Gareth Jenkins Day 2: the god complex unravels

On Tuesday Gareth Jenkins was quite certain he had no idea what the duties of an expert witness were until 2020. Today we discovered he was sent an email in 2006 explaining what the duties of an expert witness were, whilst he was being asked to provide evidence to the Post Office in preparation for the criminal trial of a Subpostmaster.

Jenkins went on to be described as the Post Office’s expert witness in several prosecutions, including that of Seema Misra in 2010.

The first half hour of Jenkins’ evidence today was taken up with Jason Beer taking him through the document chains which proved Jenkins was sent an email relating to the criminal prosecution of a Subpostmaster, in which the responsibilities of an expert witness were laid out in an attached letter in some detail.

Having established that this document did reach him, Jenkins apologised. Counsel to the Inquiry, Jason Beer KC, was not satisfied:

JB: You said yesterday that had you received the letter, you would have done things differently, certainly in later cases, if you’ve been aware of the responsibilities set out in this letter.
GJ: Maybe I need to qualify that to say if I’d received and understood the detail of the letter.
JB: That’s not what you said.
GJ: I accept that and I was mistaken.
JB: Why were you mistaken? That you think that yesterday you thought had you received the letter you would have certainly done things differently in later cases. Today you don’t think, now you know you received the letter, that you would have done things differently in later cases.
GJ: I think the difference is in terms of understanding what it was all about. What I was thinking of yesterday was, with my knowledge now of what’s in that letter, then I would have done things differently. If I’d just skimmed through it and not made too much attention to what it actually said, and it had then gone from my mind when I was busy concentrating on the other attachment, then clearly I’d not remembered anything about it much beyond those couple of days…. Where I’m coming from is that I know that I acted honestly at all times and therefore the only way that I can explain that is by the fact that I just had no recollection of this letter.

Where we are now then, is that Gareth Jenkins was used as an Expert Witness, knew he was being described as an Expert Witness, had read a letter describing the duties of an Expert Witness, had seen the work of two other Expert Witnesses and yet did not comply with his duties as an Expert Witness because he thought he was on the prosecution team for the Post Office and self-evidently biased because he worked for Fujitsu.

In mitigation, he was never sat down by the Post Office and formally told about the specific duties of an Expert Witness, that he was one and how the rules therefore applied to him, though Warwick Tatford, the Post Office barrister in the Seema Misra case claims he did something very similar. This again, is something Gareth Jenkins has no recollection of (see yesterday’s evidence).

Maybe Jenkins isn’t a details man

Gareth Jenkins also appeared to have a habit of providing false information which ended up being put into various witness statements on the basis that he believed the information to be true. Jason Beer raised the infamous issue of remotely injecting transactions into branch data.

Jason Beer (l) awaits a document. Jo Hamilton and Seema Misra look on)

We were shown an internal Fujitsu document from 2002, which noted its technical teams had “Unrestricted and un-audited privileged access (system admin) to all systems including Post Office counter PCs”. The teams have the ability “to distribute diagnostic information outside of the secure environment; this information can include personal data (as defined by the data protection act), business sensitive data, and cryptographic key information” and that there were “no automatic controls in place to audit and restrict user access.”

At first the Post Office said remotely accessing branches was impossible. By 2017 they acknowledged it was possible, but only happened rarely and with the full knowledge of the Subpostmaster. By 2019 this had been proved wrong in the High Court, despite the evidence of Fujitsu’s (then) Chief Horizon Architect, Torstein Godeseth, who claimed otherwise. Jenkins had provided evidence to the criminal courts and via Torsten Godeseth to the High Court on a very important point, which was wrong.

“I accept now that I’ve misunderstood things”, said Jenkins.
“What enquiries had you made in order to provide the answer that you did at the time?” Beer asked.
“None,” replied Jenkins, “I was relying on what I thought I knew.”
“Is that your reflective of a general approach when involved in threatened or possible court proceedings or court proceedings themselves? You work on the basis of what you had understood from conversations and what you thought you knew rather than properly researching an issue?”
“Yes,” said Jenkins “I guess that has been the case.”

Suspicious minds

Another view of the Inquiry hearing room

After lunch Jenkins was taken to the boilerplate screed which was attached to most Fujitsu witness statements about the integrity of ARQ data extraction. ARQ data was used in the prosecution of Subpostmasters and therefore the courts had to be satisfied the extraction process and the data itself was sound.

This boilerplate has some history. It is quoted in paragraph 284 of the Bates v Post Office group litigation Horizon Issues judgment, thus:

“There is no reason to believe that the information in this statement is inaccurate because of the improper use of the system. To the best of my knowledge and belief at all material times the system was operating properly, or if not, any respect in which it was not operating properly, or was out of operation was not such as to effect the information held within it.

Any records to which I refer in my statement form part of the records relating to the business of Fujitsu Services Limited. These were compiled during the ordinary course of business from information supplied by persons who have, or may reasonably be supposed to have, personal knowledge of the matter dealt with in the information supplied, but are unlikely to have any recollection of the information or cannot be traced. As part of my duties, I have access to these records.”

Andy Dunks giving evidence on 5 March last year

This paragraph appeared in Fujitsu employee Andy Dunks’ witness statement to the Horizon Issues trial. At the time Mr Justice Fraser described it as:

“almost that of a legal disclaimer (or a legally worded claim of accuracy, to be more precise), rather than a witness’ actual evidence. It would be very curious for a witness of fact [such as Andy Dunks] to decide to put such a formally (and rather clumsily) worded paragraph in their witness statement.”

During the Horizon Issues trial this unusual “disclaimer” was spotted by the Subpostmasters’ legal team. During cross-examination, barrister Ognjen Miletic asked Dunks what he meant by “the system” in the first paragraph. Dunks didn’t know. Dunks was asked if these two paras were a Fujitsu “party line”. Dunks denied it.

