spent the next -- it was a very hot day,
       and I think we spent about three hours re-entering all
       the figures, checking that we had re-entered them
       correctly, and in the end he just said "I am sorry, I am
       going to have to accept the Horizon figures", and added
       another £376 loss to my audit.
   Q.  I am going to return to the £190 in a moment in
       a separate piece.  But just drawing those questions
       together, it is fair to say, isn't it, contrary to the
       impression given in your witness statement, that
       Post Office was doing some investigations behind the
       scenes, it was engaging Fujitsu to try and get people to
       get to the bottom of whether there was a software
       problem in your branch?
   A.  I ... To all intents and purposes, yes, they were, until
       you read the top email on 17 September where it says:
           "I think in a nutshell we need to decide if the
       investigators who have the knowledge to sit and sift
       through what has been provided along with the ARQ and go
       and see what the subpostmaster is holding.  I think it
       is going to be an onerous task but I don't see how we
       can let it go considering she is questioning the
       integrity of Horizon."
   Q.  Pause there, Mrs Stubbs.  You are right about that, but
       that was with a view to starting a criminal
       investigation, do you realise that?  That was in
       connection with a further investigation, as you can see
       from the context of the emails, talking about asking
       some pointed questions under caution.  That was a very
       different thing.  You can't infer, can you, from that,
       that there was no investigation advanced, I suggest to
   A.  I was investigated, I was interviewed but not under
       caution.  I don't know why they didn't.  I have no idea
       why they didn't.  I spent the following four years
       waiting for somebody to knock at my front door.  I did
       at one point on the telephone say to Mr Allen that if he
       actually thought I had stolen this money, would he
       please send somebody to arrest me, and I would quite
       gladly go to court with the evidence that I had.  I was
       advised to do this by one of my customers who was
       actually a local chief inspector at the time.  He said
       "Just tell them to arrest you".
   Q.  Can we move on from this to two examples that you give
       in your witness statement where you I think infer that
       Horizon is the issue or Post Office somehow has behaved
       in a way they shouldn't.  And just go through them with
       you to see whether in fact, on an analysis of the
       evidence, that is true.
           The first is the £7,000-odd, that you deal with at
       paragraph 117 of your witness statement.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The so-called missing cash, do you see that?  It's at
       {C1/2/27}.  I think start at 116 to be fair {C1/2/26}.
           Just read paragraph 116 and 117 to yourself to
       remind yourself of the subject matter.
   A.  Could we start with 115?
   Q.  Of course.  Just remind yourself of the context.
           So middle of 117 {C1/2/27}, what it comes to is
           "... Post Office was still trying to pursue me for
       [the £7,000] four years after the cash centre had
       confirmed it had been received."
           That is the main thrust of the complaint, isn't it?
       What happened in fact, correct me if I am wrong, is that
       on 25 May 2010 you sent a cash remittance
       to Post Office, didn't you, and you entered into the
       system that you were remitting £22,000?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You agree with that?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  In fact £7,000 of that didn't go into the envelope,
       did it?  It was left in the branch?
   A.  That is explained in the previous paragraph.  Mr Gihir
       arrived as I was part-way through preparing my
       remittance, and in order to prepare a remittance you put
       cash in a plastic bag, you then have to print a little
       chitty, if you like, that says what is in that bag and
       it records the bar code of that bag.  I had completed
       one and sealed it.
           Had I completed the second one and sealed that in
       the same way before Mr Gihir had arrived he would have
       accepted it as a sealed bag.  He arrived as I was in the
       middle of putting the cash in that bag.  I had printed
       the little slip that goes inside -- you have one that
       goes in the bag and one that stays outside which the
       Cashco men take.  Because I hadn't sealed it, he said
       that it was -- he was quite happy for it to go but he
       needed to double-check that the cash was right because
       it wasn't sealed at the time.
           Cashco then arrived while he was doing it --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  When you say "doing it", you mean
       counting the money?
   A.  Counting the bags of money.  I think there were some --
       obviously there was £7,000 in there.  So they would have
       been either £1,000 cash bags or £500.  I didn't do it,
       I had nothing to do with that because he had taken over
       effectively at that point.  So he did the cash
       remittance, he sealed it up, he sent it out with Cashco.
       And then afterwards we discovered -- he discovered,
       whoever -- that there was £7,000 worth of notes still
       sitting in the cash drawer.  I didn't because I, apart
       from preparing the slips for the remittance, had no
       input on the terminal at all.
           So I think Mr Gihir rang cash centre and said,
       "Right, is there anything we can do?"  They said no,
       that it had to be entered as a shortage, which it was,
       and there would later be a transaction correction, but
       that I would be able to send the £7,000 to get rid of it
       from the branch with the next cash remittance that
       I did.  And that I did ... I can't, I think it was --
       the 25th would have been possibly a Tuesday so it went
       on the Friday of that week.
   MR CAVENDER:  Can we follow some stages because what you are
       saying is absolutely right, I think.  But let's follow
       it in stages and see what happened in terms of the
       accounting of the extra £7,000.
           {E2/66/1} is a letter of 27 May from Post Office to
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Notifying you that it has found the remittances £7,000
       short.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You say in your witness statement, we have just seen it,
       paragraph 117 at the end, that Post Office's story or
       account of the £7,000 is nonsensical.  Do you remember
       that?  You said that in your witness statement.  Yes?
   A.  Where do I say it is nonsensical?
   Q.  The last words of 117. {C1/2/27}
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So do I understand this right, that you think you have
       been wrongly pursued for £7,000?  Is that your complaint
   A.  Yes, I believe so.  And I think rightly so in that I --
       I didn't not put the money in.  I didn't account for it.
       The money was sent away.  I believe a transaction
       correction came through after I had been suspended, so
       I would have had absolutely no knowledge of it at all.
       I believed that Mr Gihir had done all that was
       necessary, because he is an auditor after all, he knows
       the system, and he spoke to the cash centre in Bristol
       and he dealt with that at the time.
           All I know is that that £7,000 was still in my debt
       list, as it were, in April 2011.  I believe it was still
       in amongst the debt that I had in 2014, in August.  And
       I think there is an email at some point when the £7,000
       was discovered in an account at Post Office and was then
       taken off, but I -- I'm not absolutely sure when.
       Because I think it was accounted for at some point when
       they did the closing audit, which is why my closing
       audit was a surplus, not a loss.  But it was still on
       the debt list and on the debt letters that came out,
       certainly the one in April 2011.
   Q.  Sorry to interrupt.  Can we be clear, then.  You are
       saying the Post Office did in fact receive the missing
       £7,000 after all but it failed to record that receipt
       and it has wrongly chased you for that amount.  Is that
       what you are saying?
   A.  I'm not saying anything, because I didn't do the
       transaction to record that it was -- that it had been
       left behind.  I knew it was short because we had it
       physically there.  I don't know what Mr Gihir did to
       counteract that.  I know that I sent the £7,000 a week
       later but that would have been a separate transaction.
   Q.  Pause there for a moment.  The remittance you made
       later, let's say it was £20,000.  Let's assume you had
       to remit a week later £20,000, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The £7,000 was -- well, pause there.  So you remit on
       this basis £20,000 a week later?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you tell Horizon you are actually remitting £20,000,
       don't you?
   A.  Yes, it is entered on system.
   Q.  You don't in fact send £27,000 and only tell Horizon you
       are remitting £20,000, do you?
   A.  No, because that is what happened when the audit was in
       process.  He said that there was -- I don't know how
       much in the envelope, but there was £7,000 short in
       the envelope.  Which is why we got the letter coming
       through saying that my remittance was short by £7,000.
   Q.  No --
   A.  At that point I could only ignore it, and the next
       remittance that went out included that £7,000 plus what
       would have been remitted out anyway as a natural course
       of things.
   Q.  What I suggest happened is you remitted accurately and
       said you remitted that which you did remit a week later.
       So although physically it might have been the £7,000 you
       had in your safe, yes?  And you took that with whatever
       else you were going to remit at the end of that week,
       and put it together, and told Horizon you were remitting
   A.  Yes, if we are talking hypothetically.
   Q.  So what that would have done, you would have remitted
       the £7,000 once, ie the week later, but you have
       recorded remitting it twice.  Once when it wasn't taken,
       and once when it was taken as part of the remittance
       that you remit out of the system.  That is what
   A.  Yes.  But the first time the cash centre recorded that
       there was £7,000 short.  They sent a letter to my office
       saying that it was £7,000 short and saying that there
       would be a transaction correction coming through at some
       point.  So that, as far as they were concerned, meant
       that they had actually accounted for it so there was
       nothing for me to do at that point.
           The £7,000 went back into the safe and it was then
       treated as any other cash that I had in the office.  It
       didn't have red lines on it that said, you know, this
       is -- this is suspect money and you must not touch it or
       you have to account for it separately.  It was there.
       And the next remittance I did, that £7,000 went in and
       joined the rest of the money --
   Q.  Pausing there.  And it did so accurately.  So if you
       have £15,000 for the rest of the money, plus the £7,000
       of the old money, you remit on Horizon £22,000?
   A.  Right.
   Q.  Right, so --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Have we finally stumbled on
       paragraph 34(i) of the Defence, which is exactly the 15
       plus the 7?
   MR CAVENDER:  Exactly.
           So what happened, I don't want to spend much more
       time on this.  At {E2/85.1/1} is an internal Post Office
       document.  It's the left-hand column, "TP6"?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Which has the effect of relating to the cash rem of the
       25th of the 5th, 2010?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  A notional receipt -- and it is notional -- on the 11th
       of the 6th.  So it's not a real receipt.  This is
       a correction, as you call it a transaction correction.
       It's not called that, it is done by -- it was called
       a TP6.  But what it's doing is recording a correction to
       the account of £7,000 on 11 June.  Not because anything
       happened on 11 June, £7,000 more was not received, that
       was just when they did the correction.  Do you see?
   A.  Yes.  Yes.  But I had already -- sorry, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You answer the question and then ...
   A.  I had already been suspended at that point.  I was
       locked out of my office, I would have known nothing
       about it, and Post Office obviously didn't write to me
       as a normal member of the public or a human being, they
       only sent it as a transaction correction, which somebody
       somewhere should have noted would never have received --
       would never have been received or seen by me because
       I had already been suspended and locked out.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just to clear up this one point, I see
       you have a file in front of you.  Is it your witness
   A.  It is, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Will you turn, please, within that to
       page 27 which is paragraph 117 {C1/2/27}.  The one that
       Mr Cavender did have on the screen.
   A.  Yes, 117.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  On the screen I would like, please, the
       individual Defence which is {B5.2/3/19}.  If that could
       be scrolled down so it begins -- you can see
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  This is the passage that you are being
       asked about because this is the passage which in your
       witness statement you say is nonsensical.  All right?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  If we can go to the next page, please
       {B5.2/3/20}, you see at (i), just read what it says at
       (i).  (Pause)
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is the point Mr Cavender was
       putting to you, I think.
           Is that right, Mr Cavender?
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord it was, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So that point is being put to you, that
       that is what happened.  Do you see that?
   A.  That is the day -- it's exactly what happened.  But
       25 May was the day of the audit.  So it is not the
       claimant or an assistant, it was actually I began the
       process --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I understand.
   A.  -- and the auditor completed it.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I understand.  So it's 25 May that you
       accept only £15,000 went in cash but it should have been
   A.  I agree, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Back you to, Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  So what I have just described happening was
       explained to you was happening by Mr Gihir at the time.
       If you go to {E2/120/1}.  I shouldn't say "at the time",
       actually.  This is retrospective, looking back.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  This is what Mr Gihir says and it is really the last
           "When I got in touch with the cash centre they said
       that a TC will be issued to resolve the money left
       behind.  That was the last I heard about that matter
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What I have described to you with the TP6 transaction
       correction on 11 June is what happened.  So Post Office
       weren't chasing you for £7,000 that somehow you paid
       again or was found on 11 June, all that happened was
       a transaction correction that was necessary because of
       the mistake was effected on that date.  Did you see?
   A.  I can see that it is there and I can see that it was
       done on that date.  However, when I received I think
       possibly the last debt letter that I ever received
       in April of 2011, the £7,000 was still listed on the
       reverse of that letter as part of my debt and it hadn't
       been removed from there.  Whether they were ever
       actually going to chase me for that particular bit
       I don't know, but it was still there at the time, and
       they didn't always total everything that was part of the
       debt on the back of the letter, but this particular one
       had everything listed there.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mrs Stubbs, if you look at the document
       in front of you, the email at the bottom which is dated
       12 April 2011, do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just read the first two lines of that to
       yourself, please.  (Pause)
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Have you read that?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Does that help you?
   A.  Not really, because the next sentence says:
           "The rem shortage forms part of her debt but it
       looks like she thinks the £7,000 was sent in the next
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Understood.
   MR CAVENDER:  But the thing is it wasn't, you see.  With the
       greatest of respect, I think you are confusing the
       physical sending of the £7,000 on one hand and its being
       accounted for on the other.  So yes, in the subsequent
       rem the £7,000 was sent but it was remmed out on Horizon
       for the second time.  The first time that 7,000 was
       remmed out was the day it was mistakenly not taken, and
       the second time it was remmed out was when it was
       included in the subsequent week.  So from an accounting
       point of view you have remmed out £14,000, but you have
       only actually sent £7,000 in cash once.  That is what
       I am suggesting these documents show and why there had
       to be a TC.
   A.  I agree.  But the TC was sent, I had no knowledge of it,
       I knew nothing about it.  All right, if I hadn't been
       terminated I had at least been locked out of the office.
       I had no access to any transaction correction which
       might have come through.  As far as I was concerned
       I didn't deal with that shortage in the rem,
       Rajinder Gihir did.  And when I discovered in 2011 that
       it was still forming part of my debt I think I am
       justifiable in perhaps feeling that it had never really
       been removed from my own debt.  Because I didn't know
       that it had been reversed with a transaction correction,
       I had no idea.  That was done by the person that came in
       after me.
   Q.  Go to {E2/85.1/1} and look at that again and I will put
       a final question to you.  This is the reference to the
       TP6.  What someone seems to have done on your side is
       say, "Oh, right, here is a document here.  Here's
       Post Office saying they received the £7,000 on 11 June,
       therefore this is something else to complain about and
       what Post Office says is nonsense".  When the truth is,
       I think you have accepted, that this was just a method
       of transaction correction effected on the 11th of the
       6th to deal with an earlier mistake.  So it is not that
       they were chasing you for £7,000 twice, it was just
       a recognition of a transaction correction.  Isn't that
   A.  This might very well be.  I didn't see this until fairly
       recently.  I was going by the letter, the debt letter
       I received from Paul Kellett, and by an email
       subsequently, an internal Post Office email.  I think
       the gist -- I can't remember exactly where it is in
       here, but the gist of it was, oh, by the way, there is
       £7,000 which is in some Post Office account which had
       never been taken out.  It was still sitting in that
       Post Office account despite the fact that the
       transaction correction had been sent.
   Q.  Can we move on then because I think we have had exchange
       on that.
           So that was one example.  The other example is £190
       when Mr Gihir was in the office and you deal with this
       at paragraph 112.  You touched on this earlier and
       I said I would come back to it {C1/2/25}.
           Your position is that a loss of £190 occurred when
       the Post Office auditor was there, yes?  That is
       essentially what you are saying?
   A.  Yes.  Could we go down beyond 112.  {C1/2/26}
   Q.  Read as much as you like to familiarise yourself with
       what you have said.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  I am going to focus on the £190 though, if I may.  It is
       right to say whilst Mr Gihir was there you continued
       trading and serving customers, is that right?
   A.  Yes, that was the whole reason he was there.  He was
       there to observe me in the Post Office serving.
   Q.  So this was an intervention, if you like, as opposed to
       an audit.  In an audit all transactions stop, am
       I right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You had been trading before 09.00 that day, is that
   A.  I would have to check dates and times on transaction
   Q.  Go to {E2/107/1}, at the bottom there, an email from
       Mike Wilcox:
           "Nigel.  A couple of points which may help in
       the meantime."
           This is 25 October, so after the event:
           "When she says that the auditor did a cash check at
       09:00 and 13:00 on the 10th May there is no Horizon
       record of this so cannot say either way, however she had
       been serving customers before 09:00 and the last
       customer at 09:00 was a withdrawal of £190.71. (£190 is
       the shortage she is disputing)."
           So pausing there, is it not possible that Mr Gihir
       counted the cash in the relevant till before you carried
       out that transaction and, more importantly, before you
       passed the cash for the customer for that withdrawal?
