Thursday, 25 March 2021

Day 4 transcript: Court of Appeal - 42 Subpostmaster Appellants

 This is the unperfected transcript from Court 4:


           1                                        Thursday, 25 March 2021


           2   (10.30 am)


           3   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Mr Stein.


           4                     Submissions by MR STEIN


           5   MR STEIN:  My Lord, yesterday, I was asked two questions


           6       concerning Ms Lock's position.  One was regarding monies


           7       received.  May I say that Ms Lock and Mr Orrett are


           8       still looking into that matter.


           9   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes.


          10   MR STEIN:  The second question concerned calls to the


          11       helpline and as you will recall, it was some time ago,


          12       I am afraid, for Ms Lock, and she cannot recall details


          13       of calls.


          14   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  No.  All right, thank you very much.


          15   MR STEIN:  One last matter, that I have been asked to make


          16       clear and I do, I referred yesterday, forgive me for


          17       turning sideways, I referred yesterday to the generic


          18       disclosure extracts to an extract which appears at 780


          19       and concerned A O48.  I have been asked to make clear


          20       and I'm happy to do so, that that is an appeal from the


          21       Magistrates' Court to the Crown Court that has not yet


          22       been decided in terms of the decision made by the


          23       Post Office.


          24   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Right, thank you.


          25           I don't think -- nothing was said yesterday which


                                             1





           1       could identify that page to case to anyone who doesn't


           2       know all the ciphers already.


           3   MR STEIN:  Yes, my Lord.


           4   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Right.


           5   MR STEIN:  My Lord, we turn then, this morning, to


           6       Stanley Fell, aged 69 now.  My Lord has a speaking note


           7       that we have provided to the court and to the


           8       Post Office and my learned friends, of course.


           9           That largely sets out our submissions.  Can I flesh


          10       it out, as far as that would assist the court overall?


          11   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes.


          12   MR STEIN:  My Lord has heard on a number of occasions that


          13       I have referred in our opening submissions, general


          14       submissions and individual submissions yesterday, to the


          15       generic evidence review.  Whilst not going back into


          16       that again, I pray in aid the remarks made by those


          17       individuals over so long a period of time, because they


          18       demonstrate the position that Mr Fell was in, as were so


          19       many others.  "I don't know what is going on, I can't


          20       explain the losses, I don't understand what is happening


          21       with the Horizon system, it is a mystery", people


          22       panicking, people clearly making decisions they wouldn't


          23       have done in other circumstances, contrary to positive


          24       good character.


          25           That is one of the fundamental reasons why I have


                                             2





           1       repeatedly referred to that review, as it provides


           2       supporting evidence to the points decided by


           3       Mr Justice Fraser, that these individuals, the


           4       sub-postmasters, were in a position whereby, without the


           5       information being provided during the course of their


           6       duties that there were problems with Horizon, with the


           7       unequal business relationship with Horizon, they were


           8       left in circumstances whereby they didn't know what to


           9       do.  Decision making was poor, they fell into error.


          10           So we have many cases within this litigation whereby


          11       people were false accounting, essentially, because of


          12       the problems that they were in.  So that is a background


          13       matter that I do ask you to consider.


          14           One fact we haven't looked at in any detail, decided


          15       by Mr Justice Fraser, again emphasis on the problem that


          16       was confronted by SPMs.  If you wish to go to it, it is


          17       within the judgments of Mr Justice Fraser, number 3.  It


          18       happens to be at page 404 of the bundle.  The paragraph


          19       number within the judgment is 1117.  It just provides


          20       evidence on the difficulties that the postmasters were


          21       in, versus the Post Office.  Suspended postmasters were


          22       not paid for their period of suspension, but in order to


          23       keep their branches open, had to pay temporary SPMs to


          24       run them.  Even if reinstated, they had no right to be


          25       paid for remuneration for their period of suspension.


                                             3





           1           I mention that only, yet again, to provide emphasis


           2       on the unequal business, bargaining, contract, that


           3       these individuals were in.


           4           So with that background overall submission, as


           5       my Lord, you know, Mr Fell was a third generation Fell


           6       working for the Post Office and he took, undertook, the


           7       contract at the Newton Bergoland Post Office, a small


           8       village, from 1976, until his suspension in 2006.


           9           There had been no problems, no difficulties until


          10       after Horizon was installed.  My Lord, as so many others


          11       who present their appeals before this court, Mr Fell was


          12       a highly regarded member of the local community.  The


          13       character references that were supplied on his behalf


          14       before the court, on his conviction by his own plea,


          15       spoke incredibly highly of him as both a mainstay of the


          16       community, a real support for those who were infirm or


          17       of age.


          18           We submit that Mr Fell falls into the category of


          19       individuals, where, though there were unexplained


          20       losses, I will explain that in a little bit more detail


          21       in a moment, whereby his prosecution was at a time, as


          22       all other appellants, whereby there was no system of


          23       disclosure, or no system of disclosure that could


          24       properly be described as such, established in order to


          25       prosecute any individual.  Without repeating all of the


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           1       arguments therefore, we suggest that he falls within the


           2       overall categories of abuse in terms of abuse 2, limb 2.


           3       It is an affront to justice he is prosecuted in these


           4       terms and as regards limb 1, which as, my Lord, you are


           5       aware, this is not a conceded case by the Post Office,


           6       and we say that the denial of a proper system of


           7       disclosure had an effect in his particular case.


           8           My Lord, we have set out a legal framework within


           9       the speaking note.  I have referred at earlier times


          10       within these appeals to the fact that, even in


          11       circumstances where there is a plea of guilty, the


          12       overall position in law is that, if there is material


          13       that could lead or might lead within the terms of the


          14       CPIA to an application to stay proceedings, that


          15       material must be disclosed and an individual in any such


          16       circumstances might well find themselves in a situation


          17       whereby they can apply for a stay of proceedings.


          18   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Can I just ask you, is your primary


          19       purpose in addressing Mr Felstead abuse ground limb 1 or


          20       is it limb 1 and 2 -- I anticipate it is limb 2 as well


          21       but is your primary focus limb 1?


          22   MR STEIN:  My Lord, if I were to say one is more preferable


          23       than the other, then it might undermine an argument.


          24       What we say is he is entitled to both.  The overall


          25       abuse is the affront to justice level of abuse, that he


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           1       was in that position, and I don't need to argue any


           2       further, we have dealt with those arguments over the


           3       last days, so for these purposes, perhaps the best


           4       answer I can provide is that I am mainly addressing for


           5       these purposes, limb 1.


           6   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  That is fine.


           7   MR STEIN:  I don't want to undermine that by suggesting that


           8       one is preferable to the other.


           9   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Logically, I suppose, the starting


          10       point is raised by the respondents in argument, "Is this


          11       really a Horizon case at all"; that is the logical


          12       starting point.


          13   MR STEIN:  Exactly.  The respondents argue that here is


          14       a gentleman that on the visit by Ms Bailey on an audit,


          15       after an important point, after essentially, Mr Fell had


          16       called attention to his own Post Office by making


          17       repeated remarks and complaints about the numbers not


          18       matching up, the Post Office decided, via Ms Bailey, to


          19       visit and then he made the point that I am sure will be


          20       made by Mr Altman, then he made admissions from that


          21       point onwards and those admissions, to complete the


          22       point no doubt being made by Mr Altman later on, were


          23       then carried through into the basis of plea and through


          24       a voluntary interview process.


          25           So I don't want to steal Mr Altman's thunder but


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           1       that is, essentially, no doubt going to be the


           2       respondent's points.


           3           So we have dealt with the fact that it was at a time


           4       whereby there was no or no adequate system of


           5       disclosure.  We have asked the court to take note of the


           6       fact that, despite what is going to be said, that this


           7       is not a Horizon case, this was a case whereby in the


           8       statement of Penelope Thomas, dated 2 March 2007, that


           9       that contained the standard declaration that everything


          10       is okay with the system -- my paraphrase, not the exact


          11       wording.


          12           There is no evidence, and there was no evidence that


          13       Mr Fell was living the high life.  There was no


          14       lifestyle evidence.  There was no evidence before the


          15       court or at this stage, or at any stage, that there was


          16       unexplained sums of money, either in actual cash terms,


          17       if you like, or going into bank accounts.  So no other,


          18       outside of the case, if you like, supporting evidence of


          19       particular types of cars or similar.


          20           In terms of disclosure, this was at a time whereby,


          21       whilst there had been, perhaps, some questions raised


          22       regarding Horizon, it is at an early time.  We are not


          23       into 2010s, we are not into the period of time beyond


          24       that, whereby the general discussion about the


          25       reliability of Horizon was there.  This is a slightly


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           1       earlier time for Mr Fell.  It provides a point in


           2       support because it means that he wouldn't necessarily


           3       have known that here is an answer to his particular


           4       issues.


           5           Now, we know from the CCRC review of this particular


           6       case, set out at paragraph 15 of our speaking note at


           7       page four, that the CCRC took into account at a later


           8       stage -- again, no doubt, a point going to be made by my


           9       learned friend -- that Mr Fell explained that he had


          10       been using shop money to balance unexplained Horizon


          11       losses.  So this is a Post Office, it is the typical


          12       rural Post Office, that frankly, I grew up with as well,


          13       that has the grocery shop and Post Office next door to


          14       it, all in one business, so what was being said there


          15       and accepted by the CCRC in terms of the referral, is


          16       that there were two parts of it and that Mr Fell had


          17       explained then.


          18           That, of course, will be shown by my learned friend


          19       or said by my learned friend that that is later on --


          20       that will be a point that will be raised.  I will attack


          21       that in a moment but can I then look at the facts in


          22       support.


          23           The Horizon system was installed in 2001.  Mr Fell


          24       did not find this a natural transition.  He found the


          25       course difficult and required support thereafter.  He


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           1       had assistance, therefore, in running the system and it


           2       wasn't easy.  Can I take you then now, please, to bundle


           3       E, page 98.  We are going to look at a point that


           4       concerns discrepancies.  To understand this point, we


           5       need to bear in mind that one part of Mr Fell's case


           6       concerns the fact that to support the grocery business,


           7       it had entered into a contract with a supplier called


           8       First Choice, that required a certain amount of stock


           9       being turned over per month, if I've got that right.


          10       That was explained by him as being, therefore, the


          11       reason why there was, as he put it at that time, the


          12       money being taken from the Post Office.


          13           So it is important to remember that point and the


          14       description of the timing of that was set out by him in


          15       the basis of plea as being towards the end of 2004,


          16       beginning of 2005.  So if we hold those dates in mind,


          17       end of 2004 and beginning of 2005, that is the First


          18       Choice contract and now, if we can, please, turn to


          19       page 98, bundle E.


          20           As we will see when we look at paragraph 2.1, the


          21       description there is the shortfall that was identified


          22       during the audit.  The second point at 2.2:


          23           "Both parties recognise that the appellant [as


          24       I call him, obviously, for these purposes -- the


          25       applicant at that stage] had reported and made good


                                             9





           1       discrepancies on four occasions between late 2005


           2       and December 2006, aggregating to £1,110 and some


           3       change."


           4           I think 87p.


           5           It is an important point.  The reason why it is


           6       important is that the respondents are going to say that


           7       the only description made by Mr Fell of both sides of


           8       the business having difficulties, in other words, having


           9       to use money from one side to pay for Horizon and the


          10       other side to pay for the grocery business, the only


          11       time that that comes up in the respondent's submissions


          12       is going to be post, in other words after conviction,


          13       when matters then go to be considered at a later stage.


          14           What we have here though, is important.  This is


          15       after the First Choice contract comes into play, this is


          16       what, on the face of it, appears to be Mr Fell making


          17       good discrepancies on four occasions, between dates that


          18       are after the contract comes into play.  As far as we


          19       know, this is not material that was available to the


          20       legal team instructed on behalf of Mr Fell.  Now, that


          21       could come from two different sources.  It could have


          22       come from, as an example, Mr Fell saying to his legal


          23       team "Just so you know, what has been happening is that


          24       I have been balancing out what appear to be these


          25       discrepancies on four occasions from my own pocket,


 10




           1       essentially the other side of the business."  That is


           2       one source.  The other source, by way of disclosure,


           3       would have been from the Post Office, in setting out


           4       back accounting whereby that had been made out.


           5           It is difficult to know at what stage this was


           6       known.  The point we make is that Mr Fell, like so many


           7       others, working in this unequal contract term situation


           8       with the Post Office, is not necessarily going to know


           9       what is in his own interest to tell his own lawyers at


          10       any particular time.  Confused, frightened, not knowing


          11       what is relevant.  This evidence provides an insight


          12       into what may well have been going on, we suggest,


          13       within the Post Office, in other words, that this was at


          14       a time whereby it is the first iteration of Horizon, the


          15       worst iteration of Horizon, as found by


          16       Mr Justice Fraser, slightly worse than Horizon 2; it was


          17       at a time whereby there were bugs, it is at a time


          18       whereby the respondents accept that bugs could cause


          19       significant unexplained losses to individuals.


          20   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  I just want to -- sorry to interrupt


          21       you, Mr Stein, I just want to make sure I've got the


          22       dates right.  At paragraph 2.2, on page 98, it seems to


          23       have been common ground that the making good of the


          24       discrepancies disappeared between late 05


          25       and December 06, but the indictment period is 1 June to


                                            11





           1       24 October 2006.


           2   MR STEIN:  I am aware of that.  I have looked at that myself


           3       and considered whether that quite can be right, because


           4       it is a December point, after the suspension would have


           5       come into play.


           6   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  It has to go to the oral disclosure


           7       evidence, and if those dates are right, then I suppose


           8       the immediate question would be, should the 195-8304 on


           9       the indictment be plus or minus the 1110.87 in


          10       paragraph 2.2.