Dunks was then taken to a Gareth Jenkins witness statement, written eight years previously, for the Seema Misra trial. In it Jenkins writes:

“There is no reason to believe that the information in this statement is inaccurate because of the improper use of the computer. To the best of my knowledge and belief at all material times the computer was operating properly, or if not, any respect in which it was not operating properly, or was out of operation was not such as to effect the information held on it. I hold a responsible position in relation to the working of the computer.”

Dunks admitted that the paragraph in his witness statement was in fact part of a “standard witness statement” produced by Fujitsu, explaining that “When we supply ARQs we are sometimes asked for a witness statement to go through the process and verify as far as I’m aware that the data I supplied is accurate.”

Dunks’ initial denial led to him being reprimanded by the judge for attempting to mislead the court. Today we were asked to consider Jenkins’ relationship to these legally-worded claims of accuracy. Whilst they appeared in his 2010 witness statement to aid the prosecution of Seema Misra, Jenkins was not happy about their inclusion in a witness statement he was asked to prepare during the prosecution of Noel Thomas in 2006. When sent a draft of the statement, Jenkins marked up the following (very similar paragraphs) in yellow…

There is no reason to believe that the information in this statement is inaccurate because of the improper use of the computer. To the best of my knowledge and belief at all material times the computer was operating properly, or if not, any respect in which it was not operating properly, or was out of operation was not such as to effect the information held on it.

Any records to which I refer in my statement form part of the records relating to the business of
Fujitsu Services. These were compiled during the ordinary course of business from information supplied by persons who have or may reasonably be supposed to have personal knowledge of the matter dealt with in the information supplied, but are unlikely to have any recollection of the information or cannot be traced. As part of my duties, I have access to these records.

… and wrote underneath: “I’m not sure that the yellow bit is true. Can this be deleted? All l’ve done is interpret the data in spreadsheets that you have emailed to me.”

Sir Wyn Williams, Inquiry chair (centre) and his wingpersons

The paragraphs were not deleted. How did something which Jenkins believed might be untrue end up in a signed witness statement he produced in the criminal prosecution of Hughie Noel Thomas? Before Beer could ask this question, a clearly uncomfortable Jenkins leapt in with an explanation for his deletion request:

“I was referring to the second of those two paragraphs which was saying that I’d actually got the record out of the audit system because I hadn’t.”
Beer was bemused: “Does the second paragraph actually say that you had got the record out of the audit system?”
“No it doesn’t actually say that”, Jenkins conceded, “but it implies that I’d actually got hold of the information and I hadn’t got hold of the information.”

Beer read from Jenkins third witness statement, which said:

“As I understand it, some witnesses to the Inquiry have suggested that these paragraphs were supposed to show (or were interpreted to mean) that Horizon was working properly at a given branch or even that Horizon was working
properly across the whole estate. This is not what I thought these paragraphs were intended to mean…. Fujitsu’s operational manuals concerning prosecution support appear to deal with the integrity of audit data, rather than the integrity of the Horizon system.”

Earlier in the same witness statement, Jenkins wrote that he had not read Fujitsu’s operational manuals concerning prosecution support. Beer pointed this out.
“Oh, correct”, replied Jenkins.
“So you’re referring here in support of your position to documents that you hadn’t seen at the time?” asked Beer.
“Yes.” Jenkins confirmed.

Of the paragraphs as a whole, Jenkins wrote:

“Looking back on it now, I think my 
understanding was that the first of these two paragraphs related to the proper 
operation of the computers involved in the production of the witness statement 
and that the second standard paragraph related to the process by which any 
records referred to in the witness statement had been obtained and produced. 
In Mr Thomas’ case, I think that my concern was that I could not include these paragraphs because I had not extracted the ARQ spreadsheets that my draft statement was referring to. By this I mean that I could not speak to the
computer which had extracted the spreadsheets as working properly.”

JB: So you’re saying by that that the word processor or other computer on which the statement was being typed or typed for you was working properly.
GJ: And whatever was being used for doing the analysis and so on, yes.
JB: So you’re saying that the first paragraph… relates to the computer on which the statement is being typed.
GJ: That is the only way I can understand that as making any sort of sense in terms of the people who are producing that sort of statement.
JB: You ask… that that paragraph is deleted.
GJ: Yes
JB: Did you think the computer on which the statement was being typed was not working properly?
GJ: No
JB: You were presumably satisfied that your draft witness statement was not inaccurate because of any improper use of the computer on which it was being drafted
GJ: Correct
JB: Put another way – to the best of your knowledge and belief, the computer on which you drafted the witness statement was operating properly at the time.
GJ: Yes
JB: If the computer on which you drafted the statement wasn’t operating properly presumably any such problems of the computer wouldn’t affect the accuracy of the content of the witness statement?

Jenkins agreed. Beer wanted to know how Jenkins could doubt the truthfulness of the paragraph based on whether the computer used to type it was working or not. Jenkins began to bluster:

“I was unclear about the whole lot… maybe… I must have had some sort of discussion to… er… and then when… said that needs to be in there then I realised what it must have meant because that was the only sensible explanation for what that paragraph could mean.”

Beer pulled him back: “No. You say looking back now your understanding is that the first of the two paragraphs, is, as I’ve summarised it, about the proper operation of the computers being involved to type up the witness statement.”
“Yup.” said Jenkins, with as much conviction as he could muster.
“You can’t honestly believe that.” Beer replied, calmly.
“Well I couldn’t see any other way that paragraph made any sense.”

Beer wondered, just wondered, mind, if Jenkins was trying to explain away the first paragraph “in a way which doesn’t hold substance?”

Jenkins insisted he could only (now) see one meaning to the paragraph, which was that it related to the computer producing the statement.

