When will anyone be held to account?
Forgive me if this newsletter appears rushed, it is. But there’s quite a bit to point you towards, so I thought: better something than nothing.
The Williams inquiry into the Post Office Horizon scandal has launched its new website, which I suspect we will all spend many days poring over in the months to come. It is far easier to navigate than the horrible gov.uk one and has a clean-ish layout. Take a look: https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk
The launch of the website coincides with Sir Wyn Williams’ promised update report. I have yet to read it in full so I am sure there will be some nuggets in there, but the main thing I’ve noted so far is that the oral evidence sessions (where existing and former Post Office execs and prosecutors will be cross-examined under oath), which was scheduled to begin in “early 2022” will definitely not now mean the beginning of 2022. Sir Wyn says:
“Preliminary investigations reveal that there may be a considerable amount of documentary evidence to digest before there can be meaningful hearings. I consider that time spent in digesting such documents before the hearings will be time well spent.”
Read the report here – and do let me know what interests you.
I always said I would be amazed if the inquiry can report by Autumn 2022 as requested by the government. Here is the first sign it will rumble on into 2023.
You call this justice?
I usually like to listen and read content before I point you in its direction. To my shame I haven’t had the time to listen to Maxine Twynam’s podcast “You call this justice?”
Maxine is a criminal lawyer and her guests on this podcast are Lynton Orrett, who worked with Sam Stein QC on the recent Court of Appeal hearings. Maxine also speaks to Scott Darlington, whose conviction was quashed on 23 April and Marion Holmes, whose late husband Peter also had his conviction quashed on 23 April.
I have started listening, but not yet got to Scott and Marion’s interviews. I am looking forward to doing so on my way home this evening.
You can have a listen for free here on the Apple podcasts webpage. You don’t need Apple Music or any Apple products to do so!
ONrecord with Ian Rose
Another piece of content I have yet to even dip into is the latest ONrecord youtube interview with Ian Rose. ONrecord are putting together a whole series of interviews about the Post Office Scandal. Ian is an investigator. We have corresponded a number of times in the past and he has had some very strong things to say about the Post Office’s investigation function. I hope he doesn’t hold back in this interview. Again, I will try to watch/listen to it as soon as I am able. You can find it here.
BCS session with Page, Marshall and Mason
Due to various childcare commitments I missed the recent BCS seminar, which had the alluring title: “Computers – the enduring error: output = truth.” The session featured Flora Page, Paul Marshall and Stephen Mason, who are welll known to regular readers of this parish. I am hoping someone recorded it and it might be made available for public consumption. I will make enquiries. If you saw it (or even took part!) and would like to write it up for the Post Office Trial website, please get in touch. I also think Page, Marshall and Mason is an excellent name for a 70s prog rock band.
One for the hacks
Taking an interest in the Post Office Horizon scandal has meant spending a lot of time dealing with lawyers and navigating the court system in this country. It is not always easy. I was therefore quite pleased to be told the Justice Committee has opened an inquiry called “Open Justice: Court reporting in the digital age.”
The inquiry secretariat has asked me to spread the word to any and all journalists and legal observers who try to report from the various courts in the UK. I would urge any journalist who has ever tried to report anything from any court to make a submission. The current situation is (with a few wonderful exceptions) sub-optimal. This might be an opportunity to make your voice heard. More info here.
I do try not to go on about the book, but I am equally aware how many people involved in this mailing list have contributed to it both editorially and financially. I hope you therefore don’t mind giving you an update on your investment!
I think (he says, with a deep breath) we are still more or less on schedule to send the book to the publisher next month. I think/hope we have got over several legal hurdles, and the narrative is both accurate and reads well. I am thrilled with the cover quotes provided by various luminaries, and I am delighted to say the book is going to be serialised in a national newspaper.
The problems we are facing are actually at the distribution end – the lorry driver shortage has hit the publishing industry – getting books from printers to distributors to shops is no longer the smooth and efficient process it once was. I’ll keep you posted, but I promise you Bath Publishing, their legal, design, editing and proofreading teams are working flat out to get the book out as soon as is humanly possible. Maybe even on time – who knows?!
Right, I’m off to report on sustainable fashion from the Westfield Centre in Stratford for Channel 5 News. Have a great day.