   A.  Sorry, I don't understand what you are saying.
   Q.  Given that you were serving at the time --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- and Mr Gihir, to make his calculations, has to do it
       at a certain stage, doesn't he, on a certain basis?
       Isn't it possible that in doing that he counted the cash
       in the relevant till he was checking before you carried
       out the transaction, ie the giving of the £190.71 for
       your withdrawal, and before you passed the cash to the
       customer?  Because that would mean the declared cash at
       the start of trading would be 190 too high relative to
       what it should be.  It is a question of timing,
       isn't it?
   A.  I am actually not willing to swear to any timings
       because there are -- if Post Office is referring to the
       information they have from the ARQ, that did not change
       to British summertime whenever it should have done.  So
       unless I see a document that has the date -- the times
       on it, I can't confirm at that time of year whether the
       Post Office is running one hour behind or not.
   Q.  Ignore that point for a moment and just --
   A.  But --
   Q.  What I am saying to you is a possibility, based on your
       timing point.  Subject to that, given the close
       similarity between £190 that was withdrawn at 09.00, and
       given that is when the auditor did his cash count, it is
       perfectly possible the discrepancy arose in the manner
       I described.  That is a possibility, isn't it?
   A.  Anything is a possibility, yes.
   Q.  I would say it's a high likelihood --
   A.  No, it's a possibility.
   Q.  Would you agree it is a likelihood given it's the same
   A.  I wouldn't, I am sorry.  It's like I was serving
       customers before 9 o'clock and the last customer at
       9 o'clock was a withdrawal.  At 9 o'clock.
           I am only aware that he came in.  I believe he did
       the cash declaration at the time when we started serving
       because I knew he was coming.  I wouldn't have --
       I wouldn't have done it before then, and we had to start
       at a particular time, and --
   Q.  Because he did another cash count at 1 pm, didn't he?
   A.  He did.
   Q.  And if what I am saying is right, it would look as if
       there had been a discrepancy or £190 had disappeared
       between his 9 o'clock count and his 1 o'clock count.
       That is how it would look, isn't it?  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  But my point is you immediately blame it on Horizon
       without really casting your mind as to other
       possibilities.  And this seems to be a theme of people
       saying, "Well, it's Horizon", and I have identified two
       examples with you where in fact there are other
       explanations here if you look a bit more carefully.  Is
       that fair?
   A.  Which was the other example?
   Q.  You blame Post Office more generally for the £7,000.
   A.  But that's --
   Q.  And in relation to the 190, you are saying it is Horizon
       generating a loss while the auditor was there.
   A.  All I can say is that the auditor couldn't explain it.
       And had he arrived in the middle of the morning I would
       say there was no point in doing the cash declaration, it
       wouldn't have made any difference.  But he arrived early
       in the morning.  I knew he was coming.  He did all the
       cash declarations at the beginning and at the end.  And
       that is all I can say.  He couldn't explain it, and
       I haven't been able to explain any of the shortages that
       I have had.
           It's -- yes, I mean you could make up any fairy
       story about anything if you really wanted to.  It is not
       difficult to do.
   Q.  Can we move away from fairy stories.  I've put forward
       at the very least a plausible explanation of the timing
       based on the evidence we have and you are not willing to
       open your mind to it at all and you are calling it
       a fairy story.  Is that what you are doing?
   A.  No, I am not calling that a fairy story.  I seem to
       recall somewhere, because I didn't get this email
       obviously until -- I didn't see it until it came up in
       disclosure, but I believe that there is a letter
       somewhere where Post Office said that my last
       transaction was after 1 o'clock.  Or it was on
       an alternative screen at the end of that morning.  You
       can, I gather, switch screens and go into what is
       effectively a reserve screen, which I don't use, and
       apparently, according to Post Office, that is where it
       went.  That is what it was.
   Q.  You said a moment ago I think that when the auditor came
       in on this day he did cash declarations at various
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You mean cash counts, don't you?  Didn't he just count
       the cash?  He didn't declare it on Horizon, did he, he
       just counted the cash?
   A.  I believe he entered it on Horizon because that is where
       you get the -- they don't -- they don't -- or didn't
       always show up.  Because you could, when you were
       closing at the end of a day, do several cash
       declarations.  If you had made an error, you then had to
       go back in and re-enter your cash declaration for the
       end of that day.  And they don't always show up as lots
       of different ones.
   Q.  Moving on in time --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  If you are going to move on,
       Mr Cavender, we will give the shorthand writers a quick
       break.  I owe you 20 minutes from this morning.
           We will come back at 12.25 pm.
   (12.19 pm)
                         (A short break)
   (12.25 pm)
   MR CAVENDER:  Mrs Stubbs, we've been dealing with what
       I call the portacabin losses, we've been dealing with
       those.  The end of that story was that you were
       suspended on 8 June 2010.  And we know that Newrose took
       over.  I have shown you one email on that subject,
       I will show you another.
           Go to {E2/89/9}, please.  An email from Nigel Allen
       of 18 June, so a few days later:
           "To clarify the situation at this branch.
       Mrs Stubbs has sustained a series of large losses which
       she attributes to the Horizon system since it was moved
       into the portacabin - current amount owed by her is
       around £25k.  She has sent in some information to the
       Horizon live service team but due to the losses
       escalating she was precautionarily suspended on 8 June.
       Branch subsequently reopened on Mon 14 Jun with a temp
       spmr (Newrose Personnel) and I understand that the
       branch is balancing OK!"
           So we have that along with the earlier email
       I showed you to the same effect.  And we know that in
       advance of going to the portacabin you accept that
       Horizon also was okay.
           So what I suggest to you is that in fact, and this
       would be the case of Post Office in a breach trial,
       there was nothing wrong with Horizon, it was operation
       by the branch, by you and your staff during
       the portacabin period, that caused the losses.  Do you
       have any comment on that?
   A.  I dispute that completely.
   Q.  Moving on then to a different subject leaving that one
       behind.  Training, briefly.  Training on Horizon.  You
       say at paragraph 61 I think of your witness statement
       and following {C1/2/14} that the training wasn't
       sufficient.  Is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  But it did cover how to balance cash and stock, I think
       you say at paragraph 64, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it is right that Horizon had a training function on
       it you could have used outside office hours to brush up
       on your skills, is that also true?
   A.  If there had been time to do that, yes, that could have
       been used.  We did try --
   Q.  You say "time".  Outside office hours is all your own
       time, you can use as much time as you like.
   A.  Subpostmasters and people that have businesses don't
       have as much time as we like.  I did try to use this.
       It wasn't easy to transfer in and out of training mode.
   Q.  But the example I gave to you is not training during
       working hours but outside of working hours.  You've got
       rid of all your customers, you have done all you need to
       do, you want to spend half an hour/an hour doing
       training.  I think Mr Bates said he thought the training
       system was useful.  Would you agree with that, it was
       a useful system?
   A.  Yes, it was a useful system.  It just took too long to
       get in and out of.  And I believed that the way
       I trained my staff was -- it was pretty much the way
       Post Office used to train new subpostmasters.  Certainly
       when my husband started you had somebody who sat with
       you whilst you did transactions, prompted, corrected,
       and praised when you did it right so that you could
       follow, if you like, an established pattern of serving.
   Q.  In terms of manuals et cetera, when Horizon came in I am
       assuming you were given various training documents and
       manuals, is that right?
   A.  At this moment I really couldn't say.
   Q.  So if I showed you some you wouldn't be able to say
       whether you had seen them or not?  If you go
       for instance to {F4/5/1}, I suggest this is a document
       you would have been provided with called "Balancing with
   A.  Yes, it looks like a booklet that I would have had, yes.
   Q.  Then as manuals were issued, so if you go to bundle
       {F4/21/1}, the index page of a balancing part of
       a manual issued subsequently, in 2006 I think.  Do you
       see that?
   A.  Yes, I can see that.
   Q.  Is that the sort of document you would have been
       provided with?
   A.  Possibly, yes.  It looks -- it looks familiar is all
       I can say.
   Q.  And behind tab 22 similarly the same thing, but dealing
       with branch trading reports outlining what reports you
       could file.  Does that look familiar? {F4/22/1}
   A.  That particular page doesn't look particularly familiar,
       but the overall look of those booklets, yes, they look
   Q.  Because the other thing, isn't the fact that you didn't
       have any problems with Horizon, balancing or whatever,
       for some eight years, leave the portacabin thing to one
       side, you balanced it and operated it successfully,
       doesn't that rather indicate the training you were given
       was such as was necessary for you to operate the system?
       Because you did in fact operate it successfully.  Is
       that fair -- is that a fair thing for me to say to you?
   A.  I'm not saying that it was not sufficient to operate the
       system, it wasn't sufficient for a member of staff who
       had never worked a computer before.  I had run our
       retail business and done all the computer work on that
       so I was -- I was, if you like, at least conversant with
       computers.  One of my staff did the half day training,
       and at the end of it she just held up her hands and said
       "I can't do this, I don't understand what they are
       talking about", and never set foot in the Post Office
       again.  The other knew what Post Office and Post Office
       balancing was about so she was able to transfer that
       knowledge to the computer use of it.
   Q.  But you accept it was for you, if you are going to use
       assistants, for you to train them sufficiently?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And depending on the quality of the people you recruit,
       they may be either whizzes with computers or a
       point-of-sale system like this or they might not, and
       you would have to judge whether to employ them and you'd
       have to judge what training was necessary for them to do
       the jobs you allocated to them?
   A.  And the training had to be sufficient and suitable for
       them to become efficient at working at it.
   Q.  That is a judgment for you?
   A.  Yes.  And if it meant that I had to stand beside them
       every day for a week or every day for two weeks, then
       that was what it took.  If at that stage they still
       didn't understand it, then obviously it was time to say
       go and work in a shop and forget the Post Office.
   Q.  Moving on to the Helpline, then.  Your evidence is that
       the Helpline was generally a useful one?
   A.  When I first took over, yes, it was useful.  When
       Horizon came in, I found it less helpful.  I found that
       particularly as things might have changed on Horizon,
       I could ring up with the same query three, four,
       possibly five times, speak to somebody different and
       actually get a different answer.
   Q.  Mrs Stubbs, I recall an answer you gave it me on
       Thursday saying you didn't recall having any manuals in
       the branch and you used the Helpline almost as your
       manual.  Are you going back on that now?
   A.  No, I am not saying that the Helpline was never less
       than useful.  Every so often you would get somebody who
       actually knew what they were talking about.  But what
       I am saying is you could ring several times with the
       same question, the same query, and get a different
       answer.  And there are an awful lot of Post Office
       queries where there is an answer.  You can't have
       a selection where you have a tick box and you can sort
       of tick four boxes and say that is all right, try any
       one of those.
           And certainly it became less useful at the time
       when -- I think a lot of subpostmasters needed help on
       a Wednesday when we were doing a balance, particularly
       a trading balance.  And that was the time where the
       Helpline really wasn't helpful at all because you could
       ring, as I used to when I was in the portacabin, and say
       "Oh my God, what am I going to do?  I have this
       shortage, I have searched, I have sat in there until
       10 o'clock at night and got absolutely nowhere".  So
       I rang the Helpline during that time, and in the end all
       we got, or all I got, was a message saying "Leave your
       office code and number.  We will get back to you within
       48 hours".  Which is less than useful.
   Q.  The other thing, there is an NBSC Helpline as well.  In
       terms of the second tier of that, can I ask you to go to
       {E2/83/1} where you think you found the second tier of
       the Helpline useful?
   A.  Yes, I believe I was upgraded to the second tier.
   Q.  Go to {E2/83/2}, please.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is NBSC the second tier?
   MR CAVENDER:  No, NBSC is actually -- I'm saying Helpline,
       the NBSC Helpline has various tiers, and what the
       witness says in this document is she found the second
       tier particularly helpful.  I was investigating that.
   A.  Yes, I actually was -- I am loathe to say it in case the
       lady had done something wrong.  But one particular
       member of the investigative team on tier 2 was
       particularly helpful, and she on many occasions said,
       "Yes, I have checked this.  Yes, I have been promised
       that there will be an investigation".  And I think by
       the end even she was becoming disillusioned by the fact
       that nothing happened at all.
   Q.  Mrs Stubbs, it is often the case with Helplines that you
       have an initial response, which is quite vanilla, and
       then you can go through as you say to the second tier,
       and if you have a complicated problem it is not
       a surprise that you have to go to the second tier, as
       you call it, to deal with it, is it?
   A.  Yes, we were actually on first name terms by the time
       I'd finished.
   Q.  That is not a great surprise.  You accept from me that
       most Helplines have that feature?
   A.  Yes.  But I did actually once manage to get through to
       Horizon about the balance shortage, and I think that was
       actually because Horizon themselves had come to the
       Helpline with a message saying I had a serious shortage
       in my branch in January, some 20 something
       thousand pounds.  I managed to get through to Horizon
       and the young lady I spoke to just said: we've checked
       our nodes, it is your problem if you are short.  Then
       I managed to get through to a supervisor and I got his
       name and his reference number and he added very little
       to the conversation, except that he brought up this
       shortage on 5 January.
   Q.  But you knew, because I have shown you the emails this
       morning, that Post Office behind the scenes was doing
       all sorts of investigations and reporting to you about
   A.  No, they weren't reporting to me.  All they said was
       they had investigated and there was nothing wrong.
   Q.  No, quite but --
   A.  But this proves that there was something wrong, because
       Horizon were reporting a shortage of £26,000, they had
       no knowledge of it at the end of January --
   Q.  January what year are you talking about?
   A.  January 2010.  And they were also unaware that I had
       remmed out £26,000 on 5 January.  They had no record of
       it and were saying that I was short.  This came from
       Horizon.  This didn't come from me.  I didn't bring this
       up.  I was blissfully ignorant and it was only after
       I had got this that I then had to make sure that that
       rem had actually arrived.
   Q.  We don't have all the accounting records for all these
       transactions, so I can't go into every one.  I have been
       into a couple with you.
   A.  No, that's fine.
   Q.  I was dealing with the Helpline, if I can.  So I put to
       you really as a final question is that the Helpline did
       provide you with a reasonable level of help and
       assistance.  Isn't that fair?
   A.  Not as far as I was concerned.  The only thing that
       would have been of any help to me would have been for
       somebody to have said: right, you've got your
       transaction logs.  You choose three days.  I wasn't
       prepared to give them up to Post Office.  They wanted me
       to hand them all over.  I said but I am perfectly happy
       for you or Horizon to come to my house, to come to
       a neutral venue, put your logs down beside my logs and
       we will check them.
   Q.  Picking up on that point, you did refuse to send your
       information to Post Office.  Couldn't you have copied it
       and sent it to them, your transaction logs?
   A.  I think, if you look on here, you will find one day of
       transaction logs.  I photocopied one day at the
   Q.  But didn't Post Office at the time ask --
   A.  In January, and that was 22 pages.  So we are talking
       about 22 feet per day on a quiet day and, yes, I could
       have -- I could have photocopied all of them.  But it
       seemed -- in the end I think I reprinted as many as
       I could.  Because you can go back 42 days from where you
       are --
   Q.  But I am also talking about your own transaction logs
       you are talking about.  You said, I think, that you
       weren't willing to hand them over?
   A.  No.
   Q.  All I am saying is couldn't you, when asked by
       Post Office for all evidence, have copied them?  Copied
       all of them, not just a couple of pages.
   A.  I could have done, yes.  22 pages minimum per day for
       eight months.
   Q.  You could have produced -- here's a month of them.  This
       is what it shows.  If you want others, you could have
       them.  Rather than flatly refusing, couldn't you?
       Wouldn't it have been more co-operative --
   A.  I didn't -- I flatly refused to send them because they
       were the only copy in existence.  I did, however,
       reprint some and had Post Office wanted copies, they
       could have asked me to reprint them.  I think to ask me
       to photocopy -- I still can't do the instant maths -- at
       least 22 to 25 pages per day of transaction logs,
       I think is a little bit too much.
   Q.  Go to {E2/67/1}.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It would be about 5,500 pages.
   MR CAVENDER:  But you could have done it for a short
       period -- for a month or for some period to allow
       an investigator to get the flavour, couldn't you?
   A.  And equally Post Office could have sent out a Fujitsu
       engineer with theirs, which take up considerably less,
       and they could have sat on either side of my dining room
       table and we could have compared them.
