Sunday 10 March 2019

Accounts 2: Money Money Money

As of today I have received a crowdfunded total of:

£8397 from kickstarter (in the window it was open last year) and 

£2976.98 via the paypal tip jar. 

£11,373.98 in total.

This is net of the fees that both Kickstarter and Paypal take. Gross, the total would be more than £12,500.
Bearing in mind I raised my crowdfunding aim from an initial £3000 to an insanely ambitious £12000 back in October, I am bowled over by everyone's generosity and I am happily fully-funded for the first two trials in this group litigation.
From the crowdfunded total of £11,373.98 I have already worked 21 days at a rate of £250 a day, totalling £5250.
These 21 days were spent covering the 15 day Common Issues trial, two case management conferences, a pre-trial review and three days before/during/after that trial dealing with admin, going through documents released by the court and writing up some extra posts for the blog.
The £250 day rate covers my travel, food, admin, insurance, tax and data expenses and the remainder goes towards feeding the family and paying the mortgage.
As of now I have:
£11,373.98 - £5250 = £6123.98 left in the kitty which means I can afford work another 24 days on this story.
The Horizon trial is scheduled to sit for 15 days. I have managed to do all the pre-trial work (save the days the court was actually sitting for case management conferences and pre-trial management) in my own time, so I have 9 days I can work when the trial is not sitting, or save for whatever comes after.
Basically - we are good. Thank you so very much for your generosity.
What does come after?
We know there will be at least one more trial which is currently scheduled to last four weeks in November.
At the first case management conference for that trial, the prospect of a fourth trial in March 2020 was discussed as a likelihood, rather than a possibility.
If I can and you want me to cover rounds 3 and 4 of this epic litigation plus the Horizon trial result and all the case management conferences inbetween, I will need to raise at least another £10K. 
It is therefore almost certain that at some stage in the latter half of 2019 I will go into full-on fundraising mode. If you have already given me some money, and you are thinking you might like to do so again - PLEASE WAIT until I send up the bat-signal and ask for your assistance. By that stage I will know how much cash I need to raise, and will have worked out the best way of doing it.
So why have you just added a paypal button to all your emails and blog posts eh, mister?
I am so glad you asked. There are a few reasons.
Firstly the PayPal tip jar on this website is not always visible. If someone is forwarded one of my emails and then clicks onto on their mobile phone, the tip jar cannot be seen. It can only be seen on the desktop version of the website.
It is entirely possible that some people have only ever followed this trial via emails which were forwarded to them or posted on a chat forum or whatever.
I'm more than happy for people to disseminate what I publish in any way they see fit, but some of the recipients of that information might themselves be minded to donate and join the secret email list themselves, or just chip in a fiver. If they want to do that, I should make it as easy as possible for them.
Secondly, someone emailed me the other day asking how they could donate, and I realised I could not actually send them a direct link by reply - I had to direct them to the website and hope they weren't reading my email on a mobile phone or they wouldn't see the PayPal button. If they were anything like me that is the point they would probably give up.
can send people my personal PayPal link (, but that only works for other PayPal users or people who can be bothered to set up a PayPal account.
So I thought - if I can get the PayPal button to work via email, then every time the email is forwarded, the button is put in front of a potential donor who can then donate with minimum fuss via card or PayPal. 
It means if you choose to forward my emails (and I would be thrilled if you would), you are not only getting the story of this litigation out there, you are putting the PayPal button potentially in front of hundreds of eyes.
If this has a significant effect - great - I don't need to do a big push later in the year. If not, there's no harm done.
Very good. What now?
We have the small matter of the Horizon trial starting and the Common Issues trial judgment being handed down in the same week. It's going to be busy.
Secret emailers will get a daily pre-trial briefing posted before 10.30am.
I will be live tweeting here throughout proceedings from 10.30am to 4.30pm. For those who remain wary of social media - you don't need to log in to read my twitter feed - just click on this link and you will be able to read what I write as I write it. Twitter is just another webpage. No logins required.
I will also collate my live tweets and post them up on immediately after daily proceedings finish.
I will also write up a daily report which I will post to and email to you afterwards before the end of each day. Unfortunately I can't guarantee the exact time, as it depends on my post-court commitments.
I also will post up the transcripts as I receive them.
And I will update the Horizon Trial Menu as each post goes up so you can easily navigate around.




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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. 

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""
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"
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."
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".
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."
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!
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?""
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."
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."
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.
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."
Live tweets from court.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 21 Mon 1 July - Claimants closing argument

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

Day 22 Tue 2 July - Post Office closing argument

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

Dec 16 2019 - Horizon Issues trial judgment (6th and final of the litigation)

Full judgment here.
Transcript of handing down on 16 Dec - including judge's surprise statement he was sending a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Fisking the Horizon judgment pt 1: The Meaning of Robust
Fisking the Horizon judgment pt 2: What Angela Did Next
Fisking the Horizon judgment pt 3: Focus on Fujitsu (not yet published)
Fisking the Horizon judgment pt 4: The Wrong Theoretical Particle Physicist (not yet published)
Fisking the Horizon judgment pt 5: Hunting Gareth (not yet published)
Horizon judgment cheat sheet (not yet published)

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.

If you can, please help keep this crowdfunded public-interest journalism project going by chucking a few quid in the tip jar below. Contributors who give £20 or more will start receiving regular "secret" emails which have all the info and gossip about this litigation as it makes its way through the courts. Click here to see how and where your money is being spent.
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