Secret email about the Post Office Scandal. Shh!

Six more convictions quashed. Book launched. First reviews are in.

Yesterday’s news today

My dear secret emailers – I should have sent a newsletter last night to tell you about the day’s events. I am so sorry I didn’t, and that today has run away with me to the extend you are receiving this late afternoon on a Friday.

I’ll be honest with you, sitting down to write yesterday’s blog post about the six convictions which were quashed yesterday was a real struggle. My brain had essentially turned to porridge after a hectic day of book promo, live-tweeting, interviewing and dealing with a lot of social media stuff. The thought of putting together a coherent secret email nearly finished me off. Sorry.

If you haven’t seen it, please read my report about the hearing yesterday. I focused on David Hughes (who I had a fascinating conversation with today) as he was prosecuted by the CPS, not the Post Office, but i am deeply grateful to the Subpostmasters who waited around in the cold yesterday and graciously agreed to be photographed and interviewed outside court by me and Karl Flinders. Karl – ever the professional – got his report up in double-quick time.

Despite the gravity of the occasion, it was great to say hello to some new faces and meet new people, enraging to hear about the way they have been treated and what they’ve been through, and a privilege to be able to witness the hearing which will hopefully start to set them on the road towards redress. It was also great to see and interview Neil Hudgell, who had some interesting things to say about where this is all going.

At the risk of making myself a hostage to fortune I will try to get my interviews with Norman and Mandy Barber, Balbir Grewal, Anthony Gant and Neil up this weekend.

In the meantime, here is the Daily Mail’s write up.

Where’s my book?

Excellent question. We launched The Great Post Office Scandal yesterday and yet unless you are an avid consumer of social media or an ebook reader you only have my word for it that the hardbacks exist. Please bear with us.

If you are due one through your generous crowdfunding donation or you bought one on pre-sale, they have been shipped and should be with you tomorrow or Monday.

If you bought one via Waterstones or Amazon or your local bookstore, the books have been shipped to the big distribution hubs. Now they’ve got to onboard the product before they can start moving them in smaller numbers around the country for delivery to homes and shops. This takes some time but I am told all outlets will have copies or access to copies by the end of next week, hopefully sooner.

If you bought an ebook, you should have one now.

JR takes a shot

We gave Joshua Rozenbrg an electronic copy of The Great Post Office Scandal shortly after it went to the printers and were deeply touched when he reviewed it in his newsletter on launch day. Joshua is a brilliant and well-informed journalist who rightly enjoys a pre-eminent position as chronicler of everything which happens or doesn’t happen in the legal world. I grew up watching him on the BBC and after meeting him during the Bates v Post Office civil litigation it was a thrill to find him careful, gracious and helpful in all the ways you would hope him to be. Joshua is also his own man and I am sure would have no hesitation in telling me and you if the book was rubbish. Read his review here.

Furthermore, if you have an interest in the legal world, do sign up to Joshua’s newsletter, which is fascinating and eclectic.

Two reviews have appeared on the Amazon website. I am delighted to report the book currently has a 100% five star rating. As this can only get worse I am probably going to stop looking.

The Horizon Scandal Fund

As you may know, Bath Publishing and I are donating 10% of the income from the book to a fund aiming to help people who have fallen foul of the Post Office’s punitive methods. We are trying to launch everything in time for Monday, which is definitely harder than publishing a book. Or at least it is for someone like me.

Watching a group of competent people get things moving whilst I flap and panic and achieve nothing has made me realise what I am good at doing and what I am not good at doing. And I have realised I am not good at setting up charities. I am deeply grateful to David and Helen at Bath Publishing, Mrs Wallis and the highly-skilled secret emailers who have volunteered their services to make the Horizon Scandal Fund happen. It isn’t yet a registered charity, but it is incorporated, we have a fundraising capacity, we very nearly have a website and our application to the Charity Commission is either in, or soon will be.

The heavy-lifting done by others in this endeavour has put me to shame. If all goes well we can make an announcement on Monday, so watch this space.

Launch event live stream

I have mentioned before we are having a small event to mark the launch of the book on Monday. I’d love to be able to invite every secret emailer, but it’s just not possible. However, we are hoping to stream the speeches from the event on YouTube live. I have no idea how it will work, but my publishers claim they know someone who does. All being well, therefore, on Sunday or Monday, we will circulate a short secret email containing a link which should go live some time between 7pm and 8pm on Monday (we’ll nail down the exact time when we send out the link). Marion Fellows, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Post Office and Lord (James) Arbuthnot are among those who have kindly agreed to say a few words.

Book pics

Finally – if and when you do get your hardback book, do take a photo of you, your partner or your pet reading it/using it as a doorstop/staring at it, and either send it to me or post it on social media and tag me in. I would like to build up a quirky online gallery/social media thread of people/animals reading/holding/staring at the book either at home or in any location which takes your fancy, the more unusual the better – astride a lion at Trafalgar Square, outside Post Office HQ, in a field full of sheep – etc etc.

As well as being a bit of fun (which I can use to market the book, if you don’t mind), it will warm the cockles of my heart to see the fruits of several months’ labour released into the wild and enjoying lives of their own.

Have a great weekend.


If you have been forwarded this newsletter and would like to get it delivered directly to your inbox when it is published, please consider making a donation to fund the journalism behind it. Anyone who donates any selected amount will be added to the secret email mailing list. This newsletter will keep you informed about developements at the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry and the wider scandal. Thanks.