   Q.  Go to {E2/67/1} for me --
   A.  I am there, yes.
   Q.  28 May.  It is really the bottom paragraph there.
   A.  Right.
   Q.  "In the meantime ... Horizon data you have ...
       transaction logs and details of calls made ..."
           Et cetera.  If you thought that was too much in
       terms of copying all of them, couldn't you have at least
       provided some of them?  Because your response is -- we
       see at tab 72 {E2/72/1} on 3 June -- if we go to
       {E2/72/2}, the penultimate paragraph on that page --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Can we start at the front page, please.
   MR CAVENDER:  Indeed.  This is your response.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just increase the size a bit, please, so
       I can read it.  (Pause).  Thank you.
   MR CAVENDER:  If you look to the penultimate paragraph is
       point I am making.  You are saying:
           "I am afraid I must refuse your request to send all
       documentation ..."
           The simple point is, isn't it, that although you
       agree to send certain information, an investigator
       looking at it needs really all the evidence.  Doesn't he
       really?  Not just such bits of it as you send him?
       Isn't that fair?
   A.  If they are going to investigate, yes.  Which is why
       since, from my perspective, I was the only person who
       was investigating my shortages, I wasn't about to give
       the whole lot away to somebody who patently did not
       believe that Horizon could ever be the cause of any of
       these incidents, as it said in my letter.
   Q.  Pausing there, you now know that is not true that you
       were only one investigating, you knew that Post Office
       had and was investigating through Fujitsu and the emails
       I have shown you?  You now know that to be true?
   A.  Here we differ, because I know that I was told and my
       local MP was told that we would get reports when the
       investigation was complete.  I discovered from emails
       that have come to light that no investigation actually
       took place at all.  We were being humoured the entire
       way through.  There was no investigation.  Because
       I don't think it was in anybody's interests for Horizon
       to be found wanting is all I can say.
   MR CAVENDER:  I don't accept that.  I have shown you the
       emails when Fujitsu was being engaged.
           I have no further questions, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you very much.  Mr Green.
                    Re-examination by MR GREEN
   MR GREEN:  Mrs Stubbs, please could you be shown {E2/42/1}.
       This is the email that my learned friend took you to on
       page 14, line 18 of today's transcript {Day3/16:14}.
       You were asked about this letter.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Let's just take it in stages, if we may.  Sorry, let's
       just go to {E2/44/1}.  You were asked about this letter
       on page 14 of the transcript at line 18, and the words
       were put to you:
           "I can confirm that this matter is being
       investigated, so we have put the request for payment on
       hold until a conclusion is reached."
           That email is dated 11 February.  Do you see that at
       the top?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  11 February ...
   MR GREEN:  2010.  If you go forward to {E2/45/1}, having
       been told on 11 February that the request for payment
       would be put on hold, on 15 February 2010, top right,
       you have a statement of outstanding debt dated the 12th,
       which is the day after the email.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And there is a subtotal of £9,033.79 which is a balance
       brought forward, which is the sum that you have just
       been told was being put on hold, and a total account
       balance of 17,670 and you are told at the bottom:
           "Please settle this account by 25 February 2010 in
       one of the following ways ..."
           What did you think when you received that?  Was that
       what you were expecting?
   A.  I don't know.  No, it wasn't.  But I assumed that
       I would continue to get these every month, or a version
       of them each month.  I didn't think that I would
       be -- having put that amount in dispute and declared it
       in dispute, no, I didn't think that I would be asked,
       without having received any result of any investigation,
       that it would just be sort of, if you like, lumped with
       everything else and I would have to repay it within two
       weeks or a week or ...
   Q.  Let's go forward to {E2/46/1}.  You have been told on
       11 February that the request for payment was on hold
       until a conclusion was reached.  About three weeks
       later, 3 March, there is a letter:
           "I am writing to you in respect of the recovery of
       outstanding debts in the accounts at the above
       Post Office.  According to our records, the sum of
       £17,670.65 is overdue for payment.  Since you are
       contractually obliged to make good any losses incurred
       during your term of office, please call the Debt
       Recovery Team on the number quoted above to settle
       this amount ..."
           Was that what you expected?
   A.  No, and I believed that until -- obviously until I had
       started reading these letters, that I was contractually
       obliged to make good any losses caused by my error, my
       carelessness, any of the other things that were listed,
       or any carelessness or anything on behalf of my staff,
       and it suddenly disappeared and now I am obliged to make
       good any losses during my term of office.  The playing
       field has moved somewhat -- the goalposts have moved.
   Q.  Go back to {E2/44/1}.  Do you see that email is from
       Mr Kellett?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Go forward now, please, to {E2/47/1}.  A letter to you.
       Who is that from?
   A.  Paul Kellett.
   Q.  It is dated 11 March, so precisely a month after his
       email.  Had you had a conclusion of investigation
       promised by then or not?
   A.  No, I had nothing.
   Q.  This letter has outstanding amount £17,670.65 underlined
       in bold:
           "Please see the attached 'Request for Payment' for
       the specific amount shown which has been 'settled
       centrally' at your Post Office and, despite previous
       reminders, is still outstanding."
           Then in bold:
           "Failure to meet repayment terms by 21 March 2010
       will lead us (with approval from your contract
       manager) to deduct this outstanding debt from your
       future remuneration payment."
           What did you think when you saw that letter now
       signed by Paul Kellett?
   A.  He obviously had no intention of ever coming back to me
       with any sort of conclusion of the investigation.
       Because it was meant to be repaid when I had some sort
       of a conclusion of any investigation at all.  And I have
       to say some -- how many years later, eight/nine years
       later, I have never had any conclusion or any report
       from any investigation that the Post Office has
       apparently carried out.  Neither has my Member of
       Parliament, because he has chased it up several times.
   Q.  Who is your Member of Parliament?
   A.  John Redwood.  He, I think, wrote two or three times and
       was promised a full investigation and that he would be
       told what the result was, and he had nothing.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think you have probably made your
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, yes.  I was just about to say I would
       deal with the balance of that in submissions.
           Could you now be shown, please, {E2/33/1}.  The
       spreadsheet.  Is it not working?  If you download that,
       I will move to a different point, with your Lordship's
           Okay, look at row 20, please.  If you go across to
       the right in row 20, if you just stop there.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  This is the Horizon box, is it?
   MR GREEN:  It is column I.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  The one next to it.
   MR GREEN:  Yes.  And you see there:
           "Priority: low."
           Did anyone tell you that the treatment internally of
       the investigation into this was being treated as a low
   A.  Nobody ever told me anything about anything, I am sorry.
   Q.  Moving on to the next point.  You were challenged about
       two of your complaints about the accuracy of Horizon.
       I will deal with each one in turn very briefly.
           Please look at tab {E2/114/1}.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I don't think we are there yet.  (Pause)
       {E2/114/1}  The system is down again.  All right.
   MR GREEN:  I could probably do it --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  If you can do it without requiring the
   MR GREEN:  When you were answering questions about the
       £7,000 figure, that was explained as if it had all been
       dealt with, and you repeatedly referred to it being
       sought later on?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You referred to understanding that to be the case from
       various documents.
           May I just show you those in closing, my Lord?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Yes, I have them already.  By all means
       show me them in closing.
   MR GREEN:  I think examples included 114 --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Green, let's not spend time.  Just
       give me the references at the end of the day.
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I found some of them whilst Mr Cavender
       was asking questions about them.
   MR GREEN:  I am most grateful.  Could we look, please, at
       the email, if it is working again at {E2/65.1/1}.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I don't think the common screen is
       bringing up anything.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, I will deal with that by way of
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  All right.
   MR GREEN:  Yes.  No further questions, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  All right.  I have one question,
       although actually that was going to require the document
       as well, or a document, so I'm not going to ask you it.
       But there is a point I want to mention to counsel which
       I will do now.
           That is the end of your evidence.  Thank you very
       much for coming and you are now free to leave the
       witness box.
   A.  Thank you very much.
                      (The witness withdrew)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I have three screens, as you can see,
       and from time to time when each of you are asking
       questions I scroll through and have a look at different
           Mr Cavender, you put a document to the witness which
       was an email of 18 June 2010 at {E2/89/9}.  It is
       actually part of a twelve-page document which refers to
       the fact that the replacement for Mrs Stubbs was I think
       appointed on 14 June and the email says that everything
       seems to be working okay.
   MR CAVENDER:  In the immediate days following, indeed, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is right.  When I first looked at
       it and you were asking the witness questions, it seemed
       to me it was dated 13 April 2011, but I think that is
       the date it is printed.
   MR CAVENDER:  Yes.  If you go to {E2/89/8} --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It is 18 June.
   MR CAVENDER:  Yes, 18 June.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  18 June 2010.  I then looked through the
       rest of that email, and I am sure you can all see what's
       coming, I think it is 95 per cent redacted.  I would --
       it doesn't have to be done by today but by the end of
       tomorrow, please, I would like counsel, and it doesn't
       have to be you, it can be one of your juniors, just to
       individually review the redactions that have been made
       and then just confirm the basis of the redactions, and
       if some have been made by mistake we can deal with them
           So do you want -- you have Mr Sabir to do this
       afternoon.  Do you want to start before 2 o'clock?  Or
       shall we start at 2 o'clock and see how we go, because
       I can sit past 4.30 pm if you want to.
   MR CAVENDER:  I think, with a fair wind, between 2 o'clock
       and 4.30 pm we should be fine.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Okay, we will come back at 2 o'clock.
   (1.00 pm)
                     (The short adjournment)
   (2.00 pm)
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, I call Mr Sabir.  Your Lordship will see
       there are a few minor typos in accordance with the
                    MR MOHAMMAD SABIR (sworn)
                 Examination-in-chief by MR GREEN
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Do have a seat, Mr Sabir.
   MR GREEN:  Mr Sabir, in front of you should be a document
       with "Witness Statement of Mohammad Sabir".  Do you see
       that? {C1/3/1}
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you have identified a few corrections which you have
       put on these sheets?
   A.  Yes, please.
   Q.  We will just pass those to you now.  Subject to those
       corrections, do you believe the contents of your witness
       statement to be true?
   A.  Yes.
   MR GREEN:  Thank you.  Wait there, please.
                 Cross-examination by MR CAVENDER
   MR CAVENDER:  Good afternoon, Mr Sabir.
   A.  Good afternoon.
   Q.  You started working for Post Office on 9 September 2006,
       is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  At that stage I think we can agree Horizon was the
       computer system you were using?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you were doing monthly accounting?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You started work on 9 September as I say at the
       Cottingley branch, is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And your contract on Cottingley and Crossflatts, the
       separate Crossflatts branch, were both terminated on
       2 October 2009, some three years later, does that sound
   A.  Yes, indeed.
   Q.  The questions I am going to ask you today, Mr Sabir, are
       about the events occurring in 2006 mainly when you
       contracted with Post Office, you first dealt with them.
       Yes?  That is some twelve years ago now.  Yes, do you
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Would you also agree that, understandably perhaps, your
       memory of those events isn't going to be particularly
   A.  Can you repeat the question, please.
   Q.  Given it is twelve years ago, the events I am going to
       ask you about, back in 2006, your memory of them is not
       going to be particularly good?
   A.  Some should be good but I can't remember everything.
   Q.  Okay.  In terms of background, can I deal with that
       first.  You say prior to applying to Post Office in 2006
       you had worked as an accounts assistant, is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We can pick that up I think in {E3/31.1/5}.  Just cast
       your eye down that.  This is your previous employment.
       Ignore number 1 for these purposes and go to
       paragraph 2, Charterfields UK Limited in Bradford, and
       you worked there as a part-time supervisor/payroll
       assistant accountant from April 2003 onwards.  Is that
   A.  It's in Huddersfield, not in Bradford.
   Q.  Bradford Road, Huddersfield.  Quite right.  Your role
       there was dealing with all payroll of the client's
       companies and other accountancy work?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So at the date of applying in 2006 you had been in this
       role for some three years or so?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then item 3 on the same list, Apex Accountants, you
       worked from April 2004 to date, ie to the time of the
       application, as assistant accountant dealing with
       preparation of accounts, is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you had these two jobs simultaneously, is that
       right?  Were they part-time?
   A.  Both part-time.
   Q.  Those roles involved you being good on detail, would
       that be fair?
   A.  Can you repeat the question, please.
   Q.  Performing those roles would involve you being good on
       detail, detailed points?
   A.  I didn't understand.
   Q.  As an assistant accountant you have to be careful, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you have to look carefully at the figures you are
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And insert them into accounts?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And be very careful you do that properly and not in some
       careless general way?
   A.  We have to prepare what information is provided by the
   Q.  Do you accept from me that being involved over a period
       of years as an assistant accountant means that I can
       consider you as not commercially naive?  You are not
       commercially naive, are you, Mr Sabir, at the time when
       you applied to Post Office in 2006.  Do you accept that?
   A.  I did not understand your question, please.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Rephrase it.
   MR CAVENDER:  As at the time you applied to Post Office in
       2006, at that time, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You were not commercially naive, were you?
   A.  Can you explain?
   Q.  You weren't -- you had experience of commercial things?
       You weren't -- it's put me on the spot trying to
       rephrase this.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  To take it in stages, did you have
       experience of commercial matters?
   A.  Not fully.  I was working as assistant in both of the
       places.  I was not dealing fully with the clients, I was
       just dealing as the assistant accountant in both of the
   MR CAVENDER:  But you did have experience of commercial
       matters in those roles?
   A.  Not full commercial matters, some which I was dealing.
   Q.  It's fair to say that the financial commitment you were
       making in buying Mr Rooney's business at Cottingley and
       Mr Taylor's business at Crossflatts were significant
       investments for you?
   A.  That was an investment for my future career.
   Q.  So they were things that were important to you, those
   A.  Yes, indeed.
   Q.  And it is something about which you were going to take
       care when considering whether to invest in them?
   A.  Yes, obviously.
   Q.  And you were going to use all your professional skill
       and diligence when deciding whether to enter into those
       transactions, is that right?
   A.  Yes, indeed.
   Q.  And the same would apply also, would it not, to entering
       into the contract with Post Office to operate those two
   A.  Can you repeat the question, please?
   Q.  You would have used your professional skill and
       diligence in deciding whether to enter into a contract
       with Post Office to operate at those two premises?
   A.  I didn't understand first part of your question, please,
       the first part of the question.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It's the professional skill and
       diligence.  You might just rephrase it, Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  You were going to use your skills you had
       acquired as an assistant accountant over a number of
       years in deciding whether or not to enter into
       a contract with Post Office?
   A.  I still didn't understand your question, please.
   Q.  You had to decide whether or not to enter into
       a contract with Post Office?
   A.  I decided myself to enter the contract with the
       Post Office.
   Q.  You did.  What I am suggesting is in doing that, in
       deciding whether to or not, you had an option whether to
       enter into the contract or not, didn't you, with the
       Post Office?
   A.  I did the contract myself.
   Q.  Yes, but you had a choice whether to or not?  You didn't
       have to enter a contract with Post Office, did you?
   A.  I entered into the contract with the Post Office.
   Q.  Yes, but you didn't have to.  You had a choice,
       an option, whether to or not to?
   A.  When I applied for the Post Office I put all of my
       stake, so I obviously I intend to do this, both of these
   Q.  But you'd developed certain skills as an assistant
       accountant, hadn't you, for the three years prior to
       applying to the Post Office?
   A.  Not everything is same as we are doing in the
       accountancy office when you go in the Post Office.
   Q.  What I suggest to you is you used your skills you had
       developed as an assistant accountant when looking at the
       detail of what is being offered to you by Post Office?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you used that skill to decide whether or not to
       agree to the contract from Post Office, am I right?
   A.  I did -- I did use my skills where those were applicable
       with the Post Office contract.
   Q.  Thank you.  You did that to consider whether it was
       acceptable to you, this contract with Post Office, and
       to Mr Ahmed who was your business partner, am I right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  How did that work?  Did you go through the various
       contracts and proposals together or did you both go
       through them separately?
   A.  We both went together.
   Q.  So you both looked through any of the business papers
       for the purchase or the Post Office contract, you looked
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  I think you used professional transfer agents to assist
       with the identification of the post office premises, did
       you not?  Did you use transfer agents to find the
   A.  Yes, Ernest Wilson.
   Q.  That was their name, Ernest Wilson.  And were they
       available to give you any advice you required about that
   A.  They did.
   Q.  They were able to tell you where, if you wanted to get
       any legal advice, you could get it if you thought you
       needed it?