Beer suggested an alternative. “You know that the first paragraph… was intended to refer to Horizon and the truth of the matter is you didn’t think you could include that first paragraph because you knew there was no way that you could say that the Horizon system – ie the computer – was operating properly, or if not, any respect in which it was not operating properly wouldn’t affect the information held in it.”
“I wouldn’t have referred to the Horizon system as the computer,” replied Jenkins snootily. “I would have referred to it as the Horizon system.”
Sir Wyn Williams jumped in. “Well, you didn’t write it, though, did you?”
Jenkins was poleaxed. He stumbled. “Um… yes… but… I say… I couldn’t…”
“No no”, said Sir Wyn quietly. “You didn’t write it, did you?”
“No.” replied Jenkins.
“No.” concluded Sir Wyn.

Tomorrow brings the third day of Jenkins’ evidence.
To read a report of Day 1 of Jenkins’ evidence, please see “The misplaced confidence of an unreliable god


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81 responses to “Gareth Jenkins Day 2: the god complex unravels”

  1. Rosie Brocklehurst avatar
    Rosie Brocklehurst

    “I did not think it through”, is a common riposte from Jenkins when caught on the hook of Jason Beer’s questions. The consequences of ones actions he means – and his ploy is to plead ignorance in areas, such as the law, that he needs for spinning his ‘inquiry persona’ – he has no legal expertise (why should he?) and therefore he hopes to heighten his tech geek status and thus infer he should be forgiven for his failure to understand legal terms and duties. This is called ‘gaming’, often indulged in by maths graduates. The man has clear emotional and psychological inadequacies. He is also monumentally lazy and thus a willing tool, to his employers, keen to respond to those handling POLs account within Fujitsu that was worth so much money. He clearly lacks empathy for he cannot feel for Seema and all who were imprisoned (and all the life consequences that caused) because of his evidence claiming robustness and failure of disclosure on BEDS, all areas judges knew little about, and the onus being on the defence to since 1999, and the PACE changes, to prove the computer failures often on no evidence, thus easily swayed the court. Subpostmasters went down like ninepins. This was of no concern to Jenkins who Ian Henderson of SS ‘liked’ at first, a personable and pliable geek until the information about computer failings and cover ups came to light in 2013 and the mask slipped at least in SS’s eyes. Jenkins compliantly following Jarnail Singh’s line about ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ in emails. He was biased in defence of Horizon and against SPMRs who the Post Office investigators enjoyed thinking of as thieves. It was as if he picked up this attitude by osmosis. On Day 2, Jenkins makes his comment about ‘the computer’ in the paragraph highlighted in yellow, and picked apart by Jason Beer. He maintains he is not talking about Horizon but the integrity of the very computer he is writing on. At this point, game over. His whole construct like some wonky scaffold starts to come apart, clattering to the ground – if he thinks he can speak to Jason Beer, who has a brain far superior to Horizon, and claim that he did not mean the Horizon system was in question and thought even for a second that Jason would not pick this up, this foil, this man of criminal bent, a computer god manque, who tries to say he would not write a certain phrase – and Sir Wyn says yes-well you did not write it did you? is exposed for the egotistical malevolent denialist ass he really is.

  2. The expert witness is paid by the master; the master tells the witness what to say and when to say it. On one side we have the victim(s) on the other we have the most corrupt outdated justice system.

  3. As the SS evidence pointed out, it was possible for Horizon to appear “robust” in general for RM/POL/FJ whilst being disastrously flawed for any specific SPM exposed to its defects. The SPMs’ lost money was funnelled straight into P&L and thence to bonuses.

    After 3 days of GIJ repeatedly saying, effectively, “I believed I was an expert Witness, not an Expert Witness”, I can’t work out whether this is at all credible. From personal experience in a similar environment at that time, I was aware of colleagues who acted as Expert Witnesses and that that role entailed special legally defined duties. Nonetheless it’s plain that the responsibility for the false prosecutions and GIJ’s part in them lies squarely with management lackeys and negligent legal advisers across RM/POL/FJ.

    In case anyone thinks that any version of Horizon was uniquely poor, look around you. The same ethos is embodied in all the IT-based services that we rely on and are assumed by law to be correct. The ARQ reports were produced with Excel: who knows what random unchecked formulae were in place? “Reflections on trusting trust”, indeed (https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rdriley/487/papers/Thompson_1984_ReflectionsonTrustingTrust.pdf).

  4. Peter Michael Ward avatar
    Peter Michael Ward

    I didn’t listen to day 1, heard most of day 2, and have been fixated on it today, day 3. Yesterday I felt that he was “just” a techy who was being leaned on by forces greater than himself. Today it seems that he had actually been told what it meant to be an Expert Witness in a Court, but it seems clear that he had put this to one side to fight on the side of Fujitsu/POL. His view of sub-postmasters is very negative, and he did nothing to present a balanced picture of Horizon. His analyses seemed to have been partial, yet he made definitive statements on its quality.

    I still feel that the Court should have challenged his description as Expert Witness. How can a Fujitsu employee, and a lead architect of Horizon, ever be considered independent?

  5. Please remember, Horizon was not an aberration.

    ICL/Fujitsu was complicit in other £multi-million fiascos, such as Libra (MoJ) and Lorenzo (NHS).

    1. Ergo, Jenkins was just another geeky amateur, caught in one of many fiascos perpetrated by ICL/Fujitsu leaders (sic) over decades, accentuated on Horizon by incompetent POL leaders.

      Wake up UK taxpayers, similar £multi-million fiascos are ongoing on the majority of UK government and defence programmes!

      1. Yep – hit the nail on the head there. And also I believe there is a similar level of the ‘Peter Principle’ in those behemoths, including the NHS.