          11   MR STEIN:  It does go to that and it goes to the next point


          12       I wish to make.  One of the difficulties we have got


          13       with Mr Fell's case that I have had to concede at


          14       an earlier hearing is we don't have the Horizon material


          15       available.  This is not a case, whereby as I understand,


          16       later on today, you will be hearing from an expert in


          17       relation to an analysis of Horizon.  That could not be


          18       done in Mr Fell's case.  So we have now no way of


          19       backtracking into it to consider, actually, what was


          20       happening.  Which has led in my mind to a rather


          21       interesting circular problem which is that, now before


          22       this court, we are left in a position whereby this court


          23       is prevented, through the many years of denials of


          24       problems in the Horizon system and the ignoring of that


          25       by the Post Office, we are now left at an appeal level


                                            12





           1       with an inability to reconstruct what was happening at


           2       the time.  The very fact of the delays in recognising


           3       that Horizon had faults and the denial of it, actually


           4       now causes us a problem in looking at what, in different


           5       circumstances, might have been an appeal maybe a year or


           6       two later, if that had been available to Mr Fell, where


           7       material might have existed that we could have got to


           8       the bottom of this.


           9           So a knock-on effect, in other words, of not saying


          10       there is a problem with Horizon, in denying that for so


          11       many years, has meant that this court and ourselves on


          12       his behalf, cannot look into these issues.


          13           One further point arising out of this particular


          14       document that may assist this court, it perhaps is of


          15       the same type as I have explained before, that Mr Fell


          16       found the training difficult, that this was not easy for


          17       him, when starting off with Horizon.  Page 102, bundle


          18       E, please.


          19           Paragraph 5.7 -- sorry, it is page 102.


          20           Paragraph 5.7:


          21           "The applicant complains that when he called the


          22       helpline, which he said he did frequently, he was often


          23       kept hanging for long time periods and he describes the


          24       advice eventually given as impossible to understand."


          25           Again, you will see why I have been referring to the


                                            13





           1       generic review.  This is not an uncommon problem.  He


           2       states that the advice given "sometimes contradicted


           3       advice given by other helpline operatives and [he] was


           4       frequently reminded that if he was unable to balance,


           5       his contract was at risk."


           6           Again, a comment made by others and also referred to


           7       in the High Court proceedings.  What evidence is there


           8       that supports the frequency of contact?  5.8 please,


           9       page 103.


          10           We see there -- forgive me one moment, I am just


          11       checking a date.


          12           We see there that in relation to Mr Fell, that the


          13       appellant, applicant described here, made 721 calls to


          14       the NBSC helpline from October 2000 to October 2016,


          15       averaging 2.3 per week.  It states that the NBSC call


          16       logs indicate that helpline staff showed a willingness


          17       to assist the applicant and it is reasonable to assume


          18       that the advice given was satisfactory, as the applicant


          19       did not make complaints about the helpline.


          20           It then refers to the fact that there was no


          21       evidence of helpline staff, just an absence of evidence


          22       point, telling the applicant that his contract may be


          23       terminated if he failed to find a solution to his


          24       problems.


          25           But 5.9 assists us a little further:


                                            14





           1           "Due to the limited nature of the helpline logs, it


           2       is difficult to assess whether or not the advice given


           3       satisfactorily addressed the applicant's problems.  We


           4       cannot find evidence of helpline staff advising the


           5       applicant that his contract would be terminated if he


           6       was unable to resolve errors."


           7           Although it is reasonable to assume that comments


           8       such as those may not be shown in the notes typed out by


           9       the operatives.


          10   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  In other walks of life, Mr Stein, it


          11       often seems impossible to make a banal telephone call


          12       without being told it is being recorded for training


          13       purposes.  Do we know whether any of these helpline


          14       calls were recorded for training purposes or otherwise?


          15   MR STEIN:  I will look into that or I could turn to Ms Carey


          16       (Inaudible).


          17           Yes, it is going to be checked, my Lord.


          18   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Very kind, thank you.


          19   MR STEIN:  What we do know is that tends to support the fact


          20       that Mr Fell was one of the individuals who found the


          21       working of the system difficult, that he made repeated


          22       calls during that time, over 100 a year, to the


          23       helpline.


          24           Lastly, regarding the evidence that we have brought


          25       before the court, we have added a particular note that


                                            15





           1       I now cannot find, which is set out behind the speaking


           2       note bundle that we provided.  It is an email from


           3       Mr Warmington, who conducted the post conviction stage


           4       review in relation to Mr Fell.


           5   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes.  We saw the reference to that


           6       in the speaking note.  Do you actually have a copy of it


           7       anywhere?


           8   MR STEIN:  My Lord, you should.  It is at the last page, we


           9       hope, of the bundle that we provided with the speaking


          10       note.


          11           So ...


          12   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you.


          13   MR STEIN:  The point that was made there is that it was down


          14       as Mr Fell himself complaining to POL about the shortage


          15       of cash.  This is made by Mr Warmington in that review:


          16           "He presumably didn't have enough cash to keep his


          17       branch open and running is a pretty solid indicator that


          18       he didn't know if he was running at a deficit."


          19           What we suggest, therefore, are that there are


          20       a number of indicators here that tend to show Mr Fell


          21       had problems with running Horizon.  There are questions


          22       regarding what was going on with Horizon, whether it was


          23       causing losses that he had to make up.  We cannot now


          24       answer because the material doesn't exist.


          25           He, like so many others, found himself in a very


                                            16





           1       difficult position.  We cannot expect people suddenly


           2       thrust into a problem with the Post Office to


           3       necessarily act logically and provide even his own legal


           4       team, sometimes, with information that may help them,


           5       particularly in the absence of disclosure.


           6           So I revert back to my opening submissions.  There


           7       is some evidence here on which we suggest, if the


           8       Post Office had been open and plain and accepted


           9       problems with Horizon, that would have led Mr Fell and,


          10       in particular, his legal team, to ask the questions:


          11       what was going on within this Post Office?  Were there


          12       problems?  Were there bugs?  What were the difficulties


          13       encountered by Mr Fell?  And they could have asked those


          14       questions both of the Post Office and also of Mr Fell.


          15           When, on this side of the court, we are discussing


          16       matters with our clients, it would help, essentially, if


          17       we had some idea of the nature of the problems and we


          18       all know that sometimes our clients are not able to help


          19       us unless you put them on the right path through


          20       material that you get from the prosecution and here,


          21       there was a non-starter in relation to that.


          22           So in no way do we criticise, blame or say there is


          23       any fault from his legal team.  They saw an individual


          24       who appeared to be accepting from the word go, fault,


          25       they gave him proper advice and he accepted that advice


                                            17





           1       and that led to the plea of guilty.


           2   THE CLERK OF THE COURT:  My Lord, may I make a final


           3       announcement to ask that lady to turn her camera off.


           4   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes, a lady has appeared visible on


           5       screen.  Somebody has not got a camera turned off.  I am


           6       afraid we don't know who it is but whoever it is has,


           7       I think, a bright green item or possibly garment in


           8       front of her.


           9           I think she may just have identified herself.  Would


          10       you be kind enough to turn off the camera, madam.  Thank


          11       you very much.


          12   THE CLERK OF THE COURT:  Thank you, my Lord.


          13   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you Mr Mariani.


          14   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Mr Stein, can I just ask a question.


          15       Could you go to the Second Sight report which you have


          16       taken us to, page 100.


          17   MR STEIN:  Yes, my Lord.


          18   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  And at 4.9, and then go to the top of


          19       page 101, the same paragraph:


          20           "The Post Office notes that the applicant pleaded


          21       guilty to false accounting in court and a letter from


          22       his legal representatives states that he had always


          23       accepted that he was guilty of false accounting by way


          24       of creating false records to disguise the monetary loss


          25       caused as a result of his taking funds to keep his post


                                            18





           1       office afloat."


           2           Have we actually got that letter, do you know?


           3   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  We have.


           4   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  It is the letter at page 79, is it?


           5       Which I think must be (Inaudible).


           6   MR STEIN:  Yes, my Lord.


           7   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Before the plea.


           8   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Thank you very much.


           9           But your submission, presumably, is that that puts


          10       Mr Fell in a similar category to others, where the false


          11       accounting is being done to make up for errors that he


          12       otherwise cannot understand because of Horizon?


          13   MR STEIN:  Yes.  It does, my Lord, yes.


          14   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Thank you.


          15   MR STEIN:  My Lord, those are our submissions.  I have been


          16       slightly shorter than I expected.  I hope that assists


          17       the court in other ways.


          18   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes, thank you, Mr Stein.


          19           Mr Altman.


          20                     Submissions by MR ALTMAN


          21   MR ALTMAN:  The first point I am going to make is I thought


          22       I heard Mr Stein say he didn't have access to the call


          23       logs.  He does.  They were disclosed in tranche 1,


          24       20 August last year, and so it has been open to Mr Stein


          25       to check through the logs to see the nature of the calls


                                            19





           1       Mr Fell made to that helpline.


           2           The second point and the central one which my Lord,


           3       Lord Justice Holroyde, identified at the beginning and


           4       one which has been clear throughout, is the question,


           5       what makes this a case which depended on the reliability


           6       of Horizon data?  And what I respectfully submit is the


           7       court has heard lots of argument from Mr Stein about all


           8       of the problems suffered by other sub-postmasters and


           9       including some that Mr Fell said after the event in


          10       2014, during the course of the mediation process.


          11       Unsupported, I have to add, by Mr Fell's own evidence


          12       before the courts by way of (Inaudible) but be that as


          13       it may, what we have not heard from Mr Stein is why this


          14       is such a case, why it falls within the same category as


          15       all the other cases the court has been dealing with over


          16       the past couple of days.


          17           Can I begin where, in a sense, Mr Stein himself did


          18       with the plea.


          19           The court knows and I am in the court's hands


          20       whether the court wants to go back to the authorities


          21       but the court is pretty well aware of the authorities on


          22       the issue of the plea and the nature of the plea that


          23       the court is dealing with in this case.  The section 4


          24       of the statement of reasons, and for the court's


          25       reference, it is bundle A, tab 1 at page 53, sets out


                                            20





           1       the relevant authorities.  You will remember the case of


           2       Bhatti and you will remember the case of Kelly v


           3       Connolly, dealing with that, which is in fact in your


           4       bundle.  If the court wishes me to take them to it, I am


           5       very happy to.  It's tab 15 of bundle B.


           6           So it is the case of Kelly v Connolly in 2003 at


           7       page 227.  And the relevant part is to be found at


           8       page 259 and my Lord, perhaps it is as well to have


           9       these principles in mind, as the court will, because


          10       they cut through all of the cases that the court has to


          11       deal with today.


          12           On page 259 at (b), you will find the case of Bhatti


          13       referred to, an unreported case of 2000, which contains


          14       an extensive summary and analysis of the relevant


          15       authorities and the facts are there set out.  Then the


          16       court said, Lord Justice Potter said at paragraphs 30 to


          17       33:


          18           "However, when the appeal is in respect of


          19       a conviction following a plea of guilty, the


          20       considerations which apply are very different and the


          21       circumstances in which it may be appropriate or proper


          22       to allow the appeal are of necessity very limited.  That


          23       is because the safety of the conviction depends not on


          24       some legal error or perceived role or irregularity which


          25       has arisen in the course of the adversarial process of


                                            21





           1       the trial, thereby leading to a verdict of guilty, which


           2       might otherwise have been not guilty, it rests upon the


           3       question of whether and in what circumstances the court


           4       should look behind the plea of guilty (which represents


           5       a voluntary recognition of guilt) and later on, an


           6       examination of the reasons or motives of the defendant


           7       in deciding so to plead.  That, in turn, requires the


           8       court to reach a decision based not upon objective


           9       matters of record, namely the procedures adopted and


          10       decisions reached openly in the course of the trial, but


          11       on the subjective recollections and subsequent account


          12       of the appellant and/or his advisers as to the reasons


          13       for his plea."


          14           The citation continues into the next page, which


          15       I invite the court to read.  At page 263 --


          16   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Specifically at paragraph 31, fourth


          17       line down, "Similarly, whereby a reason of some act of


          18       deception or non-disclosure on the part of prosecution".


          19   MR ALTMAN:  Yes, I don't doubt that but that question in


          20       this case, as well as the others, is going to depend on


          21       whether disclosure in relation to issues with Horizon


          22       was necessary under the test, under the 1996 Act.  That


          23       depended on the question of whether it is a Horizon


          24       reliability case.  That is why, as it were, all roads go


          25       back to that one question.  Paragraph 127 on page 263:


                                            22





           1           "Ultimately, however, the test is of the safety of


           2       the conviction.  For the reasons expressed in Bhatti,


           3       the scope of the finding that an unequivocal and


           4       intentional plea of guilty can lead to an unsafe


           5       conviction, must be exceptional and rare.  However,


           6       undue pressure or errors of law or unfairness in the


           7       trial process may all be of such important causative


           8       impact on the decision to plead guilty, that the


           9       conviction which follows such a plea can, in


          10       an appropriate case, be described as unsafe.  In our


          11       judgment, such as this case.  A question of fact in each


          12       case."


          13           So those are the important decisions, but there are


          14       two others to which reference has been made.  The cases


          15       of Early and Togher.  And perhaps it's worth, while we


          16       have bundle B before us, to go to tab 14 in the case of


          17       Early, Vice President, Lord Justice Rose and it goes to


          18       paragraph 10, under the heading "Court's approach".  And


          19       if I invite the court just over halfway down, where you


          20       will find the words at the beginning of the line "Are


          21       involved", and the passage continues:


          22           "We approach the question of safety of these


          23       convictions following pleas of guilty in accordance with


          24       ...(Reading to the words)... as approved in Togher,


          25       namely a conviction is generally unsafe if a defendant


                                            23





           1       has been denied a fair trial.  We bear in mind in


           2       particular, three observations by Lord Woolf in Togher.


           3       First at paragraph 30, if it would be right to stop


           4       a prosecution on the basis that it was an abuse of


           5       process, this court would be most unlikely to conclude


           6       that if there was a conviction, despite this fact, the


           7       conviction shouldn't have been set aside."


           8           Secondly, at paragraph 33:


           9           "In circumstances where it had been said that the


          10       proceedings constituted an abuse of process are


          11       ...(Reading to the words)... to the situation where it


          12       would be inconsistent with the due administration of


          13       justice to allow the pleas of guilty to stand."


          14           And thirdly, at paragraph 59:


          15           "Freely entered pleas of guilty will not be


          16       interfered with by this court unless the prosecution's


          17       misconduct is of a category which justifies it.  A plea


          18       of guilty is binding unless the defendant was ignorant


          19       of evidence going to ...(Reading to the words)... of


          20       material which goes merely to credibility of prosecution


          21       witness, does not justify reopening a plea of guilty."