   A.  They did not tell anything like this.
   Q.  No, but if you had wanted -- did you want to take legal
   A.  I did not -- I did not.
   Q.  But if you wanted to you could have done?
   A.  Yes, I could have done but I did not.
   Q.  Before you enquired about a particular Post Office --
       and I'm going to your witness statement now if I can --
       you did your own investigations, didn't you, into
       Post Office and what it would be like to be
       a postmaster, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  I think you touch on this at paragraph 9 and 10 of your
       witness statement {C1/3/2}.  You had spoken to other
       subpostmasters, had you, to get an idea of what it was
       like to run a Post Office?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And I think it is right to say, isn't it, that you had
       also prepared accounts in your role as an assistant
       accountant for subpostmasters, is that true?
   A.  I did initial works for them but I was not in a
       position, those -- both posts, to finalise the accounts
       in both places.
   Q.  I don't understand.  Say that again, please.
   A.  I did help my senior accountants, I was working with
       them as assistant accountant, and I have to do whatever
       I have been advised by them.
   Q.  And you did that in relation to accounts for certain
       subpostmasters who were clients of the accountancy firm,
       am I right?
   A.  I was helping my senior accountants, not finalising
       those accounts.
   Q.  But in doing that you got, did you not, a good idea of
       what it was like in terms of the financial side of
       running a Post Office, or what it might be like.  Is
       that fair?
   A.  Can you repeat your question again, please.
   Q.  By doing that, and helping your seniors finalise
       accounts for subpostmasters, it gave you a good insight
       into the financial side of being a subpostmaster?
   A.  Yes, I changed my career from accountancy to running
       a Post Office after I have consulted with one of my
       friends, Mr Mohammed Zubair, who was running
       a Post Office and had a good profitable business from
       there, and that is why we both decided to buy the
       Post Office.
   Q.  During the course of preparing the accounts for these
       other subpostmasters, did you come across the idea of
       unders and overs, where there was a shortage or
       a deficit sometimes, and sometimes a credit, is that
       something you came across?
   A.  They were showing little bit, very little bit losses.
       Nothing more than this.
   Q.  So the answer is yes, you did come across that concept
       but you only think it was a little bit?
   A.  Little bit.  You can say 100/150, not more than this.
   Q.  So you were aware of the concept then of postmasters
       being liable for shortfalls in terms of money leaking
       from the branch, is that fair?
   A.  Can you repeat your question, please?
   Q.  You were aware of the possibility of postmasters being
       responsible for deficits in their branch --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What I called leakage?
   A.  Yes, I was expecting very little bit.
   Q.  But whether or not in any given case there is a little
       bit or a lot just depends, does it not, on how competent
       firstly the postmaster is, would you agree with that?
   A.  Can you repeat your question again?
   Q.  Whether it's a little or a lot of deficit is simply
       dependent on how good or bad the postmaster is in
       running his Post Office?
   A.  Yes, indeed.
   Q.  And also depends on for what period that bad or
       potentially negligent behaviour continues?
   A.  I did not understand this question.
   Q.  The extent of how much a given deficit might be is
       dependent, I think you have accepted, on the skill of
       the postmaster, firstly.  And I'm putting to you another
       point: it depends on the period over which that lack of
       skill has been allowed to operate, for how long it has
       gone on, is that fair?
   A.  I didn't understand this one again.
   Q.  And the same point applies to the honesty, doesn't it?
       That a deficit caused by honesty, the limit on the
       amount just depends on how dishonest the person is and
       over what period it is operated, do you agree with that?
   A.  I didn't understand this question as well.
   Q.  You said in answer to me a moment ago that you thought
       the deficits were only small, they were minor, a few
       hundred pounds.  That is your answer?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What I am putting to you is whether that is right or
       wrong, the amount of any deficit is dependent on how bad
       the behaviour is, how good or bad the postmaster is, and
       over what period it operates.  They are the two factors
       that generate the amount of the deficit, do you agree
       with that?
   A.  I used to do accounts for one of Post Office in
       Huddersfield.  For three years he hardly had £150/£100,
       not more than this, loss.  And I have not been -- gone
       through with any postmaster who has been terminated or
       suspended.  So I don't think this question is relevant
       to this.
   Q.  Another point is if you are a little bit over or
       a little bit under for these purposes each week, over
       the course of a year that could mount up to quite a lot?
       A couple of hundred pounds here or there, if it's every
       week then that can amount at the end of the year to
       quite a large sum.  Do you agree with that?
   A.  Yes, if it's prolonged it goes over ...
   Q.  The reason that you wanted to apply to Post Office was
       because you wanted to run your own business, is that
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We see that in your business plan.  There is an express
       reason.  I think you said in that business plan too you
       saw your main competitors as the banks, is that right?
   A.  We can't compete with the banks, but banks are the
       competitors with the Post Office.
   Q.  If it helps you, go to {E3/27/1}.  That is where I am
       getting some of these comments from, your business plan,
       at {E3/27/3}.  In the second box you say:
           "Interested in running own business."
           If you go to page 7 of the same document {E3/27/7},
       you say under "Market":
           "... there is good scope to increase banking
       services, insurance services and travel money
           Do you see that?
   A.  It means that I was able to increase the banking
       services we do in the Post Office and I was expecting to
       have an ATM machine there.
   Q.  This represents, I suggest to you, a sophisticated
       commercial approach to your -- the background to your
       contract with Post Office.  What do you say to that?
   A.  Yes, I bought the Post Office to make profits.
   Q.  And you knew that you would be asked to enter into
       a written contract between yourself and the Post Office
       to regulate your arrangement?  You knew that was going
       to happen, didn't you, from the very beginning, there
       would be a contract?
   A.  Is there any letter you can refer to me?
   Q.  No, I am just saying your expectations at the moment --
       I will show you lots of letters, don't worry.  But your
       expectations at the time of the business plan and at the
       time of going into this situation, you always expected
       your relationship with Post Office to be governed by
       a written contract, is that right?
   A.  Yes, we have to sign the contract when we are elected
       the Post Office.
   Q.  Going back to your witness statement and to your
       expectations again, it is really paragraph 9 {C1/3/2},
       you say in the third sentence:
           "I expected that if appointed as subpostmaster,
       Post Office would not terminate my position unless there
       was very serious wrongdoing on my part, such as theft."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Which paragraph?
   Q.  Paragraph 9 in the middle, the third sentence.  Fourth
       line to sixth line:
           "I expected that ..."
           Do you have that, Mr Sabir?
   A.  Yes.
           Can we check the paragraph from the beginning?  What
       is the background of this?
   Q.  Paragraph 9.
   A.  Yes:
           "Deciding to change from my established career in
       accountancy to running a Post Office was a major change
       for me but I understood that the role was stable and
       secure and I expected my investments to be worthwhile.
       Post Office was a well-respected name in the community
       and I trusted that they would be a good company to work
   Q.  It's the next bit I want you to --
   A.  "I expected that if appointed as subpostmaster,
       Post Office would not terminate my position unless there
       was very serious wrongdoing on my part ..."
   Q.  Pausing there.  Where do you say you got that
       understanding from, that your contract would only be
       terminated in that circumstance?
   A.  These were my own.
   Q.  Say again?
   A.  These were my own thinkings.
   Q.  Your own thinking.  Where did your own thinking come
       from, do you say?
   A.  Because I have put all of my stake on my house, I got
       (inaudible) on that one and I invested so much money on
       that one, and that -- that is why I was expecting that
       the Post Office will also know this, that I have
       invested so much money in the business.
   Q.  You surely would accept, wouldn't you, at the very
       least, that if you were seriously incompetent that also
       the arrangement would be terminated, wouldn't that be
       fair?  If you were just no good at it, surely that would
       be an eventuality where you wouldn't expect to be held
       in position?
   A.  I did not understand your question again.
   Q.  You say serious wrongdoing, such as theft, was in your
       expectation a reason why Post Office could terminate the
       contract, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What I am saying to you is surely at the very least you
       must have expected that serious incompetence, ie if you
       weren't any good at the job, would also be a ground for
       terminating you.  Do you agree with that or do you
       disagree with that?
   A.  Disagree.
   Q.  So you think you could be as incompetent as you like for
       as long as you like and Post Office wouldn't be able to
       terminate the contract.  Was that your understanding,
       you say?
   A.  No, when they select you, you have to go very long
       procedure, you know.  If you are not competent, how
       Post Office can select you?
   Q.  You must have also been aware, must you not, as
       an assistant accountant with commercial experience, that
       it is quite standard in any commercial arrangement for
       the contract to be terminable on notice, on both sides?
       So a period of notice, normally measured in months, you
       can give and it terminates it.
           First question: do you agree that you were aware at
       this time that most business contracts contain such
       a clause?
   A.  I am not sure.  I can't remember it.
   Q.  What about your role as assistant accountant with these
       two companies?  Was that terminable on notice?  Could
       they give you notice to end the contract?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So wouldn't it be the same, you would expect, such
       a provision, in relation to your contract you would
       enter into with Post Office?
   A.  How can this be the same?  I was employed by them
       and I have not invested a penny in that business, and in
       Post Office I invested £82,000.  How both things can be
       the same?
   Q.  But what you invested, you bought two businesses, didn't
       you?  You had retail offerings at both those premises,
       didn't you?
   A.  There was not much on Crossflatts side.  But still
       I have invested on one side £82,000, and on other side
       I just did interview and they selected me.  And if they
       kick me out I can find some other job somewhere else.
       But there was not any of my stake, my financial stake,
       on those -- both jobs.
   Q.  Because you say also in paragraph 9 you believed it was
       going to be a long-term relationship.  That would depend
       whether or not it was terminated or not, wouldn't it?
       Whether it turned out to be long-term would depend on
       whether or not it was terminated before it became
       long-term, is that fair?
   A.  I did buy these both post offices to run long-term
       business, long-term business, to establish my business
       and to establish my family life.
   Q.  In terms of your due diligence, you obtained the trading
       accounts, is this right --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- for both Crossflatts and Cottingley?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you did that in order to determine whether they were
       going to be profitable enough, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And whether the business enterprise you were going to
       engage in was going to be commercially sensible for you?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  As part of using those, and thinking about your future,
       you produced the business plan, and we see it at
       {E3/27/1}.  We have looked at a couple of pages of this,
       haven't we?  I don't want to go through it all, but as
       a result of looking at those accounts and talking to
       your business partner, you produced the figures and the
       approach set out in the business plan at {E3/27/1}
       am I right?
   A.  Can you repeat the question, please?
   Q.  Yes.  Do you have {E3/27/1} in front of you, the
       business plan?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That is the first page of a document that you created
       and submitted to Post Office in support of your
       application to become a subpostmaster, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And the contents of this include various projections and
       indications as to how you were going to go about, if you
       were appointed, running the Post Office, is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What this suggests -- I am going to put to you -- is not
       someone who is commercially naive, but someone who has
       thought about the business and put forward a perfectly
       sensible business plan.  Is that fair?
   A.  My Lord, English is not my first language.  Can you
       please ask counsel to ask the question in a simple
       language, please.
           I think it was the phrase "commercially naive" that
       we had problems with about ten minutes ago.  So would
       you like to rephrase it.
   MR CAVENDER:  This business plan is a sensible commercial
       business plan, do you agree with that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  It was produced by you?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  With your skills?
   A.  I get help from Apex Accountants' main accountant.
   Q.  Did you draft your witness statement?  Because I read
       that and it is in very good English and very articulate,
       but when I ask you questions you seem almost not to be
       the person who authored that.
   A.  I did read it, there is no problem of reading.  But as
       I requested, English is not my first language.  Because
       in the business plan the accounts which I prepared,
       those were finalised by the Apex Accountants, and on
       that aspect I took final advice from Mr Abdul Rashid,
       and I think we should have mentioned in the witness
       statement as well.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  They helped you fill in the business
   A.  No, accounts.  That is also part of the business plan.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  They helped you fill in the accounts
       part of the business plan.
   A.  Yes.
   MR CAVENDER:  Go forward then to the application stage.  So
       go to {E3/23/1}, please.  This is a letter to you of
       18 May 2006 in response to your initial enquiry, is that
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If you look at the fourth paragraph on that page, it
           "Subpostmasters hold a contract for service with
       Post Office; consequently they are agents, not employees
       of the company."
           Question: you would have understood from the receipt
       of this letter that you were going to enter into
       a contract and you were going to be an agent, is that
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then if we turn the page we see various things mentioned
       there.  At the bottom of {E3/23/3} we see "Proposed
       Conditions of Appointment":
           "In order that you may complete your business plan
       accurately, the contract and service manager would like
       you to consider the proposed conditions of appointment
       appended to this letter."
           Do you see that?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I don't think we do.  We have
       a different page, Mr Cavender.
   MR CAVENDER:  Go to {E3/23/3}, at the bottom, read to
       yourselves under "Proposed Conditions of Appointment".
   A.  Proposed conditions of appointment?
   Q.  Yes.  I am just drawing your attention to it.  They were
       saying what they were going to deal with you if your
       application leads to an interview, et cetera.
           Question: you were told you were going, if you were
       going to take this job up, to be an agent, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You understood that to mean that you were going to
       represent Post Office, is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you understood you were going to be given
       Post Office's cash and stock to run the Post Office,
       didn't you?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And as an agent you have to account to Post Office for
       what happened to that cash and stock in your branch, you
       understood that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So we then invite an -- you're invited to an interview
       on 30 June which is {E3/27/1} -- sorry, that is your
       business plan.  We have seen that.
           If we go to {E3/53/1}, please.  This is the letter
       setting up your interview.  30 June.  This is the
       letter, and it says at the bottom of that page:
           "I also attach a brief summary of the conditions of
       the subpostmasters contract for your attention.  Please
       note that the summary does not represent the complete
       terms and conditions of the subpostmasters contract and
       may not be relied upon for any purpose by
       a subpostmaster."
           Then over page {E3/53/2}, at the top:
           "... and should not be used in place of a thorough
       review of the contract.  You will receive a full copy of
       the contract if you are successful in your application
       as part of the appointment process."
           So that represented your knowledge before you went
       to interview, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What it attaches then is the brief summary of certain
       sections of the subpostmasters contract, do you see that
       at the top of page {E3/53/3}?
   A.  I can't remember this one.
   Q.  You can't what, sorry?
   A.  I can't remember this one.
   Q.  This was an attachment, {E3/53/3} was an attachment to
       the letter at {E3/53/1}, do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you got the letter of 30 June, didn't you?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And this was an attachment to it.  What it does, if you
       cast your eye down {E3/53/3}, is it summarises briefly
       certain sections of something called the subpostmasters
       contract.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We see under the "Contract" heading things you have seen
       before, that subpostmasters are agents, not employees.
       So that wasn't new to you, was it?  You had seen that
       before?  We have seen that in an earlier document, yes?
   A.  Earlier document I can remember, but I can't remember
       this one.
   Q.  I suggest you did get it and it was an attachment to
       this letter.  Go back to the letter {E3/53/1} --
   A.  That I can remember.
   Q.  -- and look at the last paragraph for me.  It says:
           "I also attach a brief summary of conditions of the
       subpostmasters contract for your attention."
           Question: if in fact the letter had not included the
       brief summary, you would have said something or phoned
       someone, wouldn't you, to ask where it was?
   A.  I can't remember, as far as I know.
   Q.  If it hadn't been there, Mr Sabir, you would have asked
       for it, wouldn't you?  This was a big investment, you
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You have attention to detail, you are an accountants
       assistant.  And the only document it says it is
       including is an important one.  The conditions of
       contract are important, aren't they?
   A.  Yes, but I can't remember it.  This is the thing I am
       telling you, I can't remember it.
   Q.  But if they hadn't been there you would have asked for
       them, wouldn't you?
   A.  How can I remember twelve years things?  I can't
       remember everything.
   Q.  But if you get a letter saying "I enclose a brief
       summary of conditions of contract ..." and this is for
       an interview you are about to go to, then you would ask
       for it, "What are you talking about, you have included
       this document?  You haven't included it".  You would
       have asked that question, wouldn't you?
   A.  When we go for interview they don't let us to speak
       anything.  We have to answer the questions.
   Q.  Look at paragraph 41 of your written statement.  You
       don't there say that you didn't receive it.  {C1/3/7}.
       You say:
           "I do not recall whether I considered these terms
       ... in any detail ..."
   A.  Yes, that is why I'm -- I can't remember.  This is
       twelve year old things.  I can't remember, I can't --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Which paragraph?
   MR CAVENDER:  Paragraph 41, my Lord.