  6. when does mr henry and mr stein have a go!

  7. keeping hearing that fav uk word “robust” and so those in charge believed that horizon was ok apart from a few “bugs” . I wonder if they were in charge of building aircraft and they told the passengers the aircraft flew ok “most of the time”…who would want to buy a ticket

    1. If it’s Boeing, I’m not going?

  8. Gareth Jenkins: classic example of Dunning-Kruger effect!

    1. Peter Scourfield avatar
      Peter Scourfield

      With Fujitsu giving it their seal of approval by ‘awarding’ Jenkins the honorific title ‘Distinguished Engineer’. A less distinguished engineer have I seldom seen.

  9. Writing this half way through Day 3 and it would be fair to say that Jason Beer’s gloves are well and truly off, and deservedly so. Jenkins’ responses are now irritating me greatly. He’s still trying to obfuscate, cavil and split hairs about how he understood things ‘at the time’. This simply doesn’t wash now. I presume his lawyers have instructed him to play dumb for when the inevitable prosecution comes, but he’s just making a mockery of the aim of the inquiry – which is to get to the truth of what went on.

    1. 2.25pm Day 3
      Gareth is liable to bleed out if J Beer makes any more cuts.
      He is probably the laziest nerd that I’ve ever witnessed and that is verging on comatose.
      To Gareth, effort and work are dirty words.

  10. Richard Kirby avatar

    Some of the Horizon code has been reviewed for the court, and I came across an example in https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/sites/default/files/2022-11/FUJ00080690%20Report%20on%20the%20EPOSS%20PinICL%20Task%20Force%2014052001.pdf which shows how poor some of the programmers were, as well as how subtle a bug can be. The code is in example 1 of the pdf:

    Public Function ReverseSign(d)
    If d < 0 Then
    d = Abs(d)
    Else
    d = d – (d * 2)
    End If
    ReverseSign = d
    End Function

    Now technically the code will work – turning 1 into -1 or -3 into 3. However, if d is large, multiplying it by 2 could cause it to overflow, and then return an incorrect result or throw an exception, depending on the programming language used.

    1. Peter Michael Ward avatar
      Peter Michael Ward

      That’s a very interesting point. My guess is that this would generate some “random” number, and I could imagine that bugs in general would do the same.

      Yet in every case I’ve seen, the figures have always been a round number of thousands of pounds. We saw in the BBC feed this morning that Ms Misra’s call to the helpdesk mentioned “£6000”. This makes me wonder whether the focus should (also) be on the activities of Fujitsu’s back office people making direct untracked changes within the database. I have no idea why they would be making any changes, but I could imagine that they might be more likely to be of this nature. Their possible activities don’t seem to have been brought up in the Inquiry to any extent.

      1. As a software develoer of 40 years, I have often wondered if there isn’t a bunch of as yet unknown culprit(s) still to be unearthed, people stealing knowing full well it couldn’t be tracked, “perks”, like knowing how to cheat the vending machine.

        1. Sean: I’ve been of the same view for a while now. We know from Alasdair Cameron that the money did not end up in the PO suspense as popularly and perhaps lazily assumed.
          I’m puzzled as to why no one wants to follow this obvious trail.

    2. As a programmer (COBOL admittedly)of 30 years that looks too complicated

      Surely the simplest way to change sign is to multiply by -1. Then you don’t risk blowing any size limits.

      Also I would guess that there is probably an inbuilt function in that language (VB?) to change sign, so no need for anyone to write their own procedure to do it.

    3. This ridiculously coded function amounts only to the following:

      Public Function ReverseSign(d)
      d = -d
      ReverseSign = d
      End Function

      But the problem with the function which they wrote (which seems to be in the Fortran language), as well as with the above simpler version, is that it is altering the value of the input (d) to become the value of the output.

      If you call this function from outside as follows:

      x = 1
      y = ReverseSign(x)
      Print, x, y

      both x and y will become -1. The person calling this function might be unaware that the function has changed the value of the input x, and may proceed to use x as if it were still at its original value, which is the normal expectation.

      To give an analogy, if you call the standard function sqrt(x) as follows:

      x = 4
      y = sqrt(x)

      you don’t expect x to become 2 as well, like y.

      Instead of altering d in the function, a local variable should be used:

      Public Function ReverseSign(d)
      temp = d
      temp = -temp
      ReverseSign = temp
      End Function

    4. @ Richard Kirby

      Since triggering an overflow cannot be the purpose of the ReverseSign function, why would any sane person write such absolute (pun) rubbish code??

      The same effect, sans the overflow bug, is given by:

      Public Function ReverseSign(d)
      ReverseSign = -d
      End Function

      Were ICL/Fujitsu paid by the line?

      Perhaps that moronic judge “Sir” Richard Havery, whose incompetence and vanity was responsible for destroying Lee Castleton’s life, could, before our planet is freed forever from his malign presence, be hauled up before a panel so that he can explain the purpose of such code which he judicially declared without examination to be error-free?

      Terrifying to think that such stupid morons are elevated within the judiciary and other silked morons call them “polymaths”!

      1. That original ReverseSign function is like writing code for an autonomous car which, when the driver asks the car to reverse by a certain distance, makes the car go forward by that distance and then reverse by twice as much.

  11. I’m not too bothered about seeing this puppet swing. The ones I really want to see swing are the puppet masters.

  12. Day 3 – I’ve been trying to put my finger on what does not add up with Mr Jenkins. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – but this morning it clicked – it is the fact that a trail of errors has been laid out before him – Looking back I would have done it differntly, I assumed this, etc etc, and yet shows no remorse for the devestating effect these errors, assumptions have had on others. He seems to be playing the ignorant technician card – which would be fair enough if his actions had not had such cruel effects on his victims – which he now knows about. He seems to have a totally lack of empathy for what he has done which is concerning.

