Thursday 14 March 2019

CWU on Angela Burke's evidence

I devoted a small section of yesterday's court write-up to Angela Burke's evidence. It has sparked a response from Mark Baker from the CWU. This is Angela's witness statement. You can read what she said in court here.

Spend some time with the above documents, or just dive in below and have a look at my write-up yesterday, followed by Mark Baker's response.

From Day 3 - Patny, Burke and Roll:

"Angela Burke had an entertaining tale of losing £150 during a computer crash. Thanks to her experience with Horizon, diligence at her own job, good fortune with CCTV and the happy co-operation of a customer, she was able to hunt down the source of her £150 discrepancy and provide the Post Office with the evidence she needed to successfully request a transaction correction from the Post Office.

Her natural suspicion of the Post Office and the failure of the Post Office helpline to reassure her that she wouldn't be out of pocket was part of the motivation for her Nancy Drew-style detective work . Unfortunately for the claimants, the Post Office barrister was able to provide compelling evidence that even if she had done nothing, or made one call to the helpline flagging up her loss, she would have received a £150 transaction correction anyway. She wouldn't have known about it until it appeared because the Post Office don't seem to communicate these things, but from the evidence produced by the Post Office - it was in hand."

Mark Baker replies:

"I would just like to put on record my comments regarding Angela Burkes evidence and witness statement. Angela and her husband were able to act quickly and decisively when the National outage occurred because of the knowledge and advice they had access to as members of the CWU Postmasters branch. As a result of the advice she knew what to look for when Horizon crashed and she took action accordingly.

As her evidence showed she could identify a missing transaction and quickly take action to identify the customer. Now the Post Office claim that as a result of the National incident they were on the look out for failed transactions and that they had been alerted to the particular missing transaction that Angela had found well in advance of their own findings.

However this is not the point. The point is why did this incident happen in the first place? Why did the much relied upon recovery system not retrieve the missing transaction? Why was the Network not alerted to the incident and the potential of transactions going missing as a result of this outage? Why was Angela not specifically contacted to inform her that an error had occurred and to expect a TC to correct it?

This was a National outage which would have drawn POL’s attention, would the same action be taken if a Branch suffered an individual power outage and lost a transaction as a result? We would argue that POL would have no idea and the Postmaster would have to stand the loss.

What was made clear today is that if the problem is Network wide an outage would cause POL to sweep the Network looking for failed transactions that were caused by the comms outage.
So why do they not do this when a Postmaster reports an individual Branch comms outage?"

Thanks for getting in touch, Mark.