           What you say at paragraph 41, Mr Sabir, is you don't
       recall whether you studied them in any detail prior to
       attending.  You are now saying for the first time, as
       I understand it, that you don't recall whether you
       received them prior to the interview.  Do you see they
       are two different things?
   A.  I did not say I did not receive.  I did say I can't
       remember it.
   Q.  But you don't say that in your witness statement either.
   A.  Same thing I have told in ...
   Q.  You don't say in your witness statement anywhere that
       you don't recall whether or not you received the summary
       of conditions.  Are you saying your memory is improving
       as you are in the witness box there to the time when you
       produced your witness statement?
   A.  Can you ask the question again, please.
   Q.  Is your memory improving now you are in the witness box
       compared to when you drafted paragraph 41 of your
       witness statement?
   A.  I did not understand your question again.
   Q.  Paragraph 41 of your witness statement says you don't
       recall whether or not you considered them in any detail
       prior to attending the interview:
           "The letter did not indicate any contractual terms
       would be discussed at interview ..."
           That is what you say in your witness statement.
       What I understand you to be saying now in the witness
       box is you don't in fact recall whether -- and you are
       putting in doubt whether -- you actually received the
       brief summary of sections of the contract.
   A.  I did not say I did not receive it.  I said I can't
       remember it.  This is my simple answer.
   Q.  My question to you is: just following up that premise,
       if you are going to run with that, if you had
       received -- put yourself back in the position in 2006
       receiving {E3/53/1} that says it is enclosing something
       called a summary of terms and conditions, and it wasn't
       there, you would have asked for it, wouldn't you?
   A.  If I can't remember how can I answer the question?  If
       it is a thing which I can't remember how can I answer?
   Q.  Doing the best you can at that time, given the degree of
       experience you had --
   A.  At that time I was just thinking to buy the business,
       run it, make my life better and serve the community.
       This was my main ambition.  And the Post Office was the
       social (inaudible) and I liked since the date I started
       until I was terminated.
   Q.  I suggest it was with this letter, you did receive it,
       and let's look at the conditions you have then seen
       {E3/53/3}.  You would have seen "Assistants" halfway
       down.  You must provide at your expense any assistants
       which you need to carry out the works.  Assistants are
       employees of the subpostmaster.  And the subpostmaster
       will be liable for any failure of the assistants.
           That represents your understanding of assistants
       that you might employ at your branch, doesn't it?  That
       you would be responsible for them?
   A.  Yes, obviously every postmaster is responsible for the
   Q.  And whether you employ assistants or not is totally up
       to you?
   A.  You can't run the Post Office without employing the
   Q.  Well, you could if you run it on your own, potentially,
       you and your partner?
   A.  We wanted to take over two Post Offices, so can we run
       them without assistants?  Plus there are Post Office
       conditions: if some employee is already working there,
       you can't terminate them, you have to take them on.
   Q.  And "Losses" at the bottom of this page {E3/53/3} says:
           "The subpostmaster is responsible for all losses
       caused through his own negligence, carelessness or error
       and also for all losses caused by his assistants.
       Deficiencies due to such losses must be made good
       without delay."
           That is something that would have caught your eye
       and you would have read before interview, isn't it,
       Mr Sabir?
   A.  I can't remember, that's why there is no point to insist
       on that question.  I know I -- we -- postmasters are
       responsible for any losses and their assistants' losses.
   Q.  What happens after this in terms of the chronology, on
       10 July you had an interview for Cottingley branch, do
       you remember that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You were interviewed by Mr Haworth and
       Caroline Richards, is that right?  Do you remember that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  How long do you say the interview lasted, Mr Sabir?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  How long do you say this interview lasted?
   A.  As far as I can remember, I think it was an hour and
       a half.
   Q.  An hour and a half?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Have you read the witness statement of Mr Haworth about
       what he says happened at this interview?
   A.  I did.
   Q.  Have you read Mr Haworth's witness statement?
   A.  I have read a little bit, not all of it.
   Q.  Can we go to {C2/14/2}.  Do you have that there?
       Paragraph 10.1.  What he is saying is the things he says
       in paragraph 10 are things that would have been
       contained in your interview.  I want to see if you agree
       or not.
   A.  Yes, he did my interview.
   Q.  Did he -- 10.2 -- run through the "brief summary of
       certain sections of the subpostmaster's contract"?  Did
       he run through that with you?
   A.  I can't remember.
   Q.  Is it possible that he did?  He says he did.  Are you
       saying --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Cavender, he doesn't say he did,
   MR CAVENDER:  Well, he --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  No, Mr Cavender, this has now happened
       on two or three occasions and we have to have a degree
       of precision.
           He says in line 2 of paragraph 8:
           "... I can no longer recall interviewing Mr Sabir."
           What he then does is he goes on to deal with what he
       says would have happened based on his standard.  So it's
       wrong to put to the witness that he says he in fact did
   MR CAVENDER:  Indeed.
           What he says, Mr Sabir, is this is his standard
       practice, and that he would have adopt adopted the
       standard practice with you, do you see?  What I am
       asking you is whether you can disagree, because he is
       going to come along and say what he is saying here is
       true, that (a) this was his standard practice, and (b)
       that he would have followed it with you.
           So in relation to that, in 10.2, are you able to say
       he didn't run through the "brief summary of certain
       sections of the subpostmaster's contract"?
   A.  I told you I can't remember it.  If he can't remember
       it, how can I remember it after --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Sabir, you might be able to remember
       it.  It doesn't matter what he can remember --
   A.  What I can remember --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Sabir, just wait for me to finish,
       please.  Mr Cavender is putting to you what Mr Haworth
       says he would have done.  Your memory is not affected by
       whether Mr Haworth can remember in fact doing it.
       Because Mr Haworth says he did this in all his
       interviews, right?  So it is no answer to say: if he
       can't remember it how can I be expected to?
           Mr Cavender, ask it again, please.
   MR CAVENDER:  The "summary of certain sections of the
       subpostmaster's contract" is a document I showed you
       a moment ago, do you remember?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The one attached to the letter.  What Mr Haworth says
       his general practice was to run through that with
       interviewees.  He therefore says that, as you were
       an interviewee, he would have done that with you.  Are
       you able to say that he didn't do that with you?
   A.  I can't remember it.
   Q.  Is it possible he did do that with you?
   A.  I can't say yes.  What I can remember, I can tell you
       whatever I -- what I told you on the interview.  He
       asked me some questions and then he went through the
       business plan.  Both things I can remember.  I can't
       remember anything else.
   Q.  In terms of paragraph 13 of this witness statement
       {C2/14/3}, he sets out what he would ordinarily explain
       to an applicant.  And so therefore he says the
       likelihood is he would have explained these things to
       you.  Can I check you have a memory of this.  At 13.1 he
       says he would have explained in the situation that it
       was a contract for services and not of employment.  Do
       you remember him saying anything about that?
   A.  I can't remember it.
   Q.  Is it possible he did say that?
   A.  I can't say yes or not.
   Q.  So far as personal service is concerned, he would have
       made clear that you didn't personally have to run the
       Post Office but you could employ assistants if you
       wanted to.  Do you remember him saying anything about
   A.  I can't remember it.
   Q.  Is it possible he did?
   A.  I can't say yes or no.
   Q.  13.2, he says it was his practice to, and would with
       you, have said the subpostmaster is responsible for the
       operation of the branch and the operation of assistants.
       Is that something that you recall him discussing or
       saying to you?
   A.  I can't remember.
   Q.  Is it possible that he did?
   A.  I can't ...
   Q.  13.3, that he would have said to you that you were
       responsible for the staffing of the branch and for their
       training.  Do you remember him saying anything like
   A.  I can't remember all these things, you know.
   Q.  Is it possible he did?
   A.  I can't -- I don't know.
   Q.  13.4 {C2/14/4}, that the subpostmaster would be
       responsible for any losses and gains identified in the
       accounts.  Do you remember him discussing that topic
       with you, losses and gains?
   A.  I can't remember.
   Q.  Do you remember him putting forward a scenario with you
       about a subpostmaster taking a bank deposit and
       miskeying £90 for £900, do you remember an example of
       that type being discussed?
   A.  I can't remember it.
   Q.  Do you remember, 13.7 here, that there was a notice
       period under the contract, and there was a three-month
       notice period either way.  Do you remember any
       discussion about notice periods?
   A.  I can't remember this one.
   Q.  What can you remember?
   A.  I went for the interview, he asked me: can you give me
       example of previously you have been in -- dealing with
       a person and you have sorted that matter out?  And
       I gave example for that one.  And I also can remember
       I said the customer is always right.  The words which --
       I can't remember if those are the words.  And then he
       asked: how you are going to run this when everything --
       I told that first six months we will look into the
       business and then we will do.  There was much space for
       expansion and we will increase the retail side, and that
       is why other sales will be increased.
           These are the things I can remember.  Apart from
       that, these are too old things.  So I can't remember
       what we discussed, and I can't lie in front of you,
       my Lord.
   Q.  You have just told me what you were saying, and
       presumably he must have been saying something to you,
       giving you some information during this hour and a half?
   A.  I can't remember.  I can't lie, my Lord.  I can't
       make -- judgments, I have to -- if something I can't
       remember, I can't say anything.
   Q.  So all the identified points I have put to you
       separately, you are not in a position to say those
       weren't said to you, are you?  You can't say to me or to
       his Lordship that those points were not made clear to
   A.  I can't remember, that is why I can't say yes or no.
   Q.  In terms of your working at the branch, we can see from
       {E3/61/1} that you must have told Post Office -- go to
       that, please.  It's an internal Post Office document
       following the interview.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Paragraph 3 says:
           "The incoming subpostmaster will provide on average
       not less than 18 hours personal service ..."
           So am I right that they have said that because you
       have indicated that it is your intention to work in the
   A.  I can't remember.
   Q.  And it is your intention to work in the branch for not
       less than 18 hours per week?
   A.  Yes, I was planning to work full-time in the branch.
   Q.  No one told you that you had to work 18 hours per week
       in the branch, did they?
   A.  I can't remember.
   Q.  Could you go, please, to {C2/14/6}.  This is the witness
       statement of Michael Haworth, the other person who
       interviewed you.
           At paragraph 19 on that page:
           "In paragraph 20, Mr Sabir alleges that he was not
       advised to seek independent legal advice."
           That isn't right, is it?  You weren't advised --
   A.  I can't remember.
   Q.  -- not to seek independent legal advice, were you?
   A.  I can't remember.  And I did not take any legal advice
       before taking over the Post Offices.  I just used the
       solicitors to transfer the lease.
   Q.  In paragraph 16 of the same witness statement {C2/14/5},
       it is not right to say, is it, at the end of the
       interview, it was indicated that you were going to be
       appointed subject to a couple of factors.  That isn't
       right, is it?  You weren't told you were successful or
       unsuccessful at the end of the interview.  The interview
       ends and you will be told in the normal way.
           You seem to be saying here, as I understand, in
       paragraph 10 of your IPOC you were told during the
       interview that you were successful, but it would be
       conditional on a number of factors.
   A.  As far as I can remember, there were two things -- two
       or three things which were asked when the Post Office
       was surveyed by one of the Post Office person to
       repaint, change the outside, repainting, and doing some
       work inside.  As far as I can remember, he told that if
       you are selected you have to do these three things.
       These are the three things I can remember, two or three
   Q.  You engaged solicitors, didn't you, to advise you in
       relation to the purchase of the two businesses, is that
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Who were those solicitors?
   A.  One was SD Solicitors on Carlisle Road.  And the other,
       for Crossflatts, we used Rahman & Co(?) from London,
       just to transfer the deeds and transfer the money to
       the ...
   Q.  Sorry, can you speak up?  The last bit?
   A.  Rahman & Co solicitors in London.  The first one was
       SD Solicitors on Carlisle Road.
   Q.  And they advised you on the purchase of the two
   A.  They advised towards the lease.  And also when I put the
       charge on my house, they signed -- countersigned the
       charge of the house.
   Q.  And they could have given you advice, could they, on
       your relationship with Post Office if you required that?
   A.  I don't know about this.
   Q.  You could have asked them that.  As solicitors, you
       could have asked them if you wanted advice on the
       relationship with Post Office, am I right?
   A.  I did not take any advice.  This is simple --
   Q.  But as a businessman that was your choice?
   A.  I don't have any sort of doubt with the Post Office so
       I did not take any advice.
   Q.  You had at this stage the summary of terms of the
       subpostmasters contract, didn't you?  It was attached to
       the letter inviting you to interview.
   A.  But that was nothing to do with the solicitors.  That
       was coming to me, and then I was dealing with those
       paperworks.  I did not take any of these sorts of
       paperwork to the solicitors.
   Q.  But if you had wanted to, you could have sent it to them
       and asked for advice, then or subsequently during any
       part of the things we are now going to go through, any
       of the documents you were given?
   A.  I don't know about this.  But they did not speak any
       time that they give advice in this regard.  They just --
       I spoke with them to transfer the lease, that is all.
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, is that a convenient moment?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am sure it is.
           Just before we break, we are going to have
       a ten-minute break, Mr Sabir.  You are in the middle of
       giving your evidence, please don't talk to anyone about
       the case but you don't have to sit in the witness box.
           At pages 102 and 103 of the transcript {Day3/106:1},
       which was the period when Mr Cavender made certain
       observations on a document, and how you were putting
       questions, and then also the witness, I spoke to the
       witness as well.  The transcript, and I know it is going
       to be refined, but it hasn't necessarily caught all of
       the exchanges.  So in open court I would just like to
       ask you both if you could, not in the break but at some
       point before you release the finalised transcript, if
       you could just go back and listen to the tape.  I know
       you do that anyway, but particularly those two pages.
           Thank you very much.  Ten minutes.
   (3.00 pm)
                         (A short break)
   (3.10 pm)
   MR CAVENDER:  Mr Sabir, we're going forward in time now to
       13 July when you received a letter from Post Office
       saying you had been successful in your application.
       That is {E3/64/1}.
           Do you see that:
           "... delighted to inform you that your application
       for the position ... has been successful ... Your
       appointment will be subject to:
           "Your written acceptance of the subpostmasters
       contract and other terms and conditions set out in
       appendix 1 to this letter."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Pausing there, presumably you were quite interested in
       the terms upon which the Post Office was proposing to
       appoint you?  That was a matter of interest to you, is
       that fair?
   A.  Can you repeat the question, please.
   Q.  You have just been told you have been successful in
       a process you have put a lot of effort in, you say?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you've been told that that appointment is subject to
       acceptance of the subpostmasters contract.  Do you see
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Paragraph 1 at the top?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Presumably you must have been very interested in
       the terms of the subpostmasters contract?
   A.  As far as I can remember, I can remember that I thought
       the conditions which they said I have to do three or
       four things, these are the terms and conditions, I need
       to accept it.
   Q.  That is not really answering the question.  You have
       just gone through a process and put a business plan
       together and had an interview, and you have been told
       you are successful, and you've told that subject to --
       your appointment will be subject to your acceptance of
       the subpostmasters contract.
           Now, whether you are really happy or not really
       happy at all will depend a bit, won't it, on what the
       terms are, good terms or bad terms.  Do you see the
       point I am putting?
   A.  As far as I can remember, these are the conditions which
       they told me that I have to do in one month, three
       months and six months.  As far as I can remember.
   Q.  That is not quite right, is it?  If we go on in
       the letter then it attaches a number of things.
       Appendix 1, in bold, which is attached to this letter,
       sets out the Conditions of Appointment, capital C,
       capital A, that will apply to you.  And it says one copy
       of appendix 1 should be signed by you and returned.  Do
       you see?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That is the first thing.  And we see that if you go to
       page {E3/64/5}.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We see that set out there.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  About the specific things, about tier payments, things
       of that kind.  Paragraph 5, about painting the exterior,
       things of that kind?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So you are right, it was subject to that.  But it was
       also subject to -- looking at appendix 2 now -- the
       document, something called the appointment pack.  It
           "In particular, the appointment pack contains
       [something called] the subpostmasters contract setting
       out the contractual relationship with Post Office ..."
           It goes on at {E3/64/2} to say:
           "Please give these documents your utmost attention."
           Do you see that?
   A.  I can't remember it.
   Q.  But you can read it on the page --
   A.  Yes, I did read the first page.
   Q.  And you would have realised this was an important letter
       from a business point of view, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you would have realised it was important that you
       read the appendix 1 and appendix 2 documents, is that
       also right?