    1. Gareth Idkitsa Jenkins

      aka

      I Don’t Know Is The Simple Answer

      1. RocketBoy Lux avatar

        Despite little familiarity with the full details, I have a high degree of certainty that he is indeed a “pastie” 😜

  13. Duncan Cameron avatar

    If Tatford briefed Jenkins on how to be an expert witness then why did he then go on to present to the Court Jenkins’ WS that was shorn of all the usual features of an expert’s WS? And why didn’t Seema Misra’s counsel spot the defects in Jenkins’ WS and apply for it be inadmissible or to doubt Jenkins’ veracity? Don’t barristers see expert WS everyday of the week? Why didn’t Jenkins’ WS stand out like sore thumb?

    1. Or even more worryingly the judge or defence counsel

    2. Nick Canfield avatar

      What I said, but clearer. Thanks

    3. “And why didn’t Seema Misra’s counsel spot the defects in Jenkins’ WS and apply for it be inadmissible or to doubt Jenkins’ veracity?”

      That may not be fair to her counsel… I don’t know… It’s not like a case involving violence, fraud, a motor incident, that most of us have some level of experience of, even if only in the realms of books, movies, dramas… This is quite a specialised area.

      Mr Beer is a one off, or certainly one of very few people who possesses such a mind as he obviously has. I’m in awe of him. He doesn’t have to say “You’re bullshitting pal, no one in this room has failed to notice” he gets his point over to the room…

  14. Jenkins comes across as something of an idiot once he steps outside his computer laboratory. Jason Beer doing remarkably well to understand all the technical spiel. Did not realise that Rod Ismay basically stole his report for the infamous Ismay Report. Which did not even consider software issues when giving an opinion on integrity. At times you simply couldn’t make up this farce.

    1. Beer and the other Inquiry lawyers, as well as those for Core Participants, have been immersed in this case for several years and have been fully briefed by the Inquiry’s own expert. That would be enough for a degree in other circumstances.

  15. Will Beer stop the Dancing, see my post yesterday. (Is it the Legals or the Techies who hold ultimate responsibility?) Jenkins has maintained throughout days 1 and 2 that he skimmed the legal bits and went straight to the Computing stuff when dealing with correspondence. My view just before day 3 starts. Even if Tatford or others sat him down and told him the expert witness responsibilities, the Legals should have been aware that an Investigator had applied his own changes. Also, other expert witness statements (in the same trial) had tracts that confirmed they understood their duties. These should have been in the Jenkins Witness Statements, the legals should have insured they were before putting before the court. If changes were made to the Jenkins statements, Sir Wynn confirmed Jenkins did not write it, then Jenkins cannot be held responsible. Jenkins a clever Idiot yes, malicious no. My view.

    1. Duncan Cameron avatar
      Duncan Cameron

      (1) “Is it the Legals or the Techies who hold ultimate responsibility?”

      (2) Sir Wynn confirmed Jenkins did not write it, then Jenkins cannot be held responsible.

      The answer to (1) is the obvious one: the witness is solely responsible for his or her witness statement. In the hearings at the beginning of every witness’s oral evidence Counsel ask the witness to confirm that they have signed the WS and to confirm to the best of their knowledge and belief its contents are true, they can’t say except for the bits written by other people. The same would have applied when Jenkins gave evidence in the criminal trials.

      If follows that (2) is incorrect: Sir Wynn didn’t confirm anything. He did however elicit from Jenkins that certain parts of his WS were written by others. He definitely didn’t absolve Jenkins from blame. Sir Wynn’s opinion of Jenkins and his conduct won’t be known until the report is published. I doubt that any bookmaker is offering short odds on Sir Wynn saying Jenkins “cannot be held responsible” for the contents of his WS in the criminal trials.

    2. Even if someone had sat down with him I wonder if he would have said that I understand all this legal stuff now but it is not relevant to what I have been asked to do. I am just reviewing the technical stuff and stating the facts

  16. I have been an expert witness in many cases – every time I got a briefing from the solicitors explaining the role and emphasising that the duty of the expert is to the court and not to who paid me and that I needed to include boiler plate to that effect in my witness statement. So either the solicitors involved in the prosecution were dishonest or this guy was or both.
    The judge clearly has his number though – his intervention was devastating.

  17. The idea that he’s some kind of ingénue is risible. Cambridge educated mathematicians may well be outliers in many ways and across various spectrums (spectra?), but as Jenkins himself demonstrates they tend to be sharp, detail oriented and have a good grasp of things. Having worked as an expert witness myself (very rarely) i can tell you that the solicitor that engages you will heavily scrutinise what you produce and will also reiterate your responsibilities. It pays really well though and ultimately i think this boils down to the same issue we have seen throughout this trial – individual and collective greed. They should show the homes of each of the witnesses before they stand at this enquiry and then compare then with the homes of the ‘thieving subbies’ they persecuted. I suspect the difference would be quite stark.

  18. This witness is more difficult to ‘read’ than some of the others who, to oversimplify things, seem to fall either into the category of stupid and frightened or arrogant and devious. So far I tend to think that, as a mathematician, he was, and is, out of his depth amid the subtle complexities of the law and the shameless control games going on around him. We’ll see …

    1. I agree – I’m finding him “difficult to read”. I’m still ploughing through Day 1 and am hoping to form a firm opinion by Day 4.

  19. He accepted Ward’s changes and did not see anything untoward in Ward editing his document (with track changes). Jenkins did change it to appease Ward but this made it worse. He said in the end Ward’s changes (or suggestion to delete) better conveyed what he meant. The detail remained and this is what mattered. All much ado about nothing by the counsel as far as Jenkins was concerned

    On the topic of how to review/comment draft docs, I often receive feedback to something I have sent for review with deletions and additions. All are visible with track changes and I can decided whether to accept or not.