          22           Those are the principles on which the court is being


          23       invited to act.


          24           It is those principles, indeed, which the CCRC sets


          25       out in its statement of reasons.  Now, in this case, if


                                            24





           1       the respondent is correct that this was not a Horizon


           2       case, and I will come to why it isn't in a short while,


           3       then as I have already said in passing, there was no


           4       obligation to disclose material going to Horizon


           5       reliability under the well known principles within the


           6       act.


           7           If that is right, non-disclosure cannot give rise to


           8       an abuse of process, whether limb 1 or limb 2.


           9       A secondary point has been advanced during the course of


          10       argument over the past couple of days and it may be one


          11       to which Mr Millington refers to later.  At paragraph 6


          12       of the respondent's notice, as the court has before it,


          13       bundle A, tab 4; bundle A, tab 4, page 1148.


          14       Paragraph 6 has been alluded to more than once.  What we


          15       said there was the respondent also accepts the


          16       applicable law set out by the CCRC at paragraphs 94 to


          17       108 of the statement of reasons.  The respondent doesn't


          18       seem to draw any distinction between appellants who were


          19       convicted following the trial and those who pleaded


          20       guilty at any stage in the proceedings.


          21           It has been suggested that the respondent's stance


          22       in relation to these three opposed cases is inconsistent


          23       with that statement.  With respect, it is not because it


          24       ignores the all important preceding statement in


          25       paragraph 6, which adopts the applicable law on abuse of


                                            25





           1       process.  So the concession there is that the court is


           2       not being asked to make any distinction in any cases


           3       which were reliant on Horizon data, insofar as whether


           4       conviction was after a trial or following a plea.


           5           The point is that if it is accepted that in cases


           6       where Horizon reliability was relevant, there should be


           7       disclosure from the outset to enable an abuse argument


           8       to be advised.  Failure to do so deprives the appellants


           9       of the opportunity to advance an abuse submission, and


          10       that means that the plea is tainted, and this is why in


          11       any case where Horizon reliability was essential, the


          12       Post Office has conceded these appeals, albeit on limb 1


          13       in all but these three opposed cases and on limb 2, as


          14       the court well knows, in four.


          15           However, in this case, and indeed as with the other


          16       two opposed cases, our submission is that Horizon


          17       reliability was not essential as such, since the test


          18       for disclosure was not satisfied and there was no abuse


          19       argument advanced on the basis of material


          20       non-disclosure.  There is, we say with respect, nothing


          21       to initiate the plea.  As such, the guilty plea in this


          22       particular case, and indeed the other two, which we will


          23       come to, are not undermined and remain important.  In


          24       fact, direct evidence of guilt, in support of the safety


          25       of the convictions.


                                            26





           1           In his speaking note which the court received


           2       yesterday, Mr Stein's speaking note, reference is made


           3       to Mr Fell's position, which is said to justify the


           4       stance on Mr Fell's admissions.  He then sets out in


           5       that document what the CCRC relied upon.  It included


           6       information that Mr Fell took Post Office money to repay


           7       unexplained losses, among other points.  Can I invite


           8       the court's attention to the statement of reasons, in


           9       the first bundle, bundle A, at page 66.


          10           One will find at page 66, this part of the principal


          11       reference, subparagraph 7, which relates to a ciphered


          12       case but the court can write in that that is the case of


          13       (Inaudible).


          14   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes.


          15   MR ALTMAN:  And what is said there is that:


          16           "In this case, the shortfall was discovered when


          17       a Post Office manager visited the branch because the


          18       cash on hand figures appeared to be too high.  In


          19       a prepared statement which he provided to investigators,


          20       the applicant explains that he had used Post Office


          21       money to keep his shop afloat.  He later pleaded guilty


          22       to false accounting but denied theft.  Although this


          23       applicant admitted taking Post Office money to pay


          24       bills, in relation to the shop, the CCRC considered that


          25       it is significant that he also explained that he had


                                            27





           1       been using the shop income to pay unexplained Horizon


           2       losses which were occurring.  He then had taken money


           3       back when he couldn't cover the shop bills."


           4           Now, we can only speculate as to where that came


           5       from.  It clearly came from Mr Fell, and if it did, it


           6       was (Inaudible) applications at the CCRC.  But when we


           7       come to look in a moment at what Mr Fell actually said,


           8       and did, at the relevant time, one will see that that


           9       was never claimed in the period up to and including his


          10       basis of plea and, indeed, at the plea itself.


          11           So we invite the court to be cautious.  The court


          12       has not heard, for whatever reason, evidence from


          13       Mr Fell to support that claim and, therefore, it is


          14       nothing more than an assertion which is unsupported by


          15       Mr Fell's evidence.


          16           We note that Mr Stein agrees, and it was agreed at


          17       the time of the mediation process, that Mr Fell had made


          18       good four shortfalls on the occasions mentioned in the


          19       paragraph that Mr Stein took the court to and Mr Stein


          20       relies upon an email from Mr Warmington, Mr Warmington


          21       being one of the partners of Second Sight, in an email


          22       dated 2013, where Mr Warmington himself, also not


          23       a witness before the court, gives -- one cannot even


          24       really call this an expert opinion but an opinion about


          25       Mr Fell's responsibility for taking the money.  The


                                            28





           1       relevance and the permissibility of it are unclear and


           2       certainly, also in light of the document to which


           3       Mr Stein took the court, the case review report at the


           4       back of the bundle, in the mediation process, a year


           5       later, 2014, when -- Second Sight views about the fact


           6       that there were no cash deposits to be found which was


           7       said by Second Sight not to be very unusual.  Because of


           8       course, Mr Fell's case was he was robbing Peter to pay


           9       Paul, in other words, he was taking Post Office cash


          10       from the shop till rather than it going through the bank


          11       account.  So according to Second Sight, it was not


          12       completely unusual not to see cash deposits, so


          13       Second Sight didn't conclude there was anything in that


          14       particular point that was being made during the course


          15       of the mediation.


          16           So what are the facts that were before the court?


          17       Mr Fell entered his plea on the basis of a plea document


          18       and the court has that behind tab 26 at bundle E.


          19           "I, Stanley Fell, am currently charged with a single


          20       offence of false accounting."


          21           In brackets we see there the indicted date,


          22       1 June 06 to 25 October 06:


          23           "I will plead guilty to this offence on the


          24       following basis.  Towards the end of 2004/the beginning


          25       of 2005 ..."


                                            29





           1           This is before the shortfalls which were made good


           2       even arose:


           3           " ... I entered into a contract with a wholesaler by


           4       the name of First Choice Limited.  First Choice Limited


           5       were to supply the stock to my stock which is contained


           6       within the Post Office premises.  In entering into such


           7       an agreement, I hoped to turn around the poor sales that


           8       the shop had experienced in the recent past.  Initially,


           9       the new contract led to a modest improvement but this


          10       trend quickly reversed, due to one particular term in


          11       the contract which stipulated that I must spend


          12       a minimum of £2,000 on stock every week.  It soon became


          13       obvious that I simply didn't have the time (Inaudible)


          14       to meet the stipulated term and I began to borrow [is


          15       the word used] Post Office funds in order to meet the


          16       shortfall and keep the shop afloat."


          17           Pausing there, this is not an unexplained shortfall,


          18       it is an explained shortfall:


          19           "This took place over roughly the same period as set


          20       out in the charge and I admit that I acted dishonestly


          21       in falsifying the monthly (Inaudible) statement."


          22           Then over the page:


          23           "I wish to confirm to the court that at no time did


          24       I intend to permanently deprive the Post Office of the


          25       monies in question.  It was always my intention to pay


                                            30





           1       back that which I had borrowed, as I now have.  I didn't


           2       intend to steal the money."


           3           And it is signed, as we can see, by him, and


           4       counsel, his solicitors, dated 27 July 07.


           5           We make the following submissions, of which there


           6       are nine in essence.


           7           First, and my Lord, I will, in the same spirit as


           8       everyone has done, I will tidy up my speaking notes


           9       and --


          10   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you very much.


          11   MR ALTMAN:  First, the appellant made no claim and never


          12       did, up to and including his pleas, covering up that


          13       Horizon generated shortfall, rather than one created by


          14       his own actions in taking money from Post Office to prop


          15       up his retail business.  In the basis of plea, which we


          16       have just seen, he made no claim whatsoever to having


          17       borrowed money from the Post Office -- this is the


          18       important part -- to repay what he had made good in the


          19       past.


          20           Can I say, if that had been his case, then perhaps


          21       a different approach might have been taken towards it,


          22       but he never said it, it was never his case.  But what


          23       he had done was to repay what he had made good in the


          24       past.  There is another reason why it cannot have been


          25       and I'll come to that in a short while.  This was all


                                            31





           1       about a bad financial deal that he had got himself into,


           2       which required him, for liquidity purposes, to take the


           3       money and cover up for it.


           4           Indeed, when one looks, for example, at certain


           5       things which had been said on Mr Fell's behalf, not just


           6       today, not just in Mr Stein's speaking note but also in


           7       the original grounds, they included claims by Mr Fell --


           8       and this is to be found, my Lord -- we don't need to


           9       look at it but the original grounds are in the very


          10       first tab in the bundle, but I will give the court the


          11       reference.  It is paragraph 13(v), letters A to F and


          12       they include a series of claims made on Mr Fell's


          13       behalf, unsupported by evidence, relying on the draft


          14       Second Sight report which is in tab 28, a year after


          15       Mr Warmington's email, but representations included


          16       then, that he didn't commit false accounting because he


          17       says he informed the Post Office of the shortages on


          18       several occasions.


          19           He did but that was never part and never underlay


          20       his plea of guilty.  It was never part of his case.


          21       Secondly, he went this far, that there was no evidence


          22       he had taken money from Post Office which, as we know,


          23       is in contradistinction to his own accounts, including


          24       his own unequivocal plea and the basis of it.


          25           The importance of the final case which you will


                                            32





           1       recall, which is in the final tab of bundle E, if you


           2       could please go back to that.  Tab 29, page 99.  You


           3       will see the dates.  It is 5 December.  The one before,


           4       in tab 28, was dated 3 November and headed "Draft", and


           5       this is the final.  If one goes to the paragraph


           6       Mr Stein invited attention to at 2.2.  Both parties


           7       recognise Mr Stein, in his document yesterday, called


           8       this agreed -- it was agreed but this is how


           9       Second Sight describe it:


          10           "Both parties recognise that the applicant had


          11       reported and made good discrepancies on four occasions


          12       between late 2005 and December 2006, aggregating to


          13       £1,110.87."


          14           In order to come to this agreement, clearly these


          15       figures hadn't changed and these were the only shortages


          16       that had ever been reported and these were agreed by


          17       Mr Fell and the Post Office, totaling a little over


          18       £1,000.


          19           If the money Mr Fell -- this is point 9, I have


          20       probably skated over point 2, so I know my Lord likes


          21       counting the points, so forgive me.


          22   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  I have stopped that at 1.


          23   MR ALTMAN:  That is very unkind -- there was more than one


          24       point there.


          25   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  I understand.


                                            33





           1   MR ALTMAN:  If the money Mr Fell falsely claimed, pleaded


           2       guilty to and repaid, which is £19,000-odd, equated or


           3       approximated to what he had admitted he removed from the


           4       Post Office, then the four discrepancies he made good


           5       during the period of late 2005 to December 2006, he came


           6       (Inaudible) your Lordship's point on the indictment page


           7       which are narrower, cannot explain the scale of losses.


           8       That is his point.  If his case really is "I was making


           9       the discrepancies", £19,000, even deducting the thousand


          10       leaving 18,000, cannot account for those four


          11       discrepancies.


          12           We know, moving on, that the appellant also made


          13       a series of comments during the course of the


          14       investigation, which is cable of bearing an adverse


          15       interpretation.  If one goes -- and if the court finds


          16       it helpful, perhaps, rather than going to the actual


          17       document, if you find it necessary, if we go within the


          18       bundle, please, to the case summary which we prepared to


          19       assist the court at tab 3, at page 16.


          20           These are the comments which were made by Mr Fell


          21       during the course of the early days and the importance


          22       of this is even before he was ever charged or


          23       interviewed, he made adverse comments, comments against


          24       interest, paragraph 4, second line down:


          25           "If I was to give you a cheque for the shortage,


                                            34





           1       would that be the end of it?"


           2           That was on 23 October.  Paragraph 7, three days


           3       later, towards the bottom of that page, during the


           4       conversation, Mr Fell said to Ms Bailey, the


           5       investigator, that he had been very stupid and he hadn't


           6       intended to take money from the Post Office but


           7       circumstances had led him to it and the circumstances,


           8       we suggest, are the ones he was to tell about later, his


           9       financial mismanagement.


          10           Over the page at the top, 17:


          11           "Several times he told her that it had been


          12       a foolish thing to do.  He also told her that he thought


          13       he would have been found out a while back."


          14           "Found out a while back" does not sound in its terms


          15       that he had problems with Horizon or was simply covering


          16       shortfalls which had been made good in the past, or


          17       repaid out of Post Office funds.  He told her he thought


          18       he would have been found out a while back, that a person


          19       who had visited him then had not checked the cash


          20       against the balance snapshot, as she had.


          21           So in other words, somebody who had performed


          22       (Inaudible) in the past had not done competently and had


          23       missed what Mr Fell had been doing.  Paragraph 9,


          24       7 November 2006, last line.  In relation to --


          25       7 November is a copy of emails that Ms Bailey produced


                                            35





           1       and in which she noted these comments but also on


           2       26 October, in the last one of this calendar month, he


           3       had said he had not "taken any more money for quite


           4       a while".


           5           Then, my Lord, can I invite attention to the


           6       prepared statement of 25 November, so a month after both


           7       the initial conduct.  Tab 14, and I am not going to go


           8       through it all but I just invite attention to page 40


           9       and 41, which -- 40 and 41, third paragraph:


          10           "The burden of my actions became so unbearable that


          11       on 11 November, I planned to end my life."


          12           Penultimately on that page:


          13           "I wish to offer the Post Office and my family


          14       an unreserved apology for my financial negligence but


          15       wish to reaffirm without prejudice that at no time have


          16       I sought to steal or defraud the Post Office of any


          17       stock or cash whilst in my custody.  It has always been


          18       my intention to repay the money to the Post Office."