   A.  I can't remember it.  I did read or not I can't remember
   Q.  But it is likely you did read it, isn't it?
   A.  I can't remember, that is why I can't tell you yes or
   Q.  But given the sort of person you are and were back
       in July 2006, and given that this was an important
       matter for you and Mr Ahmed, your partner, it is
       incredible beyond belief, isn't it, that you wouldn't
       have read this letter?
   A.  I did read the letter, the first two pages you are
       showing, but I can't remember the full -- going through
       the full contract.
   Q.  Because if it wasn't there, surely you or Mr Ahmed would
       say "It says it is subject to these various things",
       including the SPMC as we call it, "but it is not
       included.  I must ask them for a copy".  Isn't that what
       you would have expected yourself to have said at that
   A.  If I am going through now, then I will, because I have
       suffered a lot.  But at that time I was happy I am
       selected for the postmaster.  And I can't remember I did
       read all the terms and conditions or not, I can't
   Q.  Did you show this letter to Mr Ahmed, your partner, your
       business partner?
   A.  I was mostly dealing with this sort of paperwork.
   Q.  Did you show this letter to Mr Ahmed, your partner?
   A.  I can't remember.
   Q.  But were you -- you said earlier I think you did share
       documents with him and you went through them together.
       Does that apply in relation to this document?
   A.  We went through for business plan, not for these
   Q.  So even though Mr Ahmed was your business partner, you
       wouldn't have shown him the letter and the attachments
       informing you that the application was successful, is
       that what you are saying?
   A.  As far as I can remember, I told him that I have been
       selected as a subpostmaster.
   Q.  I suggest to you that you did receive appendix 1 and
       appendix 2, and you did receive the subpostmasters
       contract at that time.
   A.  I can't remember it.  I can't say no but I can't
       remember it.
   Q.  You also would have received appendix 1 to this letter,
       we see at {E3/64/5}.  If you read paragraph 1 of that,
       it says:
           "You will be bound by the terms of the standard
       subpostmasters contract for services at scale ..."
           You would have read that at the time, wouldn't you?
   A.  As I explained before, I was thinking that these are the
       conditions which have been put on us to do within one
       month, three months or six months.
   Q.  But if you read clause 1, which says you will be bound
       by the terms of the standard subpostmasters contract for
       services at scale, yes?  And you didn't have that
       document at the time, you would have asked for it,
       wouldn't you?
   A.  I can't remember did I ask or not.  I even don't
       remember that I have received or not.  This is very old
       things so I can't tell you exact yes or no.
   Q.  Because the terms of the contract you were being
       offered, and those terms, wouldn't that be your final
       stage of your due diligence?  All your efforts, your
       talking to other subpostmasters, your business plan and
       everything else, and this is them accepting it subject
       to certain terms.  Unless you see those terms then all
       your other due diligence to that date has been wasted,
       hasn't it?
   A.  Can you repeat the question, please?
   Q.  Yes.  The terms, knowing the terms on which they were
       going to appoint you was the final stage of your
       due diligence, before deciding whether to take the
       appointment or not.  It was the final stage?
   A.  I was happy I am selected, and I signed the contracts
       and sent them back.
   Q.  It would have been clear to you, wouldn't it, on reading
       {E3/64/5} at the top, paragraph 1, that what they were
       binding you to was something other than included in
       the five clauses on that page?
   A.  I explained before that -- I was thinking these
       conditions, which is on paragraph 5, that I have to do
       this two or three, these are the things which I can
       remember so far.  Other than that, I can't remember.
   Q.  So pausing there.  You thought, did you, that when in
       paragraph 1 it talks about:
           "You will be bound by the standard subpostmasters
       contract ..."
           That what it was talking about was be bound by
       paragraph 5 of this page, is that what you are saying?
   A.  More or less.  But my English was not so high standard
       I can go in these sorts of things.  I was very, very
       positive towards the Post Office, I was keen to take the
       business.  So when you are so much interested you don't
       go in these sort of things.  I never thought that I will
       lose some (inaudible) thing when I will be working in
       the Post Office.  So if I am clear, honest, so I don't
       be afraid of signing any contract with anybody.
   Q.  Mr Sabir, you are familiar -- were familiar at the time
       with the concept of standard terms of contract, weren't
       you?  You understand about that as a concept, is that
   A.  I explained before --
   Q.  No --
   A.  -- as far as I can remember, I understood that these two
       or three things which they explained in paragraph 5,
       these are the things I need -- these are only things
       I can --
   Q.  I am testing that, though.  You were aware at this time
       of the concept of standard terms and conditions.  You
       get it if you buy almost any item.  If you buy a ticket
       for the theatre there will be standard terms and
       conditions on the back, yes, that apply to everyone.
       Can we agree about that?
   A.  As I explained before, these are the things -- I am
       telling you the truth which I understood at that period
       of time.  I can't remember -- I can't remember that
       I have keenly gone through with all the paperwork and
       neither any of my other Post Office friends advised me
       to read the contract and everything properly and then
       you sign it.  Whoever was running to whom, I know they
       were running the business successfully, and I also
       expecting the same thing.
   Q.  Mr Sabir, the accountancy firms you worked for, did they
       have standard terms they would send out to new clients
       when you had new clients?
   A.  I have not dealing with that part of the business.
   Q.  But you are aware that your accounting firm had standard
       terms of trading, are you not?
   A.  They don't -- there are specialist accountants to deal
       with these sorts of things.
   Q.  But you were aware the accounting firms must have had
       standard terms of trading, weren't you?
   A.  They are doing -- I know they are doing because now I am
       running my own business.  But at that stage I was not
       dealing with this part of the business.
   Q.  Are you aware of the concept of something called
       standard terms, yes, as opposed to -- that apply to
       everyone, yes, as opposed to individual terms that might
       apply to an individual?  Do you agree with that basic --
       just in theory?  At this time you were aware of that
   A.  I can't tell you -- I explained before, you know, what
       I understood at that period of time.
   Q.  Because I suggest you well understood at that time the
       concept of standard terms, and you furthermore well
       understood that what appears at paragraph 5 on page 5
       {E3/64/5} of this document are on no view standard
       terms.  They are the terms applicable to you about
       painting and clearing away stickers and posters.
   A.  These are the things which I understand at that time,
       which I am telling you.  Other than things, I did not go
       through with all the contract and with everything.  As
       far as I understood, I am telling you right now.
   Q.  What you were expecting was what you were told on
       30 June, if you go back to {E3/53/1}, was the complete
       terms and conditions for the subpostmasters contract.
       You were told that back in June.  That is what you were
       expecting.  And you knew at the time of 13 July that
       that, on your case, is what you hadn't got and what you
       must have been looking for.
   A.  I think I gave the same answer at that time as well,
       that I was thinking that the Post Office officer which
       have been in the Post Office, whatever he has, pointed
       I have to do that thing.  And still I am on the same
       answer, you know.  As far as I understood I am telling
       you the truth.
   Q.  Moving forward then in terms of your reasonable
       expectations when entering into the contract in
       July 2006.  Firstly, the background would be the
       documents we have been discussing now.  I suggest you
       got them all but you suggest you are not sure.  That
       would be part of background, do you agree?
   A.  Which documents you are ...
   Q.  The ones you received with your letter in advance of the
       interview and the documents we have just been looking at
       behind tab 64, the appendix 1, appendix 2 letter at
       {E3/64/5}.  They form the background to you deciding to
       sign the contract, yes?
   A.  I can remember these two papers here.  Appendix 1, I can
       remember this when I received it.
   Q.  As regards the issue of Horizon, you would have expected
       that, in terms of your expectations at the time, to be
       a reasonable reliable computer system, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.  As advised by the Post Office I also believed that
       this will be the good system.
   Q.  As regards training, you understood at that time you
       would be provided with any training necessary for you to
       operate the Post Office and operate the Horizon system,
       is that fair?
   A.  I was given training, one-week training in Burnley.
   Q.  As regards the Helpline, your expectations were, or a
       reasonable person in your position would have been that
       it would provide such assistance as was necessary for
       you to run the branch?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Classroom training then, which is the next thing that
       happened in time.  On 21 August 2006 you had five days
       of classroom training.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Do you remember that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And that was useful training, do you agree with that?
   A.  That was useful, yes.
   Q.  Do you think that training allowed you to operate as
       a postmaster and to operate Horizon?
   A.  When I came in the branch that was not enough.  When
       I took -- when you are doing training in the classroom
       that is a different thing, when you come on ground that
       is a bit different.  I have been facing a lot of
       difficulties in the beginning.
   Q.  I think you had -- just joining those dots -- from
       31 August I think you had six days' on site training as
       well, does that sound right?
   A.  One week she came during the day.
   Q.  That was hands on practical training?
   A.  We have to work but she was standing behind.
   Q.  Was that helpful training as well, the on site training?
   A.  That is helpful but for the new person it is not enough.
   Q.  Going back to classroom training, for the moment, I have
       various documents I can put to you, but I think you
       would agree that during classroom training part of it
       was introduction to Horizon and Helpline, do you
       remember that?
   A.  Yes.  There are some dummy type of Horizon system there
       and some dummy paperwork as well, how you have to do.
   Q.  And they also covered a stock balancing.  We can turn
       some of these up, if you like.  Go to {F3/48/1} and
       {F3/49/1}, a document "Introduction to Horizon and
       Helpline", do you see that?  This comes from the course
       you would have been on.
   A.  I can't remember this document.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am not sure Mr Cavender is suggesting
       you have seen the document, but he will in a minute if
       he wants to.
   MR CAVENDER:  This is what the trainer would have had.  So
       this just helps us with the scope.  I am not suggesting
       you would have seen this, but this would have been the
       scope of what the trainer was trying to achieve in this
       one hour 30 segment.  Does that remind you of the sort
       of things covered during the classroom training?
   A.  We did some training for four or five days.  But as far
       as I can remember, I think none of us balance was okay
       when they did the final thing.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  The classroom training.
   A.  Classroom training, yes.  And when we come on -- in
       the branch, the lady who came to train me, she helped to
       do day to day transactions, but Wednesday and Thursday
       we were opening late due to lottery, and she has to go
       early, so I have to do the balance on my own.
   MR CAVENDER:  If we go to {F3/51/1}, I think the same
       classroom training package for stock balancing this
       time.  I don't suggest you saw this but this indicates
       another aspect of the training sessions.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, there is a question about whether this
       is the right document to be looking at.  Because at
       {F3/47/1} there is the timetable into which these pages
       appear to fit, and it relates to a two-week not
       a five-day one.  So it may be fair to have that in mind.
   MR CAVENDER:  Thank you to my learned friend for that.
           Looking at the content, though, of the five days you
       had, we have dealt with introduction to Horizon and
       Helpline, I think you said there was something about
       that.  What about stock balancing, would you have done
       some balancing work, do you think?
   A.  Yes, we did, but we -- I explained that at the end of
       five days, most of us were working, our balance was not
       right.  We did not understand 100 per cent how the
       procedure works because there is a difference between
       working on ground and getting training in the classroom.
   Q.  Of course.  And didn't your six days on site training
       build on that?  Isn't that what that was about?  And
       that is what happened in your case, was it not?
   A.  As I explained before, on the balance day she was
       leaving early because we were opening until late,
       9 o'clock for the lottery.  So she was leaving by
       lunchtime and she said just follow the procedure and do
   Q.  So leaving that training behind then, can we go on to
       the transfer date which is 8 September 2006.  Can
       we take up Mr Webb's witness statement as to what he
       said happened.  So that's {C2/11/3}, please.
           Firstly, what is your memory like of what happened
       on 8 September 2006?  Do you have a good memory, or is
       it like your memory has been so far, not really
       remembering very much?
   A.  I can't remember everything but I remember most of the
   Q.  What Mr Webb says at paragraph 14, {C2/11/3} is that:
           "I believe that the paperwork which we, as auditors,
       were required to run through with the incoming and
       outgoing subpostmasters included the documents which
       have been listed in the witness statement."
           I will take you to the documents, don't worry.
           He says this:
           "I would briefly explain the documents to the
       incoming subpostmaster.  I would also give him or her
       time to read the documents carefully if they so wished."
           Do you agree or disagree that that practice --
   A.  Disagree.
   Q.  You disagree with that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Which bits do you disagree with?  Are you disagreeing
       that he didn't explain briefly the documents he was
       asking you to sign?  Do you disagree with that?
   A.  Can you repeat the question.
   Q.  Are you disagreeing that he didn't explain to you
       briefly the documents he was asking you to sign?
   A.  When the auditors come on site to transfer the branch
       they only let the new subpostmaster do very little
       things.  They deal with the old postmaster, and they
       assume that the new postmaster also think that these are
       the people on my side and they also act like this, and
       most leave balancing, and everything is done by the
       auditors.  They don't -- they just ask sometimes to
       count a little bit of cash or some stamps, not more than
       this.  Everything is done by the auditors who come on
           I think this is the practice, I don't know about
       now, but at that time they were -- because I had been
       transferred to Cottingley Post Office, they did the same
       thing.  And when the Crossflatts Post Office was
       transferred they also did the same thing.
   Q.  What Mr Webb says is his usual practice, which he says
       he will follow here, was to give you time to read the
       documents carefully if you wished.  Do you recall being
       given time to read them before you signed them?
   A.  No.  Whenever they come they do their work.  They don't
       let you to do anything.
   Q.  If you had wanted more time you could have asked for
       more time, couldn't you, presumably?
   A.  Because they assume that they are on your side and they
       are working on your behalf.
   Q.  Do you remember -- do you recall asking for any more
       time to look at any documents before you signed them?
   A.  When they are working like you, how can you ask them to
       give you some more time?  They assume they are on your
       side, and they are working for yourself.  When the audit
       is finished they ask you to sign the paperwork and then
       they say, "Yes, okay, open the branch tomorrow then".
   Q.  So I take it from your answers you didn't ask for any
       more time, is that right?
   A.  I didn't ask because they were assuming that they are
       doing everything for goodness of me and I had already
       positive thinking about this.
   Q.  You wouldn't have signed them unless you understood
       them, would you?
   A.  They don't take much time.  When they finish the audit,
       they ask you to sign it, but -- the new subpostmaster
       see what is happening there but they don't know
       everything because everything is new for the new
       postmaster.  Everything happens in front of the
       subpostmaster but they don't let him do everything.
       They do everything, counting, balancing and everything,
       especially those stamps and those tickets and everything
       you know.
   Q.  Let's go to some of the documents then.  If you go to
       bundle {D1.3/4/1}, please.  This is something called the
       "Acknowledgement of Appointment".  You would have read
       this before you signed it, yes?  It's quite big, bold.
       Not a lot of words on this page.  Can we assume you read
   A.  I remember this.  I signed it.
   Q.  And you would have read it before you signed it?
   A.  Yes, I read it and then I signed it.
   Q.  If you didn't understand it, or anything in it, you
       would ask questions about it before signing it?
       Am I right?
   A.  As I explained before, I don't have any negative aspect
       of my thinking about the Post Office.  That is why, when
       they completed the audit, they asked me to sign this
       one, they witnessed it and then I did sign it.  And
       I was happy to start next day as a subpostmaster.
   Q.  It says you agree to be bound by "the terms of my
       contract".  Pausing there, what do you say you
       understood your contract to be?  On your case, you are
       not sure whether you received the SPMC at this stage.
   A.  As I explained before, these were -- the conditions
       which they put on me to do in one, three and six months,
       I thought these are the things which I have to do about
       this letter.
   Q.  You are saying, are you, at this stage you thought the
       entirety of your relationship with the Post Office
       involved painting within a certain time and taking down
       posters, which is paragraphs 5 and 6 of the document we
       were looking at before?  Is that your evidence; you
       thought that that was the entirety of your written
       agreement with them?
   A.  No, every postmaster knows that he has to run the
       business efficiently.  He is responsible for his losses
       and his assistants' losses.  As far as I understand I am
       telling you truth right now.
   Q.  But you must have realised -- I think you accepted
       earlier and it will be in the transcript -- that you
       expected your relationship with Post Office to be
       governed by a written contract.
   A.  If you have some negativity about anything, then you can
       ask these sorts of questions, and if I am 100 per cent
       positive, I have put all of my assets and stake, so how
       can I think any negative and I can go through all these
       sorts of things?  As I explained before, I never had any
       negative aspect about -- all of the people I know who
       were running the Post Offices, they still are running
       and they are very, very well-established.