  20. What is the matter with all these people ? I work in IT, in the unlikely event I were ever asked to be an expert witness I would make bloody sure I understood what that meant. What I don’t understand in this whole fiasco is nobody giving a nanosecond’s thought to the importance of their statements/evidence and treating making a witness statement with all the seriousness of grabbing a coffee. Gareth Jenkins is clearly a total cretin and was led by people who were too stupid and selfish to think about the subpostmasters. I’d like to think a lot of people will end up in prison (preferably with their pensions taken away) but I doubt that will happen. A mild procedural slap on the wrist for a couple of people is the more likely outcome.

    1. Completely agree. Every day of the inquiry, I despair at the sociopathic, pychopathic, greedy, dishonest, selfish people who could have stopped this suffering in so many ways and at so many times. As subpostmistress at Watlington P.O. Oxfordshire, 1999-2007, I thank my lucky stars that I wrote my own spreadsheet & calculations (nothing complicated), checked everything everyday. Having worked alongside ICL in the late 1980’s, I didn’t ever believe that remotes access, bugs, errors, defects didn’t exist. All systems are imperfect. BUT it could have happened to me quite easily because of the crap way errors/shortfalls were investigated or should I say no one bothered to even try to find out what went wrong. I am so desperately sorry for every single person who had their life wrecked by the lack of honesty by just about everyone. You couldn’t make it up – but they HAVE MADE IT UP – A PACK OF LIES. It happened & people like this moron Gareth Jenkins need to be asset stripped. Every single one of them who covered this mess up. Asset strip them all. At this point I am struggling to put the people I despise most in order in a hate list.

      1. Joanna Treasure avatar
        Joanna Treasure

        Respect!

  21. Jenkins should have stuck to his guns and excluded the computer disclaimer completely as it then become nonsensical for it to refer to his PC. He was just trying to appease POL legal. This can often happen when management want certain para to be included as it is always there. Whereas it has no relevance in some cases. You just then keep it but subtly modified to render it of no consequence at all.

  22. Vincent Roberts avatar
    Vincent Roberts

    10 years ago I filled out an application for a loan and I was successful. The loan company contacted me last week and told me that there had been a mistake with my original application and that I was going to be in a lot of trouble. Turns out I had filled out a library card application by mistake. You would have thought someone involved would have spotted this a decade ago.
    So my point is simple – whether intentional or unintentional, if the written submission does not meet the requirements for an ‘expert witness statement’ then it is not an ‘expert witness statement’, and there would have been a raft of legally minded folk (on all sides) who could have called this out.
    Have we seen the evidence of an ‘pro-forma’ expert statement signed by Jenkins?

  23. It’s clear there’s obvious mandatory statements that have to go into an ‘experts’ witness statement, so as to distinguish it from evidence given by a witness with no specialist qualifications in a particular field.
    So should Fujitsu’s Solicitors have prepared a blank expert’s witness statement template with the necessary mandatory statements in it, for him to complete and make any qualifications to it if necessary? Surely that was the starting point and someone should have been all over this to ensure he had actually legally complied with the duties of an expert witness.

  24. Those ‘disclaimer’ paragraphs are almost identical to those put in witness statements, by financial institutions, when responding to Court Production Orders – usually obtained by Law Enforcement for criminal or civil POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) cases, where a Crown Court would order that financial material (bank statements etc) was produced by the bank.

    I’ve always taken that paragraph as a means for the bank employee to avoid attending court – by asserting that the person producing the has nothing to do with the contents of it, and therefore could add nothing further if summonsed to court directly.

    How Fujitsu came to use such a similar line is an interesting point – maybe it is accepted wording across numerous sectors, as a means to avoid witnesses being requested to attend court, or did someone there have knowledge of that line from a previous role (in financial sector etc) and shoehorn it in with a view to the statement being accepted as fact (and to avoid the person producing the statement being summonsed to give evidence in person).

  25. It still surprises me that people like Jenkins think they can get away with the truth against Mr Beer and then continue to dig a greater hole when they are found out.

    Ms Misra was right not to accept his apology on Day 1.

    Pack your bag Jenkins you now know where your next residence will be.

  26. There is a massive leap from

    ‘Eye roll, before I check the system could you just just tell them to check if the computer is turned on’

    To

    ‘Eye roll, not worth checking the system, I will sign that bit of paper that will brand them a thief, make them liable for tens of thousands of pounds and possibly send them to prison’

  27. GJ is a man who’s ego has landed on an intellect too small to contain it.
    He still believes(and states) there were no “BED”s that could be responsible for losses ergo the SPMRS had to be guilty of theft.
    He still does not accept the judgment of the Horizon Issues trials ergo the SPMR’s are still guilty.
    He did and still does claim the extremely distributed system that was /is Horizon is “robust” and “working correctly at the time”- no sane IT expert would/could make and support this claim.
    A lesser ego might have listened to the user feedback and perhaps chosen a different path of action.

    Im guessing that since he was convinced of the SPMR’s guilt testifying against them was relatively easy for him and sadly he believed ( and still believes) he was doing the right thing- just like George Thompson!

    1. “GJ is a man who’s ego has landed on an intellect too small to contain it”

      Pure poetry – absolutely spot on!

    2. Akin to what George Thompson was spouting. Would never have put the two together in this way

  28. Martin Liddament avatar
    Martin Liddament

    Listening to Gareth Jenkins I am reminded of a wider, corporate approach adopted by some IT suppliers of the time. It led to many disputes with technically naive customers and can be summarised as “Don’t blame us if we have given you the right answers to your wrong questions.” Whether this holds up at an individual level will be interesting to see.