          19           So I emphasise, just looking at what we looked at so


          20       far, prior to charge, Mr Fell admitted taking money but


          21       his own defence was "I always intended to pay it back",


          22       and therefore, his defence was lack of intention


          23       permanently to deprive.


          24           His defence evidence, tab 22, page 75:


          25           "The nature of the accused's defence is that he used


                                            36





           1       the Post Office monies to keep the adjoining shop,


           2       afloat having suffered a decline in the trade at the


           3       Post Office and having mismanaged the stocking of the


           4       shop, resulting in financial difficulties in meeting the


           5       overheads of the business.  He always intended to repay


           6       the monies."


           7           That is dated 7 June.  No word there again, I have


           8       to emphasise, about making good shortages in the past as


           9       his reason for borrowing the money.


          10           Then as my Lord, Mr Justice Picken commented


          11       earlier, there is the solicitor's letter, which was


          12       revealed during the course of the mediation.  At tab 24,


          13       6 July -- I think I said earlier that he pleaded the


          14       next day and he was certainly sentenced on 27 July, but


          15       the letter reads:


          16           "Dear Stanley, I wish to confirm that you appeared


          17       at Leceister Crown Court on 29 June for a plea and case


          18       management hearing.  As you will recall, a full


          19       conference took place with myself, your barrister, Peter


          20       Hampton, and Michael Rudkin from the Federation [Michael


          21       Rudkin was involved in the early days at the branch


          22       itself, when the auditors went in] and you again


          23       received full advice regarding your plea.  Peter


          24       Hamilton liaised with the prosecution on the basis of


          25       ...(Reading to the words)... loss of £19,582.  The


                                            37





           1       prosecution confirmed a guilty plea to an alternative


           2       count of false accounting was an acceptable resolution.


           3       You have always accepted that you were guilty of false


           4       accounting by way of creating false cash records to


           5       disguise the monetary loss to the Post Office caused, as


           6       a result of you taking funds to keep your shop afloat."


           7           If ever there was going to be a document which


           8       revealed Mr Fell's case was anything different, it was


           9       going to be this privileged letter which I leave to


          10       later.  There was no hint here of what Mr Fell did or


          11       conceded he did, was based on his having previously made


          12       good unexplained shortfalls.


          13           So a few, please, final submissions from me.  I am


          14       not going to number them this time but if this had been


          15       a case -- if this had been a case where reliability of


          16       Horizon data was essential, which is the premise of the


          17       CCRC's references, then the appellant's case would


          18       amount, at the very least, to a first category of abuse


          19       of process, based on failures of investigation of the


          20       disclosure of Horizon.  That much we have always


          21       accepted.  But we submit this is not such a case.


          22       Because it isn't, material that should have been


          23       disclosed in cases which were dependent on the


          24       reliability of Horizon data was not disclosable under


          25       the 1996 Act.  In a case like this, where we submit,


                                            38





           1       self-evidently, the reliability of Horizon data was not


           2       essential.


           3           If the argument is that it was incumbent on the


           4       Post Office, in any event, to disclose the fact of those


           5       four discrepancies at the time, or as Mr Stein himself


           6       recognises, Mr Fell knew about them and could easily


           7       have instructed his team about the fact of them.  But


           8       the fact that on the face of it, Mr Fell never did, is,


           9       we submit, some recognition that in Mr Fell's mind,


          10       those four incidents, those four discrepancies, had


          11       absolutely nothing to do with the reasons why he removed


          12       that cash from the Post Office, which is entirely


          13       consistent with his case, which was it was to fund his


          14       shop, having made bad supply arrangements.


          15           So our submission is that the arguments which


          16       certainly appears in Mr Stein's preliminary grounds,


          17       that Horizon was central to this case, was obviously --


          18       we don't need to go to it perhaps, but this is page 7 of


          19       the bundle, behind tab 1, central to his case is


          20       "Initially he borrowed money from the general shop to


          21       make up, as he was contractually bound to do, shortfalls


          22       that were highlighted by Horizon", is just not supported


          23       by any of the evidence before this court.  It was not


          24       his case, it was never advanced and, although this case


          25       appeared in the draft and then the final case review


                                            39





           1       reports, prepared by Second Sight, in the final two tabs


           2       of bundle E, from what he was then saying, only the


           3       final report makes clear that the total sum he ever had


           4       to make good, as agreed, was a little over £1,000.  And


           5       as I have said, that cannot explain his removal from the


           6       Post Office of over £19,000.


           7           Of course, your Lordship is right that the figure in


           8       the indictment on false accounting was the total of


           9       £19,000, and didn't take account of the extent of the


          10       £1,100, and again, without being over-technical, the


          11       financial sum is not itself a material (Inaudible) but


          12       nonetheless, it is part and parcel and clearly there is


          13       a balance there of £18,000 which is not unexplained, it


          14       is all totally explained.


          15           So what we submit, if this had nothing to do with


          16       him paying himself money that he had taken from his


          17       business to make good the shortfall, which had it been


          18       his case, would have been crucial to reveal at the time,


          19       and indeed in litigation, then it was his personal


          20       (Inaudible) this was never and is not a case which was


          21       dependent on Horizon data.


          22           So it is for these reasons that this appellant's


          23       case, both, we submit, that the CCRC's central reason


          24       for raising the reference can apply and his case is not,


          25       arguably, unsafe, either on grounds of first or second


                                            40





           1       category abuse of process.


           2           Those are my submissions, my Lord.


           3   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you, Mr Altman.  There is


           4       a small point I would like your help with, please.


           5           If we go to tab 16, which is the statement of


           6       Ms Bailey, on page 53, the first page of that statement,


           7       just by the second hole-punch, she said:


           8           "She arrived, introduced herself to Mr Fell, told


           9       him the reason for my visit and that I needed to check


          10       the cash that was not matching up with what the Horizon


          11       computer system was showing."


          12           Can you just explain to me what that means in


          13       practical terms.


          14   MR ALTMAN:  What it means is, in these kinds of cases, and I


          15       strongly suspect it was the same (Inaudible), is that


          16       when sub-postmasters falsely account, it means that they


          17       are showing they have more cash than they actually do.


          18       But the problem is, it is a self-defeating exercise


          19       because they find themselves making declarations which


          20       are untrue in terms of the cash on hand, as it is


          21       called, and because of that, the cash on hand which


          22       postmasters are declaring, goes back to a central office


          23       and that will trigger cash allowance being actually


          24       remitted into the branch to recover the cash that they


          25       need.


                                            41





           1           I suspect what Ms Bailey is saying there is that the


           2       figures that were being reported back and the amounts of


           3       cash that he was calling in just didn't match or were


           4       outwith what was understood that the branch would


           5       require, so that might have triggered the audit.


           6   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  So is this Mr Warmington's


           7       (Inaudible) that altering the figures of the cash in


           8       hand has the result of further delivery of cash was


           9       made?


          10   MR ALTMAN:  Mr Warmington's point, if I could just pick up


          11       the email, Mr Warmington's point is he is complaining to


          12       Post Office about the shortage of cash.  Well, yes,


          13       I suppose it is and considering he didn't have enough


          14       cash to keep his branch open and running, is a pretty


          15       solid indicator that he was running a deficit.  If that


          16       is what your Lordship is asking, that seems to be what


          17       Mr Warmington was saying but in our submission, that was


          18       a typical symptom of a sub-postmaster overdeclaring cash


          19       that they actually had.  In other words, they didn't


          20       have a cash (Inaudible) branch because they were not


          21       declaring it and the cash actually wasn't there, it was


          22       attending to it.  If one declared cash on hand of, let's


          23       say, £20,000, but that was all false, then in order to


          24       carry on running the branch, the postmaster needed to


          25       get more cash in and that was a typical symptom of false


                                            42





           1       accounting.


           2   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Mr Altman, I think this point has been


           3       made clear already, but if you go to the attachment to


           4       that witness statement at page 59, which is Jane


           5       Bailey's internal report to John Longman, under the


           6       heading of 23 October, she says:


           7           "I was asked to visit Newton Bergoland by


           8       ...(Reading to the words)... due to concerns over the


           9       amount of cash in the branch and the amount of REMs


          10       being requested."


          11   MR ALTMAN:  That confirms the reason why.


          12   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Exactly.  That is Mr Warmington's --


          13   MR ALTMAN:  It seems so, yes.


          14   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  It seems inevitable that this came


          15       to light very quickly.


          16   MR ALTMAN:  I don't know how that is, my Lord, and


          17       I wouldn't like to say, that that would inevitably come


          18       to light very quickly because it depends on the


          19       processes here in the central offices where these sorts


          20       of things are dealt with.  I don't know.


          21   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  All right, thank you very much.


          22           Thank you very much, Mr Altman.


          23           Mr Stein, do you want to reply.


          24


          25


                                            43





           1                 Submissions in reply by MR STEIN


           2   MR STEIN:  Yes, my Lord, briefly.


           3           The point has just been made.  Can I take you


           4       please, to page 36.  I recognise immediately there is


           5       an element of this that cuts both ways but can I take


           6       you to the bundle, page 36 and the interview of Mr Fell.


           7           Helpfully here, his position is set out to the


           8       right-hand side -- have I given the wrong numbering?


           9       Should it have been -- I've got two numbers on this


          10       page.  It is 44 and 36, the interview of Mr Fell.


          11   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  This is his prepared statement?


          12   MR STEIN:  That's right, being dealt with within the


          13       interview, and obviously, he provides his name and age


          14       and details, and sets out therefore, within the prepared


          15       statement, an interview:


          16           "May I state from the outset without prejudice that


          17       at no time have I ought to steal or defraud from Post


          18       Office Limited any stock or cash whilst in my custody."


          19           Then he explains that when he was appointed the


          20       sub-postmaster in 76, and then goes on to refer on


          21       23 October 05:


          22           "Ms Bailey, community business development manager,


          23       entered the premises to investigate [this is the point]


          24       a complaint that I, Stanley Fell, had made to


          25       Post Office Limited cash management centre about the


                                            44





           1       lack of funds I had at my disposal to finance the


           2       running of the Newton Bergoland Post Office."


           3           Now, we have heard from my learned friend


           4       Mr Altman -- I am not sure I remember which point -- but


           5       the position that has been set out by, therefore,


           6       Mr Fell, is that he is the person bringing this to the


           7       attention of the Post Office, and that is the point that


           8       is being made at a later stage.


           9           Now, the oddity, therefore, that is being considered


          10       is, well, here is a man that, in theory, on the basis of


          11       the prosecution case, on the basis indeed, as my learned


          12       friend Mr Altman, as I anticipated, set out: well that


          13       is what Mr Fell said.  He has taken the money and he is


          14       also telling the Post Office that he has taken the money


          15       by alerting them to that is what happened.  We


          16       recognise, because frankly, we are not unrealistic, that


          17       we have to ask this court to accept that the points that


          18       are in favour of Mr Fell, which are that the background


          19       to this is unsatisfactory, the unexplained losses that


          20       he had to make up, we learn nothing from the respondents


          21       about that, as to whether that was Mr Fell's fault.  He


          22       couldn't use the system, his assistants were not doing


          23       it right ...


          24           We have nothing about that, all we have is evidence


          25       in the background to the time whereby the audit was


                                            45





           1       made, that there were unexplained transactions in which


           2       he had to make up the losses.


           3           That evidence was not available to his legal team


           4       and the oddity is, I agree with Mr Altman, that's not


           5       an oddity, agreeing with Mr Altman, but the oddity is,


           6       in agreement with the way my learned friend set out the


           7       respondent's facts, his own legal team were not made


           8       aware of that.


           9           That is why I have prayed in aid so many times the


          10       reference to the generic review.  People were in a very


          11       difficult position.  He wasn't aware of the nature of


          12       the difficulties and how they could build up.  It is to


          13       that that any legal team acting on his behalf, when


          14       instructed and either by him or by through disclosure


          15       from the Post Office, they would have been able to start


          16       making their inquiries and say: what on earth was going


          17       on here, what was going on in the accounts.  Sums of


          18       money being mentioned by my learned friend Mr Altman,


          19       well, £1,000 is not similar to 19,000 -- when the


          20       computer system has an unexplained loss, or


          21       a difficulty, so that the sub-postmaster has to make it


          22       up, the computer system doesn't decide: well, I will


          23       make a small loss or a big loss, it doesn't know.  Or


          24       itself, it's a number.  It could be £5 or it could be


          25       5,000, or more, so there's no thinking involved in the


                                            46





           1       Horizon system.  So the numbers not matching, £1,000


           2       being only one 19th of £19,000, makes no difference.


           3           The fact is there were problems before and in the


           4       period after the First Choice contract was made and,


           5       therefore, there were problems in the accounting system


           6       in this particular Post Office and we ask the court to


           7       accept that against the lack of disclosure of problems


           8       with Horizon that was ongoing at this time, by the


           9       Post Office, their fault, not Mr Fell's, their fault


          10       entirely, there wasn't an ability for Mr Fell or his


          11       legal team to put this into perspective and to ask the


          12       right questions.


          13   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Mr Stein, do you say this a case where,


          14       actually -- I know you say it is a limb 1.


          15   MR STEIN:  Yes.


          16   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  But if it is not a limb 1 because the


          17       duty of disclosure didn't arise, for the reasons you


          18       have explained, because the reliability of Horizon was


          19       not put into play by your client, then nonetheless,


          20       limb 2 comes to the rescue.


          21   MR STEIN:  I do.  I do and, my Lord, forgive me putting it


          22       this way, you beat me to it because, we say, and case


          23       law supports this, in the position that Mr Fell was in,


          24       the abusive nature of the acts by the Post Office


          25       throughout this period were an affront to justice, all


                                            47





           1       the arguments we have been hearing over the last few


           2       days.  And the case law supports that disclosure that is


           3       necessary to assist with an application to stay is also


           4       subject to disclosure rules and should have been


           5       provided.  We know that didn't happen.  He was entitled


           6       via his legal team to make that application.