   Q.  But, Mr Sabir, it is not about negative or positive, it
       is just knowing what the terms are.  Because on your
       case at this stage you don't have a contract, you have
       some specific terms about when you have to paint
       something and when you have to take posters down.  So on
       your case at this stage you don't have a contract.  So
       what are you signing this for, agreeing to be bound by?
       That is my question?
   A.  As far as I understand I -- this is the question I think
       the respected counsel is asking twenty times.  As far as
       I understood, I told you.  Whatever I understood, I told
       you.  I have nothing more than that.  I can't lie in
       front of you, which I don't know.
   Q.  Go over the page to the appendix {D1.3/4/2}, you see
       there -- no, I will leave that.  We have dealt with that
       before.  Let's go then to {E3/102/1}.  This is
       a document, page 1, something called "Serv 135" we see
       at the top.  We can see this has been signed by you at
       {E3/102/2}.  Yes?
   A.  Yes, these are my signatures.
   Q.  You are familiar with this, yes?
   A.  No, familiar -- but I can remember this.  I signed this
   Q.  And before you signed it, you would have read it?
   A.  Not really.
   Q.  Look at page {E3/102/2}.  The declaration you made is:
           "I Mr M Sabir acknowledge that I have read and
       understood these extracts."
           And you have signed it.  Was that declaration you
       made true or untrue?
   A.  No, I made -- whatever the auditors told me, I signed
       it, and they did not speak about any sort of these --
       they did not explain me anything about anything.  They
       completed the audit and then they asked me to sign it
       and they witnessed it.
   Q.  Whether you signed this document was up to you.  You
       weren't told to sign it, saying: you must.  You were
       asked to sign it if you wanted to take up the
       appointment.  Yes?
   A.  I did not ... can you repeat the question, please?
   Q.  You said I think in answer to a question that you were
       told you must sign it.  It was up to you whether you
       signed it and what you read before you signed it, wasn't
   A.  When they complete the audit, every subpostmaster has to
       sign it.  He can't refuse that: I can't sign it.
   Q.  What you acknowledge by signing it is that you have read
       and understood these extracts.  And that is what you
       would have done, isn't it?  You would have had a look at
       them to decide whether you understood and agreed to
   A.  As far as I understood I explained to you before.
   Q.  When you looked over these items, you will see in the
       first paragraph:
           "Dear Subpostmaster.
           "Recent findings by the audit teams have raised
       doubts in my mind as to how conversant subpostmasters
       are with very important Post Office regulations.  As a
       means of protecting the investment made by yourself
       and Post Office in the business, I would like to draw
       your attention to the following extracts from your
       contract ..."
           Pausing there.  If you thought your contract was
       simply about painting within a certain time and removing
       posters, then why have you got in section 12, cash
       balance, and all these other items here.  Over the page
       {E3/102/3} section 19, suspension.  Why have you got all
       these things as part of your contract?
   A.  Can repeat.  I did not catch --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am sorry, we are jumping around on the
       common screen.  I think you were reading from a document
       which wasn't in front of the witness, which is part of
       the reason --
   MR CAVENDER:  The document I want to go to is {E3/102/1}.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is what I thought.  Have you got
       that now, Mr Sabir?
   A.  Section 19?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  No, that is page 2.  You want
   MR CAVENDER:  We see, if you read the top paragraph,
       Mr Sabir, what they are doing is saying, by means of
       protecting the investment, they want to draw your
       attention to a number of extracts from your contract,
       capital C.  On your case you say you --
   A.  Excuse me, I did not find where you --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It's the top four lines just after "Dear
       subpostmaster", Mr Sabir.  Have you got that?  It
           "Recent findings ..."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just read the next few lines to yourself
       and then Mr Cavender will ask you again.  (Pause).
   A.  I can't remember.
   MR CAVENDER:  What can't you remember?
   A.  This one.
   Q.  We know you signed this one, don't we?  If we go to
       {E3/102/2}.  You certainly had this in your hands and
       signed it, yes?
   A.  Yes, I did sign it.
   Q.  What was being made clear to you was that certain
       extracts were being highlighted.
   A.  But as I -- as far as I can remember I did not go
       through with everything.  Neither they explained who
       did audit for -- took over the branch.
   Q.  When you looked at this, you would have seen
       for instance section 12(12) "Losses":
           "The subpostmaster is responsible for all losses
       caused by his own negligence, carelessness or error and
       also losses of all kinds caused by his assistants.
       Deficiencies due to such losses must be made good
       without delay."
           You would have seen that passage, wouldn't you?
   A.  This I knew before; that I am responsible for all the
       losses and for the assistants' losses.  But 100 per cent
       I can't remember everything I have gone through at that
       time, no.
   Q.  How was it you say you knew that; that they were
       responsible for losses by assistants and losses by
       negligence?  How do you say you had come to know that in
       advance of this?
   A.  I knew that I am responsible for all the losses.
   Q.  How?
   A.  I may have spoken with Mr Zubair or the other
       postmasters, but not in detail.  But I know that I am
       responsible for everything.
   Q.  The next document I think you were shown and signed is
       at {E3/102/3}, something called ARS 110.  Do you see
       that document?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  This is basically you accepting you have received
       a whole range of documents there.  Including, we can
       see, as well as the operations manuals at the top, under
       Horizon at the bottom, the Horizon User Guide, Balancing
       Guide, et cetera and you have signed that.  And you have
       signed that because you were satisfied that those
       documents had been handed over to you, is that fair?
   A.  Those were put in the (inaudible) and they show these
       are the documents and you just sign it.  They checked
       with the old postmaster, not with me.
   Q.  But, as I understand it, you have signed this as
       recognising that those things are present in
       the Post Office and are now under your control?
   A.  The auditors who came, they always assume that they are
       working on your behalf and you trust them.
   Q.  In terms of on your case, I think you say that the
       contract may well have been formed on this day, the day
       of appointment, rather than at an earlier time.  Were
       your expectations at this stage the same as the
       expectations at the earlier stage I mentioned, namely,
       Horizon would be reasonably reliable and that you would
       obtain the training necessary for Horizon?  Were they
       still your expectations at this later time?
   A.  Yes, everybody expect this one, that ...
   Q.  And that the Helpline would provide you with any
       necessary assistance?  That was your expectation?
   A.  Everybody expect that the Helpline would provide ...
   Q.  In terms of the chronology, because you apply for
       Crossflatts, the second business, don't you?  So
       meanwhile, while all that is going on, you have your
       Crossflatts invitation to interview on 3 August.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We were just dealing a moment ago with 8 September, the
       appointment, for Cottingley, and during this stage
       obviously you are having also the Crossflatts
       application.  Do you understand?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Just following that story up and catching up, if we go
       to {E3/78/1} we will see the start of the documentation
       in relation to that appointment.  So we see at {E3/78/1}
       3 August 2006.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The letter.  In exactly the same form as the letter in
       relation to Cottingley we looked at earlier, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you would have read this letter presumably,
       including the brief summary of conditions of
       subpostmasters contract we see at the bottom of
       {E3/78/1} being referred to?
   A.  I can't remember.
   Q.  If we go over the page to {E3/78/3} we see the summary
       again, which is familiar because we looked at it
       a moment ago.
   A.  Again I don't say I did not receive it, but I did not go
       through it, all this paperwork.
   Q.  So on this occasion you are not saying you didn't
       receive it, but you are saying that you are not sure you
       went through it?  Have I recalled that accurately?
   A.  The same thing I am telling before: I can't say I did
       not receive it but I can't remember that I have gone
       through with these all -- these letters.
   Q.  Because Post Office's case obviously is by this stage
       you have actually got the full contract from your
       Cottingley application.  In terms of the chronology you
       have got that at the time you receive this letter.
           In terms of the interview on Crossflatts, that was
       15 August 2006 I think, and without going through all
       the same questions again, can I put it to you that the
       interview on Crossflatts followed exactly the same
       routine as was followed on Cottingley?  It was the same
       type of interview, you went through the same materials,
       and information was given to you in the form that I have
   A.  Then I went for the Crossflatts interview.  That took
       a very short while.  And as they knew that I am already
       selected they asked how you are going to run Crossflatts
       Post Office?  And I told the gentleman that Mr Munir
       Ahmed would work as the manager in Crossflatts and
       I will work full-time in Cottingley Post Office.  And
       that was not a very long -- it was a very, very short
   Q.  In terms of the Crossflatts process, taking that
       forward. {E3/83/1}, please.  This is the letter sent to
       you, although it has the wrong date on it, it appears,
       of 7 April, but this is the letter, the substance of the
       letter sent to you, I suggest, on 16 August when you
       were told you were successful.  Yes?  It's the same form
       as we saw in relation to Cottingley.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "... delighted to inform you that your appointment will
       be subject to ..."
           Et cetera.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Same points on appendix 1 and 2.  Same points when you
       go to {E3/83/5}.  This time it is paragraph 4 rather
       than 5 of the conditions of appointment.  This time at
       paragraph 4, if you look over the page at {E3/83/6}, you
       have various painting duties within certain time limits,
       do you see that?  And new flooring there as well.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And to provide a branch line, et cetera.  This included,
       as it suggests it does, a copy of the subpostmasters
   A.  I don't say I did not see it, but I can't remember --
   Q.  Is it possible you did receive a copy of the
       subpostmasters contract?
   A.  I can't say.
   Q.  But it is possible you did?
   A.  I can't remember as I told you before.
   Q.  Then we go to {E3/107/1}, following the story through,
       indicating you have been successful -- this is
       20 September now -- and arranging a transfer.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So dealing now with that transfer, I think it was on
       11 October 2006, is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That transfer mimicked, did it not, the transfer
       unsurprisingly, some little time earlier, of Cottingley,
       namely, you have the appointment document, you have the
       Serv 135 document, and you have the ARS 110 in relation
       to the documents.  The same three documents that you
       signed in relation to Cottingley, is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Post appointment, if we move to that stage, the
       businesses weren't as profitable as you had expected.
       Is that broadly fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So you decided on 6 November to give three months'
       notice to terminate the Crossflatts business because you
       found a potential purchaser.  Is that right?
   A.  There was no potential purchaser but Mr Ahmed was
       expecting to go back in accountancy at that time.  We
       were not making enough profit in Crossflatts.
   Q.  I see.  We see the letter recording your resignation, if
       we go to {E3/120/1}, from Post Office to yourself
           "Thank you for your resignation dated 6 November ...
       giving notice ..."
           Second paragraph:
           "I note that you have a prospective purchaser for
       your private retail business/premise who is also
       interested in applying to be the new subpostmaster ..."
           That is right, the understanding in this letter?
       That was what was going on here?
   A.  I can't remember this letter but I don't have any
       purchaser.  If I had a purchaser I have sold the
       Post Office.  I think this is a standard letter they
       send to everybody and they send to me as well and I did
       not go through.
   Q.  Are you saying --
   A.  I can't remember, I can't remember firstly this.  But
       I think this is a standard letter they have got in
       the system and they sent to me as well but I don't have
       any purchaser.
   Q.  At the time you gave notice, did you have a potential
       purchaser in mind?  Had you contacted or was there
       someone you had in mind you were going to sell it to?
   A.  You can't sell to somebody.  First subpostmaster has to
       give resign to the Post Office, they publish the
       Post Office in their website, and then somebody come and
       visit it if they show interest.  Then the listing
       postmaster accepting -- this is the procedure which is
       adopted by the Post Office which --
   Q.  I understand what you are saying.  But if you have
       someone, say a friend or someone who wants to be
       a postmaster, whilst it is not guaranteed you could
       transfer it to him, because he might not be a suitable
       person, but assuming he is a suitable person then you
       can have him in mind when giving your notice,
       am I right?
   A.  Can you repeat your question, please.
   Q.  What Post Office is saying here, rightly or wrongly, is
       they understood you to have a prospective purchaser, so
       someone who was interested in buying, yes?  What I am
       saying to you is that is perfectly possible you did have
       a prospective purchaser, you give notice and, as you
       say, that prospective purchaser has to go through the
       Post Office system, and if they are acceptable then they
       can be your purchaser, yes?
   A.  I can't remember.  As far as I can remember, that Mr --
       we were not making any profits and Mr Munir Ahmed, he
       decided to go back to accountancy at that time.
   Q.  You gave three months' notice to terminate?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Because that was a right you had under the contract with
       Post Office?
   A.  I can't remember it.  But I gave -- as far as I know,
       I gave resignation and they gave me a specific date that
       you will be employed for this period of time.
   Q.  And you understood at the time that was reciprocal.  So
       you can give them three months' notice and they can give
       you three months' notice, yes?
   A.  I don't know about this.  I don't think Post Office can
       give somebody three months' notice, as far as I know.
       Postmaster has to give resign, as far as I know.
       I don't know about ...
   Q.  So this was in relation to Crossflatts.  Then if we go
       to {E3/121/1} in relation to Cottingley, on 10 July you
       give three months' notice in relation to Cottingley as
       well, don't you?
   A.  Yes, I gave.
   Q.  We see that, as I say, at {E3/121/1} and that is
       a further three months' notice you are giving, yes?
   A.  Yes.  It's not further, this is for Cottingley
       Post Office.  This is not any further notice.
   Q.  Sorry?
   A.  This is for Cottingley Post Office, this is not for
   Q.  That is what I am saying.  I have shown you the
       Crossflatts one at tab 120 and I have just shown you the
       Cottingley one.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  At {E3/121/1}, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Going to the deficits in your branch, if we go please to
       paragraph 113 {C1/3/19}, cast your eye over
       paragraph 113 for me.  The scratch card problem.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Correct me if I am wrong, but there was a problem with
       one of your assistants mixing up the stock in and stock
       out buttons?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  In relation to scratch cards, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You say I think at paragraph 118 of your witness
       statement on {C1/3/21}, that until you had the problem
       with lottery scratch cards:
           "... explained above ..."
           The problem with lottery scratch cards:
           "I wouldn't say I otherwise had problems with my
       accounts on Horizon."
           So basically Horizon was okay, but we had a problem
       with scratch cards.  Is that a fair summary?
   A.  But she was putting the scratch card wrongly in Horizon.
   Q.  But the problem with the scratch cards is created by the
       assistants mixing up?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Okay.  There was then an audit on 10 August 2009 in
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We see that at {E3/123/1}.  On 10 August 2009 the
       auditors went in and conducted an audit?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And they found a deficit, a shortage in the branch of
       £4,878.36, of which 5,000 -- that's the net figure, but
       they had found a difference in stock figures of some
       £5,117, we can see on that page, can't we?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at the comments on the audit report over the
       page at {E3/123/2}, second paragraph:
           "During the audit it was quickly established that
       the office was showing large amounts of lottery scratch
       cards and on counting it was found to be short by some
       £5,000 approx.  At this point I spoke with Mr Sabir to
       establish the cause of the shortage and was told that
       the error relates back to 2007."
           Then you refer to a letter and things of that kind.
       Then we go through what they did, they telephoned
       et cetera.
           I think you would agree that a deficit of £4,878 is
       a serious matter, do you agree with that?
   A.  No, I didn't agree.  I told them everything what was the
   Q.  Do you agree that a shortfall of £4,878 on your account
       is a serious matter?
   A.  The money was in the safe, this is not -- have you read
       all the statements which I submitted to support this
   Q.  Do you accept in principle a deficit of £4,878, if one
       is found in your accounts, is a serious matter?  Just
   A.  If that was due to my mistake, that is acceptable.  If
       I have done the fraud, that is not acceptable.  So when
       auditors came there, when they found out this
       discrepancy, I showed them in my notebook, this is the
       reference number.  I spoke with the Helpline, and I also
       showed the receipts in which she was doing the mistakes.
       The girl, she has also been through lottery training.
       But what happened, instead when she remmed in the -- it
       mostly comes in cards 50 and 25.  Instead of clicking
       rem in, she was clicking rem out.  And this was the
       surplus according every day, 50, 60.  But when we do end
       of the day balance, we can't check that day what is the
       problem.  It can be postage stamp or anything else.  And
       because I thought -- I gave her training but I started
       investigating what is the problem.
           When I saw that the scratch cards are every day
       coming over, I asked her "How do you rem in in the
       system?"  And when she showed me the button, she said
       instead of remming in, she was clicking remming out.
       And so for that thing, if end of the day she remmed in
       50 scratch cards and we sold 10, so at end of the day it
       was coming about £110 surplus.  But when I found out
       this one, this has been going on maybe -- I have to go
       Wednesday to Crossflatts for the balance, and she was
       covering behind me at around -- at that period of time
       this has been happening.