  29. Jenkins looked a bit more complicit today but still totally amazed at the gross misconduct of POL legal people and their advisors in outside legal firms. Also the total incompetence of defence lawyers and judges in subpm’s court appearances, who just ushered through these charges without challenging obvious errors in the prosecution case, including the reversal of the ‘prosecution must prove guilt’ rule. Lessons really need to be learned by the wider court system in that 1) a person pleading guilty may have been coerced into that plea in order to avoid a harsher punishment. 2) The Court needs to be able to check for similar cases nationwide in order to check for a ‘pattern of cases’. 3) The Court needs to check the credentials of the ‘expert witness’ and take a more involved role in proceedings because most ordinary people these days can’t afford legal advice (this should also be a damning part of Sir Wyn’s report) and therefore miscarriages of justice will only multiply.
    On a better legal note it’s interesting how the waffling and fudging stops immediately Sir Wyn interjects 🙂

    1. Unfortunately, the “prosecution must prove guilt” principle is turned on its head when it comes to the question of “is the computer system working properly?” question. There was a change to the rules of criminal evidence in, I believe, the 1990s such that computer evidence should be accepted as true unless it could be proved otherwise. Many thank this change is one root cause of this injustice, and I agree with them. Hopefully a recommendation for this change to be reverted will be one outcome of the inquiry.

  30. Wynn, Please make sure the fantastic KC Jason Beer is properly hydrated. We can’t afford him becoming sick at such a critical time of the inquiry ! Thanks

  31. Somethings seems very wrong with the management of Fujitsu and the interaction between FJ and POL. Gareth Jenkins should never have been allowed to interact with POL in the way he did. Where were FJ’s lawyers? Why wasn’t any ‘expert’ request funnelled through layers of management and lawyers?

  32. Mark O'meara avatar

    Gareth Jenkins’ claim to have been ‘an expert in Horizon’ (rather than an expert witness) is beginning to unravel.
    The more he speaks, the clearer it becomes that some critical parts of his alleged expertise in Horizon were based on assumptions that he had made, or on statements he had heard from other people – rather than on truly knowing the system (and/or by testing the system to discover the reality of things of which he was unsure).
    Jason Beer is exposing the many contradictions and weaknesses in GJ’s witness statements and in GJ’s memory, but it all seems so very easy. If this were a boxing contest, it would have been stopped by now.
    GJ looks to have been out of his depth from the beginning of his involvement in the legal cases, and it his misfortune that he did not realise it then. He over-estimated himself. And too many people have suffered as a result of his ignorance of Horizon and of the law.
    However, he is less culpable than those who steered him into giving partial and/or misleading witness statements.

  33. GJ is a patsie, but after the event. He’s realised it late on and playing that card and that card alone. I do however feel the other rogues gallery have also milked this angle.

    Secondly, GJ is EXACTLY why we should be terrified of the inception of AI into societies and the running thereof – narrow, ignorant, arrogant.

  34. Never underestimate the impact of a forensic examination by Jason Beer.
    Jenkins will be mincemeat by Friday.

  35. Yet another witness whose words don’t mean what you think they mean. When he says the computer was working appropriately he doesn’t mean the Horizon system, he means his desktop. (Well done Sir Wyn!). When he writes reports about Horizon data integrity they are actually about audit data. When he talks about processes for remote access he does not actually know if there are any, it is just an assumption based on informal chat. I don’t see him as much of an office chatter incidentally, it is always the same two names who are mentioned. He would have been well advised to spend more time discussing with Anne Chambers her excellent reflections on her court experiences document.

  36. After feeling like we were uncovering the truth on day one, I am thoroughly disappointed by day two. Did Gareth Jenkins really not read the 2006 attachment, or did he hope no one would find out what it was? Claiming it was an agenda instead of a document outlining the duties of an expert witness seems suspicious in hindsight. Now, with that clarified, the “can’t remembers” have surfaced, as expected.

    Increasingly, I feel that the theme of this inquiry is incuriosity. There is incuriosity at every level of POL, Fujitsu, and even among defence solicitors and judges. Could they really have not questioned why Gareth Jenkins’ Expert Witness Evidence was so unusual? It seems that if just one person had spoken up earlier, this could have come to light much sooner, simply by saying, “the Emperor has no clothes.”

  37. If it’s true that, as Ian Henderson stated in his evidence (PDF of transcript P69):

    “At one level, he was talking about direct access to physical sort of terminals, using things like remote desktop protocol, where he was troubleshooting”

    and again on P70″ “But I do recall — and, again, I was trying to strike a balance between getting into some of the sort of the technical detail that perhaps would not be understood generally, such as the exact mechanics of how he did it, using, as I mentioned, remote desktop protocol and the wider sort of capability of what he was describing”

    This would absolutely allow anyone from Fujitsu with the same privileges to generate keystrokes on a branch terminal as if they were physically present and doing it on the local keyboard. Jenkins was to my mind very careful in answering a question from Mr. Beer today to avoid admitting to this (transcript isn’t yet up on the site to check what he said).

  38. If any large employer is being paid by another organisation for someone’s time as an expert witness, you would think their management would know about it and the employer’s legal services department would want to make sure that person was adequately trained/very carefully briefed about their responsibilities. Not only on grounds of propriety and ethics, but because of the possibility of being sued if the employee gave, on their behalf, testimony which turned out to be unreliable.

    Where on earth were Gareth Jenkins’ line managers and the Fujitsu legal department in all this?!?

  39. Jenkins is cutting an increasingly wretched and hangdog figure. His work is systematically being shown to be slapdash, poorly-evidenced, inadequately researched and generally likely to be influenced by whoever spoke to him last. Graham Ward effectively browbeat him into substantially changing his witness statement but he just appears to shrug his shoulders and do what he’s told.
    I must say Jason Beer and the team deserve tremendous credit for getting their heads round all the technicalities.

