Secret email about the Post Office Scandal. Shh!

Kelly Tolhurst: today in parliament

Hello secret emailers

I’m off to Portcullis House today, powered entirely by your donations. I’m spending the morning in the Thatcher Room finding out if the BEIS Select Committee is going to ask Kelly Tolhurst (the Postal Services Minister – pictured above) any questions about the Bates and others v Post Office group litigation and if so, whether she is going to answer them.

I know there is a parliamentary convention not to get involved in an ongoing trial (with good reason), but I don’t think it’s interfering with the judicial process to ask how much money the government is going to spend allowing the Post Office to continue litigating in the way it is.

I will report back on soonest.

Tracy goes long

I have just posted the director’s cut (ie long version) of Tracy Felstead’s story, which appeared here in yesterday’s Daily Mail (and was interestingly re-written here in The Sun)

My piece is an order of magnitude longer than the DM piece and perhaps worth reading on a commute or with a cup of tea during a quiet moment.

I am profoundly grateful to Tracy for coming forward and telling her story, and I am also grateful the Daily Mail for allowing me to publish it.

Many organisations would insist once they had the copy, it didn’t appear anywhere else. The Daily Mail’s Chief Reporter Sam Greenhill is more interested in getting the story out there. And he’s very good at double-checking dates. Please read this if you have the time. I think it’s one of the most important tales in this saga and is up there with what happened to Seema Misra in terms of sheer horror.

Yesterday’s Daily Mail story was picked up by the inestimable Matthew Wright. Matthew interviewed Tracy on his talkRADIO show. It is a powerful interview and you can listen to it here.

The Court of Appeal

I finally got my hands on Fraser J’s refusal to allow the Post Office’s application to appeal the Common Issues (trial) judgment. I wasn’t in court on 23 May when he made the decision, but I was told he was forensic in his evisceration of the Post Office’s case. The written judgment is longer and seems to be just as brutal. I’ll post it up and try to write something around it before the end of today.

One of the key paragraphs which stood out was Fraser J’s inference that it is unlikely any damages will be awarded until after the March 2020 trial – so there’s at least a year of this to go before we get close to knowing if the claimants are going to get anything from this process, and if so, how much.

The reason I haven’t published a piece on the high court appeal is because the ruling has been slightly superseded by the Post Office’s application to the Court of Appeal over the common issues decision.

This, it was revealed yesterday (in “Court of Appeal invites Post Office to have another go“), has been thrown back at the Post Office’s lawyers by Lord Justice Coulson for being five times longer than normal and at least twice as long as the absolute allowable maximum.

Lord Coulson has given the Post Office until 4pm this Friday to make a better fist of things. If they don’t, the original 15 March judgment stands by default.

One other important thing which came out of yesterday’s revelation is the likely timescale for the Horizon trial judgment and the decision on whether to allow the appeal. I’ll leave you to read the story.

Interesting times

There’s lots going on at the moment. Thank you for giving me the funding to keep across it. Things will quieten down over summer, but it is all going to ramp up again significantly in the autumn – when the entire news agenda will once again be swallowed by Brexit.

Have a great day, please keep the correspondence coming and I’ll be reporting back soon.



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