           When I found that, and after that suddenly the
       Post Office showed in their system that I am short so
       much stock.  I rang the Helpline, I requested that "This
       is the problem I have, and can you please let me know --
       I have got money in the safe written on those that this
       is the spare cash, and if somebody can please help me
       from lottery side so I can balance the stock".
           I -- I have already resigned from the Post Office
       branch as well, and if I have found somebody I have to
       balance everything.
           So when they came, I showed the details, the
       receipts in which she was used to rem out instead of
       remming in.  I said that this was the problem.  I could
       not find how many scratch cards I am under, so can you
       please ask somebody -- I told the Helpline to ring me,
       and if they tell me, the money are already in the safe
       and I can balance my stock.  But nobody rang me after
       that.  Then suddenly they came and they suspend me.
   Q.  Mr Sabir, what I want to do is concentrate on the
       accounting.  How you accounted for this difficulty.
       Yes?  You are an assistant accountant, you must have
       realised the importance to account for this matter
       properly.  Do you agree with that?
   A.  I was accounting every day properly.
   Q.  As at 10 August when the auditors came in, you were
       telling the Post Office through your signed accounts
       that you had £4,878 more in stock at your Cottingley
       branch than in fact you did have.  Do you accept that?
   A.  Can you repeat the question, please?
   Q.  Yes.  As at 10 August you were telling Post Office
       through your signed accounts that you had £4,878 more in
       stock at your branch in relation to scratch cards than
       in fact you did have?
   A.  I have spare cash in the --
   Q.  In terms of your accounting to Post Office ... It was a
       net figure.  The gross figure in terms of stock
       obviously is the £5,117.40, but you were significantly
       in your signed accounts inaccurately accounting for the
       stock you actually had.  You were telling them you had
       £4,000 plus, more in stock than in fact you did.
   A.  I have already raised this complaint before signing the
       accounts, and if we don't sign the accounts and don't
       roll over you can't clear the next day.  And when the
       auditors came on the spot he rang somewhere,
       I don't know, he rang on his mobile and he came to know
       in five minutes how many scratch cards are short.  And
       we, as subpostmaster, we should have got some sort of
       help if we are struggling, we contact the Post Office
       and they resolve our problem.  This was my concern.
   Q.  Mr Sabir, this was Post Office's money you were
       misaccounting for.  You were saying you had 5,000-odd
       more scratch cards than you did.  There's nothing
       complicated about it.  From the accounting point of view
       that is what you were telling Post Office, yes?
   A.  The cash was in the safe.  The complaint was already
       made --
   Q.  But the cash in the safe isn't reflected -- sorry, can I
       ask the question.  The cash in the safe isn't reflected
       in your reports you are accounting to Post Office, is
       it?  It's not part --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Cavender, paragraph 113 deals with
       a degree of communication  to the Post Office about this
   MR CAVENDER:  Indeed.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So when you are saying to the witness
       "accounting to Post Office", you are going to have to be
       precise, please.  Because as I understand paragraph 113,
       that pre-dates the audit.
           Is that right?
   A.  Yes, I showed the reference number from that, my Lord.
       This is the reference number.  I requested them:
       please --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I understand that.  Mr Cavender is now
       going to put his point to you about the way in which you
       were accounting for that.
   MR CAVENDER:  Your earlier communication had been almost two
       years earlier, hadn't it?  2007, wasn't it, when you
       raised the point?
   A.  The point I raised in 2008, later 2008.  The problem
       started maybe in 2007.  Because if she was activating
       one bundle of cards, that is about £50 worth.  And then
       I -- later on I came to know why the surplus cash is
       coming every day.  I was taking out and putting in the
       safe.  And when I came to know that she is doing this
       mistake, then I rang the Post Office Helpline, "Please
       can somebody from lottery office ring me or come to my
       office and resolve this problem.  This is the problem
       I have", and I showed the reference number for the
       details, "this is the reference number of the card".
       But they said "We don't believe you.  We have to suspend
   Q.  When you do your monthly accounting you have to declare
       to Post Office your stock figures, don't you, including
       your stock for scratch cards?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  When you do that you make a certification, is this
       right, that says:
           "I certify that the contents of this balancing and
       trading statement is an accurate reflection of the cash
       and stock at this branch."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So when they see your stock declaration for scratch
       cards that you had made in the previous months, it would
       be wrong to the tune of 5,000, wouldn't it?  The stock
       of scratch cards you were declaring would be wrong by
       some 5,000, yes, do you accept that?
   A.  The stock was short, but I have got the cash in the safe
       and I have already made the complaint about that, that
       this is the problem I am facing, and if you don't roll
       over the trading period it don't allow us to work next
       trading day.  So I can't close the Post Office.
   Q.  So why couldn't you simply have put the cash in?
       Because on the day of the audit, or soon after, the cash
       was put into the system, wasn't it?
   A.  They did put the cash in the system.
   Q.  Why didn't you do that beforehand?  If you had this cash
       that has erroneously been generated in the way it has
       because of a stock problem, why didn't you simply put it
       into the system?
   A.  I was waiting for somebody to ring me and tell me what
       is the actual figure I need to put in the system,
       whatever I -- coming above that was going in the
       Post Office system, not in my pocket or anywhere else.
       And they took the cash out of --
   Q.  When do you say the first time you raised this problem
       with the Helpline, et cetera?  113 {C1/3/19} isn't
       clear, to me at least, as to when you say you raised
       this.  What is the timing of that?
   A.  When I raised the complaint?  I don't have that diary
       with me, but I gave them the reference and the date as
       well.  I can't remember that one.
   Q.  Because in --
   A.  I showed them the receipts as well which she did wrong.
       Instead of remming in, she used to do remming out.
       I gave all these receipts as well.  Because I was not
       aware for how long this has been happening, that is why
       I was just waiting that if somebody from lottery,
       Post Office lottery side ring me and tell me: you need
       to put -- balance this stock, and then I can balance
   Q.  Go to {E3/123/2}, the audit report, they refer in
       the second paragraph on that page to you showing the
       auditor a letter received in October 2008.  In relation
       to this.  Do you see that?  That would be some nine
       months before --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Whereabouts, Mr Cavender?
   MR CAVENDER:  Second paragraph, my Lord.  Last line:
           "Mr Sabir did show me a letter received from the
       Post Office on October 2008 ..."
           That's give or take nine months earlier than the
       audit.  So how many declarations of the sort I have read
       to you would you have made misdeclaring your stock?
       Presumably eight or nine, because you did it monthly.
   A.  I can't remember this one, but I think this letter was
       issued not just to me, it may be the case it has been
       issued to all the Post Offices who are doing lottery
   Q.  When do you say you first contacted Post Office about
       this stock problem in relation to scratch cards?  When
       in the chronological run?  You have the audit in
       August 2009.  The audit report says you say this error
       relates back to 2007.  So presumably it had been a year
       or more earlier you had reported this to the Helpline,
       is that what you are saying?
   A.  No, I think you did not understand what I told you how
       this has been happening.  This has been happening over
       months and months.  She may be activating one or two in
       a week and the surplus will be about £40/£50.  So
       whatever was coming we are putting in the safe.  When --
       I can't remember everything, but when Post Office on
       their side, when they did the balance, the stock, how
       much scratch cards -- I don't know how their system
       works, that is why I was asking to somebody, when they
       showed in their system that I am short of so many
       scratch cards, that time I can remember I rang
       straightaway to Helpline, "Please ask somebody to ring
       me and I can resolve this problem".
           As and when they put stock in my system that "You
       are negative in stock", I state "Please, I have got cash
       in the system.  I was already finding this problem and
       if somebody please ring me and resolve this problem".
   Q.  Because if you had put that money -- the £5,000-odd for
       5,000 scratch cards into the system, the Horizon system,
       that would have shown a surplus, wouldn't it, because
       the system then would show you have 5,000 more cards
       than you really have and the cash for them, you create
       a surplus, and that would have triggered an audit.  And
       you knew that which is why you didn't put it in the
       accounts.  Is that right?
   A.  I did not catch your question.  Can you repeat your
       question again, please.
   Q.  If you put the cash in your safe, your £5,000-odd into
       the Horizon system, yes?  You'd acknowledged it existed.
       Then that would have created a surplus?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And if Post Office had seen the surplus of £5,000-odd,
       that would have triggered an audit, wouldn't it?
           Post Office see you running a surplus of £5,000,
       they would want to know what is going on here and they
       would have an audit, wouldn't they?
   A.  I reported to Post Office soon after I received the
       stock is showing short in my system.  I straight away
       reported to them, "Can please somebody ring me and tell
       me how much cards I am short.  I have got money in
       the safe.  I can put the money in and balance my stock".
   Q.  How long do you say you let this run for?  How many
       months did you mis-state your stock of scratch cards?
   A.  When they updated the system, it may be maximum two
       months, when they updated the system, when they showed
       in the system that I should have so much cards, and that
       was not balancing with my cards, that is why I rang the
       Helpline, "Please tell somebody, tell me exactly how
       much I am short with the cards, because I am struggling
       with this thing, and if they ring me I put the cash in
       and balance the scratch cards straightaway".
   Q.  So you are saying that it was a couple of months before,
       and yet the audit report at page {E3/123/2} says you
       told them the error dates back to 2007.
   A.  I can't remember and this was not happening first -- it
       may have started from that date, maybe £40/£50 every
       day, every week.  But the main problem occurred when
       they showed in the system, Horizon system, that I am
       short with the stock, and I rang them straightaway,
       Helpline, "Please, I have got this problem with the
       scratch cards.  If somebody ring me and tell me how much
       scratch cards I need to put in the system to balance my
       stock".  And nobody did ring me back, and I think they
       came after a couple of weeks and suspended me.
   Q.  Because there was no need to falsify your accounts in
       this way and mis-state your stock, was there?  All you
       had to do was put the cash in and in fact that is what
           Look at the bottom of {E3/123/2}, part of this audit
       report.  Cash was in fact -- actually a balancing cheque
       was put in to make good the error.  So you didn't need
       to mis-state your accounts in this way, did you?
   A.  Which I requested before.  I did not falsify anything.
       This was a genuine mistake, and what I'm -- what my
       concerns are, if an auditor came on the spot, if he knew
       in five minutes how much actual stock I should have, so
       subpostmasters should have this sort of access so these
       things don't happen.  This was my concerns.
   Q.  You were an accountant, you were in a particular
       position to know the importance of how you accounted for
       things, leaving aside the cause of the error at this
       stage, and instead of properly accounting for your
       scratch cards, as the audit report indicates, there was
       a discrepancy on stock, on audit, of some £5,000-odd.
       And that happened, even on your case, for a couple of
       months, and in fact according to the audit report in
       the timing maybe for a lot longer.
   A.  But this was the thing which I found there, Post Office
       did not find before.  Because I am accountant, that
       is -- that is why I found this on my side.  Nobody rang
       me from Post Office.  Nobody contact me from Post Office
       to resolve this problem.
           So as regard accountants, we have to put the figure
       what are told to us.  We can't falsify information for
       somebody or anybody else, you know.
   Q.  But that is exactly what you were doing.  Look at
       {E3/123/2} at the top.  Look at the second paragraph.
       What did you do in the audit?  Was it complicated?  No.
           "During the audit it was quickly established that
       the office was showing large amounts of lottery scratch
       cards and on counting count, it was found to be short by
       5,000 approx."
           So all you had to do, which in fact was done, is to
       put the cash in representing the shortage of the stock
       you were carrying.  There was no magic to this, was
   A.  How can I put the cash in if I don't know how much
       scratch cards I am short?
   Q.  You count them.  What you do is what happened in the
       audit --
   A.  This was the main problem.  I told that they were wrong,
       entries that were done in the Horizon system.  The
       Horizon system is not designed by me and is complicated.
       As we were told at the training, this is best system we
       have got, we have got the best Helpline in the world,
       and we will be always alongside you if you have any
       problem.  But when you go practically on the ground
       everything is the other way round.
   Q.  It's very straightforward.  You were obliged to declare
       the true stock figure, that is all you had to do, and
       you didn't.  You refused to do it.  And you declared it
       was true and honest and it wasn't.  All you had to do
       was count, as the auditor did {E3/123/2}, count how many
       you were short and put that in the Horizon in the till?
   A.  I requested the Helpline before the auditors came.  If
       auditors came before, and if they have found that I have
       not done anything, then this was my mistake.  But I have
       already requested Helpline, "Please ask lottery people
       to ring me.  I can resolve this problem".
       Realistically, I was doing sometimes Wednesday two/three
       hours off in the afternoon, and since I made this
       complaint, I used to go straightaway back to office and
       I advised my staff, "If anybody ring from lottery
       section from Post Office, please call me straight away,
       I want to -- because I want to get rid from this problem
       I have".
   Q.  Mr Sabir, were you capable of counting the scratch cards
       in your branch at the time of the audit and comparing
       the number you counted with the number at that date you
       had declared to Post Office?  Were you capable of doing
       that exercise?
   A.  That was the difference which was coming on and I --
       that difference I want to -- that is why I report before
       they came to my branch.  I reported before that date.
   Q.  You don't need to report.  What you need to do is count
       them, find the difference, and get the cash,
       Post Office's cash, and put it in the till.  Why didn't
       you do that simple thing?  Why didn't --
   A.  The cash was in the safe.  That was not in the till.
   Q.  And it should have been in the till.  It should have
       been in the system?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Cavender, I'm not sure that is
       an accurate reflection of what the witness's evidence is
       about what was wrong with the scratch cards.
           Was your assistant -- as I understand your
       explanation, and please tell me if I am wrong, when your
       assistant was entering in the scratch cards she was
       pressing a wrong button.
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So instead of in, she was pressing out.
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Did you have a separate record of how
       many scratch cards you should have or is that
       the information you were asking --
   A.  This was information I was requesting from the lottery,
       "Just give me the figure, I put in the system, and then
       I balance the -- "
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Did you have any other way of getting --
   A.  No --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just wait until I have finished asking
       the question.  Did you have any other way of finding out
       how many scratch cards you should have to compare
       against how many you did have without that information,
       from Post Office?
   A.  No, we had to speak with the lottery Helpline to get
       that correct figure.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That was my understanding of the
   A.  That is why I rang to Helpline.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  By all means, Mr Cavender, pursue it
       further if you would like to.
   MR CAVENDER:  The simple point that still arises, though, is
       you were -- you were in a position at the time of the
       audit to accurately declare the real stock in your
       branch, whatever that was.  You were capable of counting
       the number of scratch cards that were in fact in your
       branch, yes?  You were capable of doing that?
   A.  I was not able to find out how many scratch cards should
       I have and how many I have.  This was the enquiry I was
       doing with the Helpline.  This was my problem.  A very
       simple problem.  Money I have in the safe.  I was asking
       "Give me the figure".  I put in the system and my stock
       will be balanced then.  If we don't sign the -- the
       monthly accounting -- accounts we can't roll over in
       the next month, and if you don't roll over we can't
       operate the system.
   Q.  I think even you would accept the certification you put
       on your monthly balancing accounts was inaccurate, at
       the very least?  It didn't accurately reflect the cash
       and stock at your branch, did it?
   A.  Yes, that was not right.  That is why I am ringing the
       Helpline to resolve this problem.
   Q.  So why are you signing certification which you know to
       be wrong?
   A.  We can't roll over unless -- we can't run the branch
       unless we roll over the previous trading period.
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, I have no further questions.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Understood.  Mr Green, do you have any
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, no.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you very much, Mr Sabir.  That is
       the end of your evidence.  Thank you very much for
                      (The witness withdrew)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Would you like to start at 10 o'clock
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, no.  Mr Sabir finishing today was the
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That was the milestone.
   MR CAVENDER:  Indeed.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So if there is no need to do that then
       we won't.  We can always catch up a bit of time again at
       the end of tomorrow if we need to.  Thank you all very
       much.  There is no housekeeping or anything?  No.
           Thank you all very much.  10.30 am tomorrow.
   (4.30 pm)
         (The court adjourned until 10.30 am on Tuesday,
                        13 November 2018)

   MS PAMELA JOAN STUBBS (continued) ....................1
       Cross-examination by MR CAVENDER .................1

        Re-examination by MR GREEN ......................67

    MR MOHAMMAD SABIR (sworn) ...........................75

        Examination-in-chief by MR GREEN ................75

        Cross-examination by MR CAVENDER ................76

Day 11 transcript - Mon 26 November - Michael Haworth, Andrew Carpenter, Brian Trotter