           7           I know that in front of a judge, a judge might say:


           8       hang on, Mr Stein, look at what Mr Fell said and that


           9       might go to a point that weakens such an application but


          10       nevertheless, against the substantial nature of the


          11       abuse that has been identified in relation to the


          12       Post Office, and bearing in mind that this is not


          13       a case, whilst of course serious, not a case of the


          14       height of seriousness of the type that so many times


          15       this court is considering, it is not at the level of


          16       a murder or similar, we are looking and are entitled to


          17       look into the relative position on the scale of cases,


          18       not the highest or the worst or the most serious of its


          19       type, as against the abuse which has been perpetrated.


          20           On that balancing, those balancing factors, and with


          21       enough evidence, the unexplained disclosures in the


          22       background, we suggest that the fault, if you like, for


          23       the problems with disclosure, there is enough here to


          24       take Mr Fell's case home, we suggest, within both limbs


          25       but certainly as an affront to justice.


                                            48





           1   MRS JUSTICE FARBEY:  Can I just clarify, you are not saying


           2       that anyone who was prosecuted by the Post Office in


           3       a certain period has been subjected to limb 2 abuse?


           4       Does that mean we were (Inaudible), we were not


           5       analysing the facts of each case, or are you saying


           6       there that, for instance, the 729 calls to the helpline,


           7       the -- well, the features of his case, leaving aside


           8       limb 1 abuse, where you say that -- and concentrating


           9       on, as Mr Busch put it, the relationship between the


          10       court and the prosecutor and features getting into


          11       limb 2, that he did -- he had made 729 calls, he had


          12       tried at least to pay some money back, what --


          13   MR STEIN:  Unexplained losses, he is in the same position as


          14       other sub-postmasters, not knowing what is going on, the


          15       lack of disclosure about any bugs in the system more


          16       generally, he is in the same contractual position which


          17       is an unequal contract, without question, with the


          18       Post Office, as argued by the Post Office through the


          19       civil litigation proceedings.  So that we suggest that


          20       all of those features allow him to, and ourselves on his


          21       behalf, to put him within the categories of both abuse


          22       of process limbs but if we are considering the question


          23       of limb 2, then limb 2, affront to justice, because


          24       whilst the point being made, as I anticipated, by


          25       Mr Altman, is, it is nothing to do, he says --


                                            49





           1   MRS JUSTICE FARBEY:  He says they are explained losses, not


           2       unexplained losses.


           3   MR STEIN:  Exactly, as I anticipated earlier, that Mr Fell


           4       makes certain remarks.  What we are left with,


           5       therefore, on behalf of Mr Fell, are indications that


           6       should have allowed his legal team, if the truth had


           7       been known overall about the problems with Horizon, to


           8       look into this and consider: where were the problems


           9       with your accounting.


          10           Without that, either then or now, because we cannot


          11       go back now in time, to look at his position, we cannot


          12       instruct a Mr Henderson or similar to look into this


          13       position, because time has gone by, through which we


          14       have an ability to look into this.  We cannot


          15       reconstruct his position.  And the point we are saying


          16       is that there are indications that mean that there


          17       should have been an investigation into that.  The point


          18       made by Mr Altman is Mr Fell didn't say it.  All we say


          19       on his behalf --


          20   MRS JUSTICE FARBEY:  I am not sure that is available.  He


          21       also says "and he did say other positive things".


          22   MR STEIN:  It is a double barrel.  It is, first of all, he


          23       didn't say it and secondly, he said other things.


          24           But he didn't also say about the unexplained


          25       repayments and what we say, therefore, is that Mr Fell


                                            50






           1       can be excused in his position.  And we also, I have


           2       reminded the court, as indeed my learned friend


           3       Mr Altman did, Mr Fell, after the audits and after the


           4       procedures fell into place, so that he was then under,


           5       essentially, investigation, let's be plain about this,


           6       he didn't react well.  He found it very difficult.  And


           7       he tried to take his own life.


           8   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you very much, Mr Stein.


           9   MR STEIN:  My Lord, can I assist any further?


          10   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  No, thank you very much.


          11           Right, then Mr Moloney, do we turn to the case of


          12       Wendy Cousins?


          13   MR MOLONEY:  If it pleases my Lords and my Lady, yes.


          14                    Submissions by MR MOLONEY


          15   MR MOLONEY:  Sorry, my Lords for that slight delay.


          16           My Lords and my Lady, we have furnished the court


          17       with a very short speaking note.  It is only really as


          18       a aide-memoire in due course because of course, my Lords


          19       and my Lady have indicated that you have read all the


          20       skeleton arguments in the case but we thought, you


          21       having done that, we would be able to take our


          22       submissions relatively briefly.


          23   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you.


          24   MR MOLONEY:  In this speaking note, the circumstances of the


          25       appellant (Inaudible).


                                            51





           1   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Can I just pause you a moment.  We


           2       have again got a contemporaneous --


           3   MR MOLONEY:  That is Mr Henderson, my Lord.


           4   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you very much.


           5   MR MOLONEY:  My Lords, just perhaps at this junction,


           6       my Lords having noticed Mr Henderson, it may be useful


           7       if I were to say to the court that Ms Johnson and I have


           8       discussed a possible way in which this appeal might


           9       proceed and see whether or not this accords with


          10       my Lords and my Lady.  (Inaudible) I introduce this now,


          11       I then proceed to call Mr Henderson, and call


          12       Mr Henderson in a way that accords with the way that


          13       my Lords and my Lady would wish to call him, in that we


          14       thought it may be an appropriate way would be for me to


          15       introduce him and tender him for cross-examination and


          16       then any questions the court may have of him and then


          17       move to final submissions after Mr Henderson's evidence.


          18   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes, that sounds very sensible.


          19       Thank you very much, my Lord.


          20   MR MOLONEY:  My Lords, paragraphs 1 to 3 of the speaking


          21       note, we set out the circumstances of the appellant's


          22       pleas to theft and the disposal of her case.  We


          23       emphasise that in this case, my Lords and my Lady, the


          24       appellant raised the reliability of Horizon and indeed,


          25       whether or not the Post Office could prove any loss in


                                            52





           1       relation to these theft counts, in a defence statement


           2       and proceeded to defend these charges until,


           3       essentially, almost the door of the court, when there


           4       was an agreed basis of plea between Post Office Limited


           5       and the appellant.  The terms of which my Lords and my


           6       Lady will be aware of.


           7           It is common ground between the parties, my Lords


           8       and my Lady, that this appeal turns on whether Horizon


           9       generated evidence that was essential to the prosecution


          10       of the appellant.  It has to.  Independently of the


          11       Horizon issue, the appellant has identified in her


          12       skeleton argument a number of features of unreliability


          13       of the case against her.  We have set those out at


          14       page 2 of our speaking note.  They are explained more


          15       fully in paragraphs 9 to 50 of the skeleton argument and


          16       the individual factors which are set out herein are also


          17       reproduced at paragraph 53 of our skeleton argument.


          18       But essentially, no evidence that she had stolen the


          19       pouch, as we say and lots of other factors there set out


          20       within A to H.


          21           We concede that those features are insufficient on


          22       their own to render her convictions unsafe but we rely


          23       on them as adding weight to her appeal, should the court


          24       decide that, in fact, Horizon was in issue in this case.


          25           If the court decides that Horizon was in issue in


                                            53





           1       this case, was essential to the case, I should use the


           2       right terms, then we say that her convictions are unsafe


           3       on ground 1.


           4           We set out at paragraph 9 of our speaking note, the


           5       factors which we pray in aid in support of those, but we


           6       think it is best not to rehearse them before


           7       Mr Henderson, as it were, before he gives his evidence,


           8       and just simply to call Mr Henderson at this juncture to


           9       be questioned as to the contents of his report.


          10   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  Before you do that, can I ask you, do


          11       you rely on ground 2 if you fail on ground 1?


          12   MR MOLONEY:  We don't think we can, my Lord.  The way in


          13       which our submissions proceeded before this court on


          14       Monday and yesterday were that the ground 2 abuse


          15       essentially turns on whether or not Horizon was


          16       essential to the case, because, in those circumstances,


          17       in short form, the respondent should not have been


          18       prosecuting these cases because of its attitudinal


          19       resistance to the unreliability of Horizon.  And so that


          20       is the focus of our submissions on ground 2, and so --


          21       but it follows my Lord, I should make this clear, but in


          22       her case, if we succeed on ground 1, we would say that


          23       we inevitably succeed on ground 2.


          24   MR JUSTICE PICKEN:  I understand that.


          25   MR MOLONEY:  Thank you, my Lord.


                                            54





           1   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Let Mr Henderson then make his oath


           2       or affirmation.


           3   MR MOLONEY:  Thank you.


           4                     MR IAN HENDERSON (sworn)


           5                Examination-in-chief by MR MOLONEY


           6   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you, Mr Henderson.


           7   MR MOLONEY:  Mr Henderson, would you give the court your


           8       full name, please.


           9   A.  My name is Ian Rutherford Henderson.


          10   MR MOLONEY:  Would the court require me to go through


          11       Mr Henderson's expertise or may I take that as read --


          12   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Ms Johnson helpfully indicated it is


          13       not necessary and, of course, we have Mr Henderson's


          14       report, so we will take that as read.


          15   MR MOLONEY:  I am grateful for that indication, my Lord.


          16           Mr Henderson, may I ask you, do you adopt the


          17       contents of your report?


          18   A.  Yes, I do.


          19   MR MOLONEY:  May I simply tender Mr Henderson for


          20       cross-examination then, my Lord?


          21   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes.


          22                 Cross-examination by MS JOHNSON


          23   MS JOHNSON:  Mr Henderson, can you hear me okay?


          24   A.  You are a little faint but I am wearing headphones, so


          25       I will do my best.


                                            55





           1   Q.  Mr Henderson, we have the report that you have prepared


           2       in the case of Wendy Cousins before us and I hope you


           3       have that too.


           4   A.  Yes, I do.


           5   Q.  And without going through any of the preamble, we remind


           6       ourselves that you, along with Mr Warmington, are


           7       directors of Second Sight.


           8   A.  That's correct.


           9   Q.  And as you have set out in your report -- my Lords and


          10       my Lady, tab 2, page 31 -- you were the coauthor of the


          11       interim report into the Horizon system, dated July 2013,


          12       briefing report part 1, July 2014 and briefing report


          13       part 2, the following year, April 2015; is that right?


          14   A.  That's correct.


          15   Q.  And your remit was wide, I believe, not just involved


          16       with the Horizon computer system but various other


          17       aspects, such as operational processes and so on and so


          18       forth?


          19   A.  That's correct.


          20   Q.  So for those years you were effectively living and


          21       breathing Horizon and all its variables?


          22   A.  Correct.


          23   Q.  Now, in your report, and can I invite you, please, to go


          24       to page 35, you say at paragraph 17:


          25           "This matter relates to cash payments associated


                                            56





           1       with pensions and allowances [P&A] vouchers, often


           2       described as foils, dockets or green giros."


           3           And I am sure you will accept that your report,


           4       I can take you to other paragraphs if necessary, but


           5       your report is predicated upon the basis that


           6       Mrs Cousins' case involved pension and allowance


           7       vouchers; that is right, isn't it?


           8   A.  I didn't quite hear the last -- pension and allowance --


           9       what word did you use after that?


          10   Q.  Vouchers.


          11   A.  Vouchers.


          12           That is the term I found most frequently used by


          13       Post Office and as I said in my report, I therefore


          14       adopted that term, even though, as I think the court is


          15       aware, we are primarily talking about what is known


          16       colloquially as green giros or giro cheques, in terms of


          17       this particular prosecution.


          18   Q.  Yes, and you were using pension and allowance vouchers


          19       and green giros, effectively, as synonymous?


          20   A.  I was reflecting the way that in my research, I had


          21       found Post Office had dealt with this matter without


          22       making a clear distinction between what is clearly


          23       different methods of payment and different documents.


          24       There does seem to be general sort of confusion between


          25       what is a green giro, which is a term not generally used


                                            57





           1       by Post Office, and some of the other documents that are


           2       used to facilitate payments by the Department of Work


           3       and Pensions.


           4   Q.  Mr Henderson, I am going to suggest that is not right at


           5       all, because if we look at your report, you have


           6       extensively quoted from a paper prepared by Post Office


           7       to assist you in your Second Sight reporting, haven't


           8       you?  It is your footnote (Inaudible).


           9   A.  Yes, footnote 1, I have referred extensively.


          10   Q.  Yes.  And if we go to page 38, please.  This is you


          11       quoting the Post Office information.  You start at the


          12       top of the page by saying this:


          13           "Post Office has previously stated the following:


          14       benefit payment methods.  There are various methods by


          15       which benefits can be received by customers."


          16           Then the first one is set out there, and it is


          17       pension and allowance books.  Do you have that?


          18   A.  Yes, I do.


          19   Q.  And I am not going to go through it all but it is P&A


          20       books provided by DWP to customers entitled to benefits


          21       and then you repeat what the Post Office informed you as


          22       to the way in which that method operated; all right?


          23   A.  Yes.


          24   Q.  And then if you go to page 40, please, Mr Henderson,


          25       again quoting Post Office's own information, we see


                                            58





           1       paragraph 9, an entirely separate section headed "Green


           2       giros."  Have you got that?


           3   A.  Yes, I have.


           4   Q.  And customers who lose their POCA card or customers who


           5       are on temporary benefits may be sent green giros by the


           6       DWP.  These are cheques, also known as DWP cheques,


           7       which set out the payment amount and can be cashed in


           8       the usual way.


           9           So Mr Henderson, would you accept first of all, that


          10       insofar as Post Office is concerned, these are two


          11       separate methods by which benefits can be received by


          12       customers?


          13   A.  I accept that but I also note at the foot of page 40,


          14       where it says "Overclaims occurred with P&A books and


          15       green giros", and bearing in mind this prosecution was


          16       dealing both with overclaims and reintroductions, that


          17       topic, as far as it related to the Department of Work


          18       and Pensions, potentially related both to P&A books and


          19       green giros, although I accept that Ms Cousins was


          20       prosecuted only in respect of green giros.


          21   Q.  Yes, and the reason why this may be significant is,


          22       first of all, I am sure you would accept, that there are


          23       different methods whereby the customer receives these


          24       two forms of benefit.  In a pension allowance they would


          25       receive a book with a series of vouchers within that


                                            59





           1       book, and when they come to cash those, the book is


           2       scanned by the postmaster -- I am sure you would accept


           3       that?