  40. I think it sounds like GJ is a tech who was then placed into a world in which he had no experience and maybe got a bit of a throw out of the sense of importance that it gave him.

    I think he was out of his depth and got more and more out of his depth as time moved on. What I find absolutely extraordinary is that the prosecution lawyers did not immediately correct his misapprehensions and that the defence whilst did not dismember him in court.

    1. Yes, I’ve been wondering what on earth the defence were doing. Jenkins doesn’t seem on the face of it to be someone who would tell an outright lie in court on oath; wouldn’t a question such as “Are you claiming, Mr Jenkins, that Horizon is infallible?” have started to dismantle the myth that “robust” meant “entirely free of bugs?”

  41. David Cantello avatar
    David Cantello

    Sir Wyn chopped him off at the knees with his response “YOU didnt write it though did you” I laughed out loud at that as it cut through all the heavily caveated, coached-by-his lawyers, answers and exposed him for what he is. That is, a blustering fool. But a fool with devastating outcomes for those he had power over.
    Unfortunately, whilst he may be rightly subject to criminal proceedings, the management who directed him may well slip through the net and, whilst subject to the general public’s opprobrium, will slip away into financial security. I cannot imagine how those affected from day one (i.e. the postmasters and postmistresses) have dealt with the ongoing injustice)
    Fantastic work by the reporting team. As a long term subscriber to PE i have watched this unfold slowly but inevitably.

    1. Yeah he never found the balls to say no this is wrong people can’t goto jail because our crappy software has some bugs that muck stuff up.And the powers that be stopped him being able to do so.

      I was in same boat with some medical software with police investigations on some users and the evidence was vast but I had to say no they’ve been screwed by a dreadful bug in the system. It saved their arses and I’m glad it did.

  42. Peter Burfitt avatar

    Still confused after today. Can’t work out if he’s a pastie or just a man who had little concept of the world outside computing. Again, I suspect the later. An innocent in the scheme of high ‘ politics ‘ and completely unaware of dirty deeds.

    1. With respect, no. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s obviously been coached (not well enough by any stretch) and may well have been given a very nice farewell bonus as an incentive to carry on clouding the issues. He may be very clever, what with his boffin status and all, but never fear…..SuperBeer is onto him.

    2. Despite little familiarity with the full details, I have a high degree of certainty that he is indeed a “pastie” 😜

      1. Alan Cornforth avatar
        Alan Cornforth

        Ham and Cheese I reckon,

    3. Select this from that avatar
      Select this from that

      Its a false dichotomy.

      He is a patsy who enjoyed being a patsy and made every effort to stay a patsy.

    4. Peter Burfitt avatar

      Apologies to all. Pastie should of course be Patsie. I blame Auto Correct. Talking of which, I’m surprised no-one has raised this as a defence yet !

  43. I was a bit confused with Mr Beer’s direction of travel yesterday (and I suspect he was a bit surprised by GJ “Me? An expert witness?” defence).

    But not to worry – GJ was shredded on day 2 by being forced to recant his testimony from day 1, and then made to look like a right plum trying to claim that “the system” was the work processor he was typing the statement on. Which drove home the point that the system allegedly working correctly could only be Horizon as his alternate explanation was farcical.

    Still can’t work out if he was manipulated by various legal bods to produce these reports, or whether he is/was complicit. Tend to the latter as he knew full well about the remote access reality, knew it had been concealed, and did nothing about it over more than a decade.

    1. On balance, I’m with you on complicity.

      What fails the “sniff test” for me is that someone with a Cambridge maths degree purports not to know the difference between a criminal case and a civil case.

      Add in to this, the estimable Mr Beer’s total demolition of his claim not to have been made aware of the duties of an expert witness. I mean, I only did that once (in the late 1980’s) and was told what I needed to do by the person instructing me. And took it seriously – even though it was “only” a civil case.

    2. I agree. The latter is more plausible.
      I don’t think he is as green as he is cabbage-looking (my late mum used to say that…no idea what it means but it sounds appropriate!).

    3. I am not sure that there is a “direction of travel” as such. Counsel has to go through each of the matters being investigated by the inquiry, and determine what the reasons for any particular failings were. For some witnesses it is obvious what matter their evidence goes to, and so the questioning will be relatively focused. For Jenkins, his evidence is fundamental to a number of different issues: (1) how he was instructed and whether he understood the consequences of what he was being instructed to do; (2) how he wrote his statements and whether he was subjected to improper pressure from anyone to amend evidence; (3) what he knew about problems with Horizon and HOL and the extent to which those were addressed in his evidence. And there is doubtlessly more to be touched upon, so it may look more disjointed compared with examination of other witnesses.

      I think what Jason Beer is starting to unravel is the complete disregard that Jenkins has for the consequences of his actions and omissions, and in particular how unquestioning Jenkins is when faced with requests from POL Legal to do something which on the face of it is morally dubious. All of the “I just assumed that this was how things were done” or “I did what I was asked” seemed credible to start with – why should he know any better? But there comes a point where this begins to fall down, and the start of yesterday’s (Day 2’s) evidence was a key point: the theme of the previous day’s evidence was that he would have acted differently in providing expert evidence had he been sent that letter; but when given proof that he had received the letter his alternative reasoning was completely implausible. It exposed that he was uninterested in his role and its consequences and just did what he was told, enjoying the technical aspects and not worrying about anything else.

      1. Julian, yes to all this. It’s exactly what I’ve been grappling with watching this ‘expert’ waffle and obfuscate. Thanks to Mr Beer’s masterful questioning I think Mr Jenkins is beginning to grasp that his brand of bull**it won’t wash. Plus, the tremble in his voice as he searches for what might be a suitable reply is marked. He’s run out of road.

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