Secret email about the Post Office Scandal. Shh!

Post Office Trial secret email update 21 November

Day 3 of Mrs AvdB

How we feeling, secret emailers?

Today will see the conclusion of Angela van den Bogerd’s cross-examination at the High Court Rolls Building, followed by her re-examination by the Post Office barrister. It’ll be interesting to hear what he thinks is important to clarify from the six hours plus that Mrs vdB has spent in the witness box. He’s got a maximum of twenty minutes to do it in, though.

Mrs van den Bogerd almost ran from the witness box yesterday and straight out of court. Not before the Daily Mail snapper got a good head shot of her which you may see coming to a newspaper near you very soon. The only photo I could find of her on the internet – a tiny profile shot on her LinkedIn page – has now been removed.

Inside the legal mind

After Mrs vdB finishes her evidence there are potentially nine more Post Office witnesses to deal with in two and a half days. Court is only scheduled to sit for one day next week (Monday), and I get the feeling all concerned would like it to stay that way, but it may be that Patrick Green’s cross-examination will require another day in Court 26 on Tuesday. We’ll see.

So the programme going forward as I understand it is as follows:


Today: PO cross examination

Tomorrow: PO cross examination

Friday: Court not sitting

Monday 27th: PO cross examinatoin

Tue – Fri: Court not scheduled to sit


Mon 3rd and Tue 4th: Patrick Green QC closing statement for the claimants

Wed 5th and Thu 6th: David Cavender QC closing statement for the defence

I am sure I will be corrected by someone closer to the action if that’s wrong.

Incidentally if Freeths have sent round any circulars since the trial started, please do forward them on. It’s always good to pick up things like scheduling information, their latest advice re speaking to journalists, etc

I mentioned a friend of mine who had backed this kickstarter campaign had a couple of hours spare yesterday morning so he joined me at the Rolls Building to spend his first ever day in court.

Although he had to leave during the first break in yesterday’s proceedings at around 12 noon, his impressions of proceedings were very helpful. The first thing he mentioned was the sheer number of lawyers for both sides filling up the benches. I have covered many trials and would put this number (around 8 or 9 people per legal team) at about right for a trial of this scale and complexity. He was staggered, basing his expectations on what you see in every TV courtroom drama: the accused sitting next to their defence lawyer, a couple of prosecuting lawyers, a judge and a packed public gallery.

Here is the sketch map I posted of court 26 up here the other day:


Of course, not every member of either legal team is a highly-paid lawyer – there are juniors – people who take notes and fetch documents etc, but yes I have become somewhat used to the sight of large numbers of legal people most of whom, I can guarantee, are getting paid far more money that I am. How much? I have heard a decent QC might set you back around £3,000ph and a top solicitor around £500ph, but I know there is at least one barrister who reads these emails and several lawyers. Perhaps they can put me straight.

Nonetheless my friend was now able to see why the costs for these group litigation have now gone well beyond £10m. Of course the only group of people in the courtroom earning nothing were the claimant Subpostmasters, many of whom are rebuilding their lives after losing everything. I have no idea what will transpire as a result of this trial, but I hope the very fact some senior judges consider it important enough to schedule and run, suggests something will come out of it.

Apologies for the delay in getting yesterday’s live tweets and write-up to you. Another reader of these secret emails is a former editor of mine whose feedback draws attention to the many sub-editing mistakes I have made in each post. I am so glad.

Thanks for the consistently brilliant and useful feedback – whatever it’s about. I’m going to head into court now. Live tweeting starts at 10.30am with more Angela van den Bogerd action.

Read them all here, as they happen.

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