           4   A.  Yes, subject to the comment that it is actually more


           5       complicated than that.  When I looked into this, I found


           6       that there were at least 10 different sources of


           7       allowance from different organisations, including for


           8       example, the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Air Force,


           9       and so on, all of which had slightly different systems.


          10   Q.  Yes, I completely agree, Mr Henderson, a pension


          11       allowance book encompasses a wide spectrum of benefits


          12       but the difference, or one of the differences, and I am


          13       just going to go through a handful with you, whereas


          14       pension allowance vouchers come in a book, green giros


          15       are sent to the customer a single green giro at a time,


          16       so they are not, as it were, torn out of a book; do you


          17       accept that?


          18   A.  I do and that is also my understanding.


          19   Q.  And then pension and allowances, as you have indicated


          20       on page 35, your paragraph 19, (inaudible) vouchers,


          21       once they have been cashed at the Post Office, are sent


          22       to a processing centre in Lisahally, which I think is in


          23       Northern Ireland?


          24   A.  That my understanding.


          25   Q.  Yes.  Whereas, Mr Henderson, the green giros are not


                                            60






           1       sent to Lisahally, they are sent to the Alliance &


           2       Leicester and then it became Santander, in Bootle, in


           3       Liverpool.  Would you accept that?


           4   A.  Well, again, I think it is slightly more complicated


           5       than that, because there was a predecessor organisation


           6       which was Giro Bank, which is where the term giro was


           7       originally derived from, as I understand it, so the


           8       predecessor organisation was Giro Bank.  It then became


           9       Alliance & Leicester and as you will see in my report,


          10       Post Office have used the term Santander to refer


          11       collectively to the processing of green giros.


          12   Q.  Yes, but at the time with which this court is concerned,


          13       would you accept that the green giros were sent to


          14       Alliance & Leicester in Bootle; would you accept that,


          15       Mr Henderson?


          16   A.  That is my understanding, subject to, you know, checking


          17       particular dates and so on, but in general, I would


          18       accept that.


          19   Q.  Well, thank you, and we have a slight difficulty because


          20       we cannot hand you documents but I have shown Mr Moloney


          21       one of the green giros involved in this case -- both


          22       my Lords and my Lady, it is not the one in the bundle,


          23       because that is the print and that is rather poor but


          24       another one which we have, and you will have seen it


          25       makes it clear it went to Bootle.


                                            61





           1   MR MOLONEY:  I can confirm that, my Lords and my Lady.


           2   MS JOHNSON:  I am most grateful to my learned friend.


           3           The reason why this may be relevant, Mr Henderson,


           4       is this.  Your report is predicated on all the cheques


           5       going to Lisahally and you make criticism as to the


           6       checking regime conducted there, don't you?


           7   A.  Well not just Lisahally and if I can just sort of step


           8       back a moment, when I prepared my report, I started by


           9       conducting a review of the relevant documents, the


          10       relevant sort of evidence and I quoted extensively from


          11       Post Office documents.


          12           My expectation at the time was that we would follow


          13       the procedure described in the order of the court


          14       from November last year, where the respondents would


          15       serve expert evidence and then would engage


          16       constructively in preparing an agreed joint memorandum


          17       and, as you know, that didn't happen.


          18           So a number of the issues that I have raised in my


          19       report, I hesitate to say that they were speculative but


          20       they were designed to establish a dialogue with your


          21       expert, so that we could provide a clearer explanation


          22       for what is clearly a rather complex matter.


          23   Q.  Yes but of course you, as I indicated a little earlier,


          24       you have been immersed in this subject for many years,


          25       haven't you, Mr Henderson?


                                            62





           1   A.  My first involvement was through the initial mediation


           2       scheme which considered 150 applicants, former


           3       postmasters.  We analysed those cases and out of the 150


           4       applicants, only 13 related to pensions and allowances.


           5       Unfortunately, I don't have a breakdown of what


           6       proportion of those were green giros, as opposed to


           7       pension book issues, but I suspect the majority may well


           8       have been green giros, but that was a relatively small


           9       proportion of the overall work that I performed.


          10   Q.  Yes.  So does it come to this, that you are still not


          11       entirely clear as to the specific checking regimes


          12       involved with Green giros?


          13   A.  Well, in my report, and I have raised this on a slightly


          14       speculative basis, I am expressing opinions in terms of,


          15       well, what was the reconciliation between Alliance &


          16       Leicester or Santander and Post Office.  We know that


          17       they had a client relationship.  We also know that there


          18       were relatively infrequent reconciliations.  We also


          19       know that there were relatively infrequent transaction


          20       corrections being issued as a result of errors being


          21       detected.


          22           I am speculating that the description that has been


          23       provided by Post Office in terms of how the overall


          24       system operated was perhaps -- it didn't necessarily


          25       operate in the way that it was meant to operate.  But


                                            63





           1       I raised that more in the expectation that I would be


           2       able to have a dialogue with your expert and reach


           3       an agreed position in terms of providing the court with


           4       a joint memorandum.


           5   Q.  I see.  So if I was to suggest that green giros were


           6       checked more frequently than pension allowance vouchers,


           7       you couldn't say one way or the other; is that what it


           8       amounts to?


           9   A.  That is my position.


          10   Q.  Thank you.


          11           Can I turn to a different topic, and if we go to


          12       your report, please, at page 48.


          13   A.  Yes.


          14   Q.  And here we are dealing with what aspects of Horizon may


          15       have been again in this particular case and in


          16       paragraph 28, you set out a number of headings there,


          17       and just so that the court understands, these are


          18       headings which you culled from the schedules which were


          19       placed before the court in Ms Cousins' proceedings?


          20   A.  That's correct.


          21   Q.  We don't need to look at the schedules but if we could


          22       please go through them, just to understand what we are


          23       really dealing with.  28(a), the first Horizon matter on


          24       those schedules, (Inaudible), and I think that refers to


          25       counter position; is that correct?


                                            64





           1   A.  Yes and I don't know if this is of assistance but one of


           2       the witness statements of the Post Office investigator,


           3       which is at tab 32, actually sets this out in quite


           4       a lot of detail.  It is page 180 and 181 of the bundle,


           5       so I would hope that the description is not


           6       controversial.


           7   Q.  The description is not controversial, but I just want to


           8       appreciate, through you, what it amounts to.


           9           So ID is the counter position and I think you can


          10       confirm that there was only one counter at this relevant


          11       branch?


          12   A.  That's correct.


          13   Q.  "User", second element, that is the ID of the person


          14       entering the transaction, and having read the papers,


          15       you will appreciate that Mrs Cousins and her some time


          16       assistant shared the same user ID?


          17   A.  And in fact, it may have been slightly more than that.


          18       One of the issues raised at one point was whether


          19       Ms Cousins' husband or indeed son, ever worked in the


          20       business.  But what is clear is that the same user ID


          21       was used by everybody, the same user ID and indeed


          22       password, so that electronically, it is not possible to


          23       link that entry or any of those entries to an individual


          24       person.


          25   Q.  Yes, well we perhaps don't need to worry about the


                                            65





           1       husband for the moment.


           2           So that's user. F is shop unit and again, you can


           3       confirm there was only one shop unit at this branch?


           4   A.  That's correct.


           5   Q.  Then we have the giro number and giro date which


           6       emanates from the DWP.  And then we have week number,


           7       encashment date, day and time, so those are all, as it


           8       were, mechanical features setting out the accounting


           9       week number.  The date, for example --


          10   A.  Can I just step back to the columns that are headed


          11       "Giro number and giro date", which, on page 279 of


          12       tab 48, the first page of this schedule, are blank in


          13       terms of the first 18 items.


          14           Now, what that indicates was that that entry is


          15       derived from not just DWP but, actually, the giro cheque


          16       itself and in circumstances when the giro cheque has


          17       gone missing, it is not possible to know the relevant


          18       giro number and the giro date and all of the other


          19       information on that schedule, with the exception of the


          20       last two columns, is derived exclusively from the


          21       Horizon system, rather than from directly, DWP.


          22   Q.  Where the giros were retrieved, we would have the giro


          23       date and giro number, wouldn't we?


          24   A.  Correct.


          25   Q.  And those matters I have just asked you about, week


                                            66





           1       number and encashment date, day and time, those are


           2       mechanical features of Horizon which would pertain to


           3       all Post Office business, wouldn't it?


           4   A.  That is correct.


           5   Q.  It is Thursday, 25 March.  It wouldn't just apply to


           6       this, it would apply to any relevant transaction on that


           7       day?


           8   A.  That is my understanding.


           9   Q.  Yes.


          10           And then we have "Session ID", that is the recorded


          11       session number of the transaction, "Mode", which is


          12       simply "Serve customer; "Product number", I think you


          13       can confirm that when Mrs Cousins was engaged with this,


          14       she would look at her Horizon screen and there would be


          15       a particular icon which said "Green giro", and she would


          16       press that green giro icon?


          17   A.  That's correct but can I just backtrack to the session


          18       ID and highlight the point that the session ID is not


          19       a unique session number.  In other words, multiple


          20       transactions may have the same session ID and if you


          21       look in that first batch of 18 transactions, you will


          22       quite readily see that that happens.  There are two


          23       transactions that end 40-1, and there are three


          24       transactions that end 689-1, even though they clearly


          25       relate to different customers.  At different times.


                                            67





           1   Q.  Then, let's just finish this list, if we could.  The


           2       quantity -- that is the amount of cheques entered, and


           3       sale value.


           4           So what Mrs Cousins does is she presses the green


           5       giro, having done her checks to ensure it was a valid


           6       green giro and then she would manually enter the amount


           7       which is to be handed over to the customer?


           8   A.  That's correct.


           9   Q.  Yes.  Now, insofar as the processes or procedures are


          10       concerned, we have been through what happens when the


          11       customer presents the giro and what Mrs Cousins does.


          12       And then you will have read her interview, and I could


          13       take you to it if needs be, but I am sure you could


          14       confirm that Mrs Cousins said that every Wednesday,


          15       which was the end of the accounting week, after she had


          16       closed at 5.30, she would reconcile.


          17           What that means, if we can visualise it, is that she


          18       would print out her summary of green giros cashed, let's


          19       say, 10 green giros cashed that week and she would


          20       compare that with the physical green giros, which


          21       I think she said she pinned on the wall and they would


          22       match.  Horizon says you have paid out 10 and here are


          23       10 green giros; yes?


          24   A.  Ms Johnson, sorry, can we just step back.


          25           I may have misheard you but did you cover the last


                                            68





           1       two columns on the schedule at tab 48?  The columns that


           2       are headed "Name and status" or are you going to cover


           3       those later?


           4   Q.  Well, name and status, that just deals with the author


           5       of those schedules, doesn't it, Lisa Allen?


           6   A.  I think it is a bit more than that.  When Ms Allen


           7       prepared this schedule, as you are aware, Horizon does


           8       not have the facility to record the name of the


           9       beneficiary, in other words the person either presenting


          10       the cheque or the beneficiary of that cheque, so the


          11       name was entered by the investigator, the Post Office


          12       investigator, when she did this work.  But, as I hope


          13       you will agree, the procedure used to do that was deeply


          14       flawed and at one level could be regarded more as


          15       a guess than anything more definitive.  I just want to


          16       sort of make that point absolutely clear, that there is


          17       an element of doubt as to the accuracy and, indeed,


          18       completeness of the entries in the name column, within


          19       this schedule -- this very important schedule.


          20   Q.  Well, you might not be surprised that I don't agree that


          21       it is deeply flawed but perhaps a more important point


          22       is that is not dependent on Horizon, is it?


          23   A.  No, this is dependent on the work done by the


          24       investigator.  The last two columns were not derived


          25       from Horizon.  I agree with that.


                                            69





           1   Q.  Yes.  So can we just go back to Horizon, because I was


           2       asking you about the weekly reconciliation process, and


           3       I suggested to you that if everything is going according


           4       to plan, you have your 10 giros paid out, according to


           5       the Horizon printout, which you would then be able to


           6       compare with 10 physical giros you have pinned on your


           7       wall; that is right, isn't it?


           8   A.  That is my understanding, yes.


           9   Q.  So if any duplicate transaction had crept in, that would


          10       become immediately apparent to the post mistress at that


          11       point, wouldn't it?


          12   A.  Well, bear in mind we are talking about both overclaims


          13       and reintroductions.  An overclaim is where there is not


          14       a corresponding voucher or giro sort of cheque and


          15       a reintroduction is I think what you are describing,


          16       where perhaps a genuine giro cheque has not been sent to


          17       the processing centre and has been held over for


          18       a period of time and then resubmitted.


          19   Q.  Yes, but whether overclaim or reintroduction, that would


          20       be apparent when the post mistress did her weekly


          21       reconciliation exercise, wouldn't it?


          22   A.  That is my understanding.


          23   Q.  Yes, not least because of the formula I put to you, but


          24       also, if something had crept in, suggesting that 11


          25       giros had been paid out, rather than 10, that would be


                                            70




           1       reflected in the till as well, wouldn't it?  Because you


           2       would have (Inaudible)?


           3   A.  Yes.  This is, again, one of the features that


           4       differentiates this case from some of the others that


           5       this court has considered.  The overclaim or


           6       reintroduction results in a surplus of cash rather than


           7       a shortage of cash.


           8   Q.  Yes.  And your words speculated, I suggest, that


           9       a phantom transaction bug may have been responsible for


          10       this (Inaudible)?


          11   A.  Yes.  I have said that the new evidence of bugs, errors


          12       and defects, including phantom transactions, may well be


          13       an explanation for the surpluses that were found at this


          14       branch or at least contributed to the surplus at this


          15       branch, because on both occasions that the Post Office


          16       investigator performed an audit, and I am aware that in


          17       your skeleton arguments you refer to the accounts


          18       balancing, in fact that is not correct.


          19           If you look at the witness statement of the various


          20       investigators, on the two occasions that an audit was


          21       conducted, on one occasion -- and I am referring to


          22       tab 24, which is one of the reports of Ms Allen,


          23       page 151, a third of the way down that page, the outcome


          24       of the audit, and I am quoting, "was a surplus of


          25       £4.10", and then on 151 -- sorry, 153, about halfway


                                            71





           1       down, the conclusion was, "This taken into consideration


           2       would make the outcome a surplus of £32.91."


