Saturday, March 9, 2019

Horizon trial menu


The Horizon trial was the second trial in the Bates and others v Post Office group litigation at the High Court. It ran between 11 March 2019 and 2 July 2019 at the Rolls Building in London. 

These are the Horizon Issues the trial was run to decide. If you feel a little overwhelmed by all the links below, my recommendation would be to read my short, daily reports ("write-ups") which are listed under each day of the trial.

How the trial progressed

The trial was due to finish in April 2019, but on 21 March 2019, the Post Office submitted a recusal application, inviting Sir Peter Fraser to remove himself as presiding judge, due to his alleged "apparent bias" (see "Going Postal"). The Horizon trial was adjourned to deal with the application, but the judge decided that the recusal hearings would be counted as days of the trial (see the numbering system below).

This recusal hearing was therefore Day 10 (Wed 3 April) of the Horizon trial and judgment was handed down on Day 11 (Tue 9 April).

In the recusal application judgment, the judge refused to recuse himself, and ordered the final day of factual evidence be heard on Thu 11 April, which it was (see below). 

The Post Office applied to appeal the recusal judgment at the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal rejected that application (see "Fraser J is going nowhere").

The expert evidence at the restarted Horizon trial began on 4 June, and the final two days of the trial, which dealt with closing submissions, began on 1 July. Judgment is due later this year.

The following links will connect you with the transcripts, witness statements and the reports I filed during the course of the Horizon trial including all the relevant recusal documentation and hearings.

Documents, reports, transcripts and live tweets

Pre-trial review and judgment (14 Feb 2019), in which the Post Office tries and fails to limit the evidence of Ian Henderson from Second Sight.


Day 1 - Monday 11 March - QC openings

Write-up: "Post Office IT "not fit for purpose""
Transcript
Live tweets from court

Claimants' written opening
Post Office written opening

Bonus material:
My thoughts on Horizon's "Robustness"
Daily Mail article
FT article
Computer Weekly piece


Day 3 - Wed 13 March - Second day of claimant witnesses

Write-up: "Patny, Burke and Roll"
Transcript
Live tweets from court - morning
Live tweets from court - afternoon

Aakash Patny witness statement
Angela Burke witness statement
Richard Roll witness statements

Day 4 - Thu 14 March - Final day of claimant witnesses

Write-up: "They could, and they did, change branch transaction data."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court - morning.
Live tweets from court - afternoon.

Ian Henderson's witness statement.

Bonus material:
Why did the Post Office accuse Aakash Patny of false accounting in court?

Thu 15 March - the Common Issues trial judgment was handed down.

Day 5 - Monday 18 March - First day of Post Office witnesses

Write-up: "Into the Horizone".
Transcript.
Live tweets from court - morning.
Live tweets from court - afternoon.
Angela van den Bogerd's witness statement.

Bonus material:
Miscarriages of justice

Day 6 - Tuesday 19 March - Second day of Post Office witnesses

Write-up: "The £5000 question."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court - morning.
Continued live tweets after I break the thread to delete a couple of tweets about the "hell"-line.
Live tweets from the lunch break as I clear up the issue of the "hell"-line.
Live tweets from court - afternoon.

Dawn Phillips' witness statement
Tracy Mather's witness statement
Paul Smith's witness statement

Bonus material:
The Helen Rose Report (mythical document finally made public)
Things are moving fast (following the reaction to the Common Issues trial judgment)

Day 7 - Wednesday 20 March - First day of Fujitsu witnesses

There was no public write-up of today due to a technical failure, but secret emailers got one - read it here!
Transcript.
Live tweets from court - morning.
Live tweets from court - afternoon.

David Johnson's witness statement.
Andy Dunks' witness statement.
Torstein Godeseth's three witness statements.

Day 8 - Thu 21 March - the day the recusal application went in

Write-up 1: "Going Postal." - on the recusal application
Write-up 2: "The Smoking Gun - or "Whither, Gareth?""
Transcript
Live tweets from court - morning.
Live tweets from court - afternoon - (during which the recusal application drops)
Live tweets trying to make sense of the recusal application during a break in proceedings.

Application to recuse the presiding judge

Bonus material:
Je recuse - reaction to the recusal application

Day 9 was a short, procedural, pre-recusal hearing, added to the Horizon trial day-numbering retrospectively because on what became day 12, the judge decided the recusal process and hearings should form part of the Horizon trial.

Day 10 - Wed 3 April - Recusal Hearing

Write-up: "Enter Lord Grabiner."
Transcript.
Live tweets from the recusal hearing.

Day 11 - Tue 9 April - Recusal judgment

Write-up: "People will be talking about this case in decades to come."
Transcript.
The actual judgment (judgment no.4 in this litigation)
Live tweets from court.

Day 12 - Thu 11 April - Final day of Fujitsu witnesses

There was no write-up for this day.
Transcript.
Steve Parker's three witness statements.

Day 13 - Thu 23 May - Application to Appeal the Common Issues judgment

This was refused by the High Court and substantial costs were awarded to the claimants.
Write up.
Transcript. The transcript was redacted so the orders made (see below) could be written and approved.
Costs judgment (Judgment No 5 in this litigation).
Reasons to refuse application to appeal Common Issues judgment (given verbally on 23 May but not handed down in written (and expanded) format until 17 June.

The Horizon trial resumes with independent IT expert evidence

Re-start preview piece (published 3 June).
Jason Coyne's expert reports.
Dr Worden's expert reports.
Experts' joint agreed statements.

Day 14 - Mon 4 June - Cross examination of the Claimants' independent IT expert, Jason Coyne

Write up: "It's all relative."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.

Day 15 Tue 5 June - Jason Coyne's cross-examination continues

Write-up: "Slugging it out."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.

Day 16 Wed 6 June - Jason Coyne's cross-examination continues

Write-up: "The Coconut Method."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.

Day 17 Thu 7 June - Jason Coyne's cross-examination concludes

Write-up: "PEAKs and troughs."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.

Day 18 Mon 11 June - Cross-examination of the Post Office's independent IT expert Dr Robert Worden

Write-up: "Dr Robert."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.

Day 19 Wed 13 June - Dr Worden's cross-examination continues

Write-up: "No one is getting in a DeLorean."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.

Day 20 Thu 14 June - Dr Worden's cross-examination continues

Write-up: "Worden's burden."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.

Day 21 Mon 1 July - Claimants closing argument

Write-up: "Finding Wally."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.
Claimants' written closing.

Day 22 Tue 2 July - Post Office closing argument

Write-up: "The Lights Go Out."
Transcript.
Live tweets from court.
Post Office written closing.

The judgment in the Horizon trial is due Autumn 2019.

If you want to know what the wider Bates and others v Post Office litigation is about you can either read the Claim particulars (filed on behalf of the 550+ claimants) and the Generic defence and counterclaim - filed on behalf of the Post Office. If you're not a lawyer, you might be better off reading the "About" section of this blog which explains the story, and my involvement as a journalist.

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