           3           Again, I accept that those are not the level of size


           4       of surplus that I would necessarily expect for either


           5       an overclaim or a reintroduction but I just wanted to


           6       get that point on the record, that when the audit --


           7       when both audits were conducted, rather than finding


           8       a shortfall, they did in fact confirm that there was


           9       a surplus on both occasions.


          10   Q.  But on both occasions, extremely small amounts; yes?


          11   A.  I would agree small amounts, yes.


          12   Q.  And in fact, Mrs Cousins pleaded to an amount over


          13       £13,000, so nothing approaching that level.


          14   A.  Bear in mind that was £13,000 over something like 18


          15       months.


          16           If you look at the weekly cash declarations which


          17       are in the bundle as well, I think, you will see that


          18       the turnover of this branch was in excess of £50,000


          19       every week.  In some cases it was as high as £100,000.


          20           So very substantial transactions were taking place.


          21       I would argue that bearing in mind the volume and the


          22       value of transactions, it would be relatively easy for


          23       an overclaim or a reintroduction to occur and the


          24       associated surplus to be lost in the overall sort of mix


          25       of evidence.


                                            72





           1           In fact, this was very much the position adopted by


           2       Post Office.  When they first looked at the results of


           3       the possible problems, they concluded, and I am quoting


           4       from another document that is not in the bundle,


           5       I think, which was an email from the finance centre


           6       known as P and BA, regarding the missing giro pouches,


           7       and I am quoting, "Hertford Heath had numerous giros


           8       missing, £12,000 total this year, not consecutive weeks,


           9       not frequent enough to notify security and


          10       an investigation but approximately one per month."


          11           In other words, it appeared to be the position that


          12       this was pretty close to falling within the category of


          13       business as usual, rather than an exceptional fraud


          14       event.


          15   Q.  Well, Mr Henderson, I don't want to get diverted into


          16       (Inaudible) that are not going to be essential to this


          17       point but that is not how things developed.  We know


          18       that Giro Bank contacted the Post Office because of the


          19       quantity of giros that had not been received by them.


          20       And there followed, it has to be said, (Inaudible)


          21       taking place which led to this confusion.  That can


          22       hardly be described as business as usual, can it?


          23   A.  I would agree.


          24   Q.  Can we just go back, finally, to Horizon.


          25           You have speculated, haven't you, that some phantom


                                            73





           1       transaction bug may be responsible.  You have no


           2       evidence for that, do you?


           3   A.  Well, we have the evidence from the GLO trials and the


           4       findings of Mr Justice Fraser, that bugs, errors and


           5       defects, including phantom transactions, occurred.


           6           We have got the evidence of Post Office engineers,


           7       the Romec engineers of phantom transactions.  If you


           8       look at page 279, tab 48, and, in particular, the first


           9       section, where there are 18 of those(?) cheque


          10       transactions sort of listed, none of which are supported


          11       by giro number or giro date, I would speculate,


          12       I accept, that it would be entirely consistent with


          13       a Horizon bug error defect, including a phantom


          14       transaction, that if such a phantom transaction


          15       occurred, it would be, in effect, identical to any one


          16       of those 18 entries.


          17           That is my concern about the potential impact of


          18       what is now known -- and I think it is accepted as new


          19       evidence -- of bugs, errors and defects.


          20   Q.  The phantom transaction bug, as found by


          21       Mr Justice Fraser, was operative in 2001, wasn't it?


          22   A.  That is my understanding.  But bear in mind bugs, errors


          23       and defects can manifest themselves in many different


          24       ways and at this stage removed, we are looking at


          25       a potentially unreliable technology and, yes, it is


                                            74





           1       speculation.


           2           Who knows whether such bugs, errors and defects


           3       could have had the consequence that I have highlighted.


           4   Q.  But let's take it at its absolute highest, Mr Henderson.


           5       There was some unknown bug operative here; that would


           6       have been immediately apparent to Mrs Cousins, each week


           7       when she had to reconcile that the printout along with


           8       the giros in the pouch and that was sent off via the


           9       postman the following day.  It would become apparent


          10       immediately, wouldn't it?


          11   A.  Not necessarily, and the reason why I say that is I mean


          12       I have listened to the testimony of well over 100


          13       sub-postmasters.  A very frequent event was a problem


          14       occurring and when they raised that problem with the


          15       help desk, the help desk would say, "Well, don't worry,


          16       it will sort itself out next week or the week after".


          17       That was a very frequent response from the sort of


          18       Post Office to problems.


          19           So I am speculating but I could envisage a situation


          20       where, if Ms Cousins found that there was a transaction


          21       listed by Horizon that was not supported by one of the


          22       giro cheques, she might feel, "Well, don't worry about


          23       it, it is going to reverse itself or be resolved next


          24       week".  That was what many sub-postmasters were told


          25       quite frequently.


                                            75





           1   Q.  There is no evidence from the calls made by this


           2       sub-postmistresses to that effect?


           3   A.  There may well be no calls but that may have been in her


           4       mind at the time, that an apparent discrepancy would


           5       resolve itself automatically, perhaps the following


           6       week.


           7   Q.  But the difference here is not only, as I have


           8       suggested, would any Horizon problems be apparent but,


           9       more significantly than that, this type of overpayment


          10       reintroduction fraud depends on other features, such as


          11       the giro cheques, the evidence of the customers and the


          12       pattern.


          13           You have your criticisms of that, which we


          14       appreciate, but those were all features of this case,


          15       weren't they?


          16   A.  I am sorry, can you repeat that?


          17   Q.  Appreciating as we do, having read in your report that


          18       you have criticisms as to the way the investigation was


          19       conducted, but nevertheless it depended on the physical


          20       giros and the copies thereof, the customers who said


          21       "I never went in and cashed two in one go", and the


          22       pattern that that demonstrated.  Those were all features


          23       of this prosecution, weren't they?


          24   A.  They were, but at the same time, and referring back to


          25       page 279, the first 18 items, the first 18 entries on


                                            76





           1       that schedule are not supported by physical vouchers or


           2       green giros.  They are supported exclusively, or almost


           3       exclusively, by information derived from Horizon.


           4           What I am saying is I am quite concerned about the


           5       reliability of a prosecution that is relying on, in


           6       effect, a single source of evidence in relation to those


           7       items.  A combination of that, together with the flaws


           8       in the identification of beneficiaries, causes me


           9       further concern.


          10   Q.  Finally, as you have set out in your report, of course,


          11       this type of fraud, overclaim and reintroduction fraud,


          12       happened before Horizon was installed anywhere in the


          13       country, wasn't it?


          14   A.  It certainly -- yes, I think that is correct.  That is


          15       not something I have addressed but Post Office in their


          16       evidence certainly refers to both overclaims and


          17       reintroductions as not necessarily being a new type of


          18       fraud.


          19   MS JOHNSON:  Thank you.


          20   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes, thank you.


          21           Mr Moloney.


          22                   Re-examination by MR MOLONEY


          23   MR MOLONEY:  Thank you very much, my Lord.


          24           Mr Henderson, in your experience, does Post Office


          25       or does it not use P&A as a generic term to incorporate


                                            77





           1       green giro?


           2   A.  The research that I did showed that P&A, or P&A


           3       vouchers, was often used as an overarching term to


           4       include all elements of ultimately payments on behalf of


           5       the Department of Work and Pensions.


           6   Q.  It was put to you, well, you were asked, would you be


           7       able to disagree with the proposition that green giros


           8       were checked more frequently than P&A, do you remember


           9       that?


          10   A.  I remember that being put and I think my response is


          11       I do not know, because I was then unable to have that


          12       dialogue with an expert from the respondent.


          13   Q.  Have you ever seen any evidence from Post Office Limited


          14       or anywhere else that green giros were checked more


          15       frequently than P&A?


          16   A.  I think I would have to answer that, you know, the


          17       absence of evidence is not evidence of that proposition.


          18       So the short answer is I don't know.


          19   Q.  The reconciliation process described by Ms Johnson,


          20       outlined to you, does that in your opinion preclude


          21       Horizon having impacted the figures used for this


          22       prosecution.


          23   A.  I am not sure we really got to the bottom of the


          24       reconciliation, what was meant to have occurred.  What


          25       is unclear is how frequently that reconciliation process


                                            78





           1       happened, and (Inaudible) with that.  I am speculating


           2       that the detailed reconciliation between entries


           3       generated by Horizon and transactions received or


           4       processed by the Department of Work and Pensions was not


           5       as frequent as it perhaps should have been.


           6           I mean we were told that the so-called rota checks


           7       were so infrequent that individual branches would only


           8       be checked as infrequently as once per year, which seems


           9       extraordinary.


          10   Q.  If may be that my question wasn't clear and that you


          11       thought I was asking about reconciliation between


          12       Post Office and DWP to Giro Bank.  I was asking you


          13       about the questions Ms Johnson asked you about


          14       Ms Cousins' process of reconciliation each week.


          15   A.  Which was the matching of the printout from Horizon with


          16       the physical giro cheques in her possession.


          17   Q.  That's it, Mr Henderson.  So I will ask you that


          18       question again, if I may, and ask you, does that


          19       reconciliation process, as described by Ms Cousins in


          20       interview and repeated before the court this morning by


          21       Ms Johnson, does that preclude Horizon of having


          22       impacted the figures used for this prosecution or not?


          23   A.  I think the answer that I gave was that Horizon was well


          24       known for producing evidence or transactions that


          25       resolved themselves, maybe the following week or


                                            79





           1       sometimes later.  What I don't know is whether that


           2       occurred with Ms Cousins or how she reacted to it, but


           3       I am certainly aware from many interviews with


           4       sub-postmasters that that was generally a frequent


           5       experience of many of them.


           6   Q.  Could this court be sure, in your opinion, or not, that


           7       each of the transactions in the schedule at tab 49 were


           8       unaffected by Horizon?


           9   A.  I think the short answer is no.


          10           The new evidence about bugs, errors and defects,


          11       bearing in mind in particular the schedules where


          12       transactions are not supported by physical giro cheques,


          13       I have concern about the reliability of Horizon evidence


          14       in those circumstances.


          15   Q.  Now, I may be in danger of asking you a question as to


          16       the ultimate issue in this case by asking this question


          17       and I will stop if I am asked to, but the court may be


          18       assisted by your opinion in any event.


          19           Was Horizon data in your opinion essential to the


          20       prosecution of Ms Cousins' case or not?


          21   A.  I believe it was essential for the reasons I have


          22       outlined.


          23   Q.  And what, just if I may seek the indulgence of court,


          24       for you just to reiterate what those reasons were,


          25       please, Mr Henderson?


                                            80







           1   A.  The reasons are, I think, self-evident from the schedule


           2       produced by the Post Office investigator, that almost


           3       all of the entries, with the exception of giro number


           4       and giro date, were derived from what is now accepted to


           5       be an unreliable computer system, in other words


           6       Horizon.


           7   MR MOLONEY:  Those are all the questions I had, my Lords and


           8       my Lady, unless the court has any questions.


           9   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Mr Henderson, there is one matter


          10       I would just like to have your help with, to clarify my


          11       own understanding.


          12           As I understand it, one suggested way of


          13       a sub-postmistress getting money from a Post Office


          14       involved receiving a giro cheque from a customer, paying


          15       out to that customer and then not remitting the giro


          16       cheque to Bootle bank, but holding it back and putting


          17       it through the system a second time the following week


          18       in order to pay herself some money.


          19           Have I correctly understood the mechanism of that


          20       suggestion?


          21   A.  Yes, that seems to be a combination of, in the first


          22       instance, an overclaim, where a payment is made to


          23       a customer but without the associated document, the giro


          24       cheque, being submitted to what I think Ms Johnson


          25       described as Bootle, the Alliance & Leicester processing


                                            81





           1       centre; and then the second week, or subsequently, that


           2       retained document, the giro cheque, being presented


           3       a second time, the cash being withdrawn by the


           4       sub-postmaster and it is only on that second occasion


           5       that the document, the giro cheque, would be sent off in


           6       the weekly bundle to Alliance & Leicester or Santander.


           7   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you.  That is what I wanted to


           8       clarify.  Thank you very much.


           9           Unless anybody has any questions arising out of


          10       that?


          11   MR MOLONEY:  No, thank you, my Lord.


          12   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Well, Mr Henderson, thank you.  That


          13       completes your evidence.  You are of course perfectly


          14       welcome to continue to observe and listen remotely if


          15       you wish to do so.


          16   A.  Thank you very much, my Lords, my Lady.


          17   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Mr Moloney, is that a convenient


          18       point for to us break?


          19   MR MOLONEY:  It is, my Lord.  I have less than 10 minutes'


          20       submissions to conclude this appeal.


          21   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you.


          22           Just looking ahead, in does look reasonably clear --


          23       famous last words -- that we will finish the hearing


          24       this afternoon.  That being so, could I give a gentle


          25       reminder that we await the figures for the prosecution.


                                            82





           1   MR ALTMAN:  Those are in train.  Ms Carey is in command and


           2       she can tell your Lordship where we are -- she is always


           3       in command, I have to say, together with Ms Johnson.


           4   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  All right, thank you very much.


           5       2.00, please.


           6   (12.58 pm)


           7                    (The Luncheon Adjournment)


           8   (2.00 pm)


           9   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Yes, Mr Moloney.


          10              Submissions by MR MOLONEY (continued)


          11   MR MOLONEY:  My Lord, we respectfully submit in conclusion


          12       that the court should decide that Horizon data was


          13       essential to the prosecution of Mrs Cousins, for the


          14       following four reasons which I will take very briefly.


          15           Firstly, the procedures for processing P&A vouchers


          16       were flawed.  There was no evidence that they were any


          17       better or that there were any more frequent checks in


          18       respect of green giros and whilst Mr Henderson was ready


          19       and willing to accept that that may be the case, there


          20       was no expert evidence to support that assertion before


          21       the court.  His readiness may in fact be consistent with


          22       the view taken of him by the Honourable


          23       Mr Justice Fraser in the GLO proceedings, where it was


          24       found that the common issues, judgments at page 472,


          25       that he was a careful and honest witness and we say that


                                            83





           1       that was reflected in his evidence before the court


           2       today.


           3           The second reason is that the reality of those


           4       procedural flaws, as far as dealing with the P&A


           5       vouchers was concerned, was borne out by the fact that


           6       reliance had to be placed by Lisa Allen in the schedule


           7       behind tab 49 on similar amounts being attributable to


           8       the same person.  In fact, the same amounts being


           9       attributable to the same person.  That was the


          10       underlying rationale for a central aspect of the case


          11       and that underlying rationale is, as my Lords and my


          12       Lady have seen in the skeleton argument from the


          13       respondents in this case, now expressly conceded to be


          14       erroneous.


          15           That concession reinforces the potential for


          16       duplicates to have been due to Horizon malfunction


          17       within that schedule.  That is our third reason, and our


          18       final reason is that that becomes all the more relevant


          19       in the context of the numerous other evidential failings


          20       reflected in our skeleton argument, set out in our


          21       skeleton argument, and then reflected in the basis of


          22       plea agreed between the appellant and the respondent at


          23       trial, where it was accepted that she was away for one


          24       of the transactions, overseas, and that there were other


          25       evidential flaws, as far as a number of the counts were


                                            84





           1       concerned.


           2           In all the circumstances therefore, we respectfully


           3       ask the court to quash the convictions of the appellant.


           4   LORD JUSTICE HOLROYDE:  Thank you very much, Mr Moloney.


           5           Yes, Ms Johnson.


           6                    Submissions by MS JOHNSON


           7   MS JOHNSON:  My Lords and my Lady, in our submission the


           8       appellant has not demonstrated that Horizon reliability


           9       is essential to this case.  Before I develop that any


          10       further, it is critical to understand the nature of the


          11       fraud in this case and may I invite the court to the


          12       opening note, which was presented in the case.  You will


          13       find that behind tab 6 in our case summary and can we


          14       pick it up, please, at the bottom of the first page,


          15       (Inaudible).  I am going to take a little time on this,


          16       because this is the bed rock of the case and


          17       an important plank of our argument that Horizon


          18       reliability was not essential.


          19           Paragraph 4, the thefts involved these giros.  The


          20       procedure for paying customers who presented a green


          21       giro at the Post Office branch is explained as follows,


          22       in counsel's opening note and over the page:


          23           "Green giros are a method of payment used by the


          24       Department for Work and Pensions.  Giros are sent out by


          25       post to customers and each giro has a date on it showing


                                            85





           1       the earliest date when it can be cashed.  When a cheque


           2       is presented at a counter for payment, the clerk must


           3       check it is a valid claim.  Cheques are valid for


           4       a month.  The clerk checks that the words and numbers on


           5       the cheque agree and ...(Reading to the words)... proof


           6       of identity, if necessary.  The cheque must be signed on


           7       the reverse by the payee, the agent.  The clerk date


           8       stamps the giro on the front and then enters the amount


           9       into the office computer system by touching a green giro


          10       icon on the screen and then the screen shows the amount


          11       to be paid to the customer, the cash is handed over and


          12       the transaction is completed.  The giro is retained by


          13       the clerk in their stock."


          14           It then goes on to explain the Post Office's


          15       accounting week ran from Thursday to Wednesday, and


          16       again, we have heard from Mr Henderson, this is critical


          17       in our submission, the process at the end of each


          18       accounting week, that the SPM checked the actual green


          19       giros physically present as against the Horizon summary


          20       entered into the system.  It should be the same.  Once


          21       the cheque was made, summary to be placed at the front


          22       of the bundle, ID (Inaudible) completed and then the


          23       bundle is tied up ready to be sent off the following


          24       morning.


          25           As the court is aware, there are two forms of fraud


                                            86





           1       at play in this case, overpaying and reintroduction.


           2       Again, it is important to fully appreciate the nature of


           3       those frauds.  Turning to paragraph 8, please, as stated


           4       in the opening note, Chesterfield data showed there were


           5       a number of weeks where giro transactions were being


           6       performed (Inaudible) but they had received no giros at


           7       all.  I underline that because that is important.  This


           8       is not one or two giros missing; each week when this


           9       fraud was perpetrated, no giros and again, we submit


          10       that is important when one considers the impact or


          11       non-impact of Horizon.


          12           They wanted these missing pouches to be investigated


          13       and, of course, the truth was the giros were not


          14       missing.  Their dispatch was simply being delayed until


          15       Mrs Cousins could recash them fraudulently and my Lords


          16       and my Lady, that is important because in our


          17       submission, both in their effective grounds of appeal


          18       and indeed, repeated in their speaking note, the


          19       appellant has misunderstood the nature of the Crown's


          20       case.  By way of example, if you have Mr Moloney's


          21       speaking note in front of you, at page 2, 7(n), the


          22       whole case rested on an asserted modus operandi whereby


          23       the appellant stole the vouchers and reintroduced giros


          24       within them.


          25           That not right, as is made clear in the opening


                                            87





           1       note.  They were simply not dispatched.  There was


           2       nothing sent to be stolen, as is made clear in the


           3       opening note I have just reminded you of.


           4           Then paragraph 9 of the summary, page 95, the


           5       prosecution's case was that Mrs Cousins had committed


           6       the theft by making some overclaims and many


           7       reintroductions and then only noticed in slightly later


           8       claims that the claim for a giro had never existed.


           9       Elsewhere it has been described as occurring in a branch


          10       with false payment on Horizon that doesn't remit the


          11       associated giro.  Then the example is given there.  Over


          12       the page and, importantly, at paragraph 10,


          13       reintroductions, and that is really the focus of this,


          14       were explained.  A more sophisticated tactic is by the


          15       reintroduction of the legitimately cashed giro.  Having


          16       correctly performed the giro transactions through


          17       Horizon, the clerk retains the giro, rather than


          18       dispatching it and then recashes it in another week.


          19           The giro was date stamped when the reintroduction


          20       takes place, and that is important.


          21           It is then sent off with a summary and because it


          22       appears on the summary and it is date stamped in the


          23       appropriate week, it has a legitimate appearance, even


          24       though the genuine transaction has taken place in


          25       an earlier week.  If a genuine mistake had occurred


                                            88





           1       where a cheque was cashed in one week but not accounted


           2       for until the next, it would be expected that the


           3       Horizon accounts would show a loss for the first week


           4       and again in the second.  This is because in the first


           5       week, cash would have been given out but there would be


           6       no document to account for the payment, thus producing


           7       a loss.  In week 2, there would be a payment document


           8       but no money would have been given out, thus producing


           9       a gain.


          10           So, in effect, there are two sides of the same coin.


          11           It is important to understand the nature of the


          12       fraud, when one considers the role of Horizon within it.


          13       This is self-evidently not a case involving a Horizon


          14       generated shortfall, which a postmaster had to make


          15       good; this is not a case in which the amount of cash or


          16       stock held at a branch did not match what Horizon


          17       recorded should be present.  This case is dependent on


          18       the physical giros, importantly with a signature and


          19       with date stamp, the evidence of the customers as to


          20       their usual habits and how they would not shore up giros


          21       and go in and cash a number in one go.  Moreover, their


          22       evidence as to their regular day of the week and, from


          23       those strands of evidence, the patterns that allowed the


          24       prosecution to make out its case.


          25           Now, in our submission, the appellant has tried to


                                            89





           1       shoehorn this case into a Horizon matrix by, as


           2       Mr Henderson did, arguing that Horizon processes or


           3       Horizon capability was flawed.  But we would urge the


           4       court to look at that with some care, because the design


           5       of Horizon, the structure of Horizon, are wholly


           6       different questions to the reliability of Horizon.


           7           Those shortcomings, such as Horizon didn't allow


           8       them to identify the individual customer, they were all


           9       known at the time of these proceedings.  They have


          10       nothing whatsoever to do with the two judgments with


          11       which this court is concerned.


          12           When one actually analyses the element of Horizon


          13       that is in play in this case, and in parenthesis, save


          14       perhaps for a robbery or a burglary, almost any case


          15       involving the Post Office is going to involve Horizon in


          16       some small measure.  That is not the question.  The


          17       question is, first of all, what was the measure and was


          18       reliability essential?


          19           As you heard from Mr Henderson, the Horizon elements


          20       were purely mechanical.


          21           Prosecution counsel, in his opening note, described


          22       it in this instance as a glorified cash till and with


          23       respect, we would suggest that is an accurate


          24       description.


          25           Accounting week number, date, day of the week, the


                                            90




           1       time, those are all mechanical features that one would


           2       expect in any form of mechanism such as this, and do not


           3       have any bearing on the (Inaudible) Horizon reliability


           4       was essential.


           5           We place great reliance on the system, the system


           6       which I have intimated with Mr Henderson, that according


           7       to Mrs Cousins -- and perhaps it is so important because


           8       in our submission, this evidence, Mrs Cousins' own


           9       evidence demonstrates Horizon reliability was not


          10       essential.  Let's just remind ourselves of what she


          11       said.  May I invite you to go behind tab 23, where you


          12       will find her interview.


          13           And picking it up at page 124, please, in the middle


          14       of that page, Mrs Cousins is explaining the system:


          15           "Most of them are the customers I know.  I take the


          16       giro, enter it on to Horizon, date stamp it, pay the


          17       customer out and pin it to the board I have full of


          18       green giros.  That is where it stays all week until


          19       Wednesday night, when I do the books up and they are put


          20       into their envelopes.


          21           "So are the giros only done up once a week?


          22           "Yes, that is after I close on Wednesday night, when


          23       I do all the books.


          24           "So you close at 5.30 on Wednesday night, you print


          25       off your final giros and then what do you do with them?


                                            91





           1           "I put them into the green pouch.  I take two copies


           2       off the Horizon system.  One I keep in my weeklies, one


           3       I put in the folder with the green giros, the green giro


           4       docket, Q 6301, in there and then it is handed to the


           5       postman Thursday morning."


           6           Finally, if you go, please, to page 130 of the


           7       interview, two-thirds down the page, Mrs Cousins says:


           8           "I can say with my hand on heart, definitely I have


           9       never held back on any giros in this office.  I do them


          10       up religiously every Wednesday and I have done since


          11       I started here.  I do them up, I check them."


          12           At the top of the following page:


          13           "I personally do them up every Wednesday."


          14           So in our submission, that again is critical


          15       evidence, first of all, given those elements of the case


          16       that I directly outlined, that this is not a Horizon


          17       essential case.  The taking in of this (inaudible), even


          18       forgetting the speculative phantom transaction bug


          19       posited by Mr Henderson, remembering the fact it was


          20       only operative in 2001, putting all of that aside, let's


          21       say there was some unknown bug, it would make itself


          22       manifest at this point and that is, in our submission,


          23       critical; critical, given all Mrs Cousins has said.


          24           There is no evidence that you have the records of


          25       the call(?) log, no evidence whatsoever on that, or


                                            92





           1       indeed (Inaudible) that she ever suffered any problems


           2       doing this exercise.


           3           Now, criticism has been made as to certain elements


           4       of the Crown's case but they are not elements that it's


           5       dependent upon Horizon reliability.  You might suggest


           6       that Horizon could have been designed as a better system


           7       in the first place but that is really not for comment.


           8       They are not dependent on Horizon reliability and


           9       importantly, all these criticisms were available at the


          10       time.  None of the evidence that has come out of the two


          11       judgments affect what was available at that time of


          12       these proceedings.


          13           In his perfected grounds, Mr Moloney made certain


          14       non-Horizon points and I want to deal with them very


          15       quickly, if I may, because as you will have seen from


          16       our response, we characterise that as really a question


          17       of evidential sufficiency, almost akin to a half time


          18       submission, and various non-Horizon questions have been


          19       raised.  First of all, a suggestion that someone other


          20       than Mrs Cousins may have been involved in the


          21       reintroduction.  An assistant was mooted, but that


          22       ignores the evidence that I have just taken you to from


          23       Mrs Cousins' interview.  It was her job.  It ignores the


          24       statement of her assistant, which is in the bundle.


          25       I am not going to take you to it but she was clear that


                                            93





           1       she only worked three mornings a week and had nothing


           2       whatsoever to do with that Wednesday evening


           3       reconciliation.


           4           Fujitsu logs were acquired by the prosecution in


           5       this case, to ensure that they could be clear as to the


           6       times of when transactions were done and importantly,


           7       the proposed plea document, about which I will come on


           8       to in a moment, expressly disavows any suggestion that


           9       it was Mrs Cousins' assistant.  So we would submit, one,


          10       that has nothing to do with Horizon, all of that


          11       material was available at the time.


          12           Again, in his grounds, Mr Moloney relies upon the


          13       collection sheets and you will have seen a selection of


          14       them in the bundles.  Perhaps we could just look at one


          15       by way of example.  It is a short point.  Let me just


          16       take the first one, which is behind tab 7, please.  This


          17       is an example of the collection sheet that was written


          18       up by the postman when he came on the Thursday morning


          19       to collect the various special items.  This is just one


          20       example and we will see here that a number of priority


          21       items and then other items, you will see -- it is rather


          22       faint, but it says giro vouchers and there is one


          23       reported here, 26 October 2005, purportedly collected at


          24       5.30.  The point is made: well isn't that evidence that


          25       the pouch was properly put together by Mrs Cousins and


                                            94





           1       handed over to the policeman?


           2           Two points arise.  First of all, all of this was


           3       available at the time, but, secondly and more


           4       importantly, as is made clear in Lisa Allen's witness


           5       statement, again, which was available at the time, these


           6       collection sheets identified giro pouches but as the


           7       investigator made clear, that would mean green giros or


           8       giro deposits and withdrawals which is a wholly separate


           9       series of documents which has nothing to do with this


          10       case.


          11           So one cannot safely infer from these documents that


          12       the pouch was indeed handed over and subsequently


          13       stolen.  As I have already said, of course, it was never


          14       the Crown's case that they were stolen, but they just


          15       did not (Inaudible).


          16           So in our submission, all of that evidence


          17       demonstrates that this case fundamentally did not depend


          18       on Horizon reliability.  It is for that reason that we


          19       rely on Mrs Cousins' plea, because if it is not


          20       a Horizon case, it is therefore not an abuse, the


          21       questions of disclosure do not arise and nothing in the


          22       fresh evidence viciates pleas of guilty and it is


          23       important, in our submission, to remind ourselves what


          24       Mrs Cousins pleaded to.


          25           Can I just take you, please, to page 102, which is