Graham Ward: a man in trouble

Graham Ward giving evidence remotely to the Post Office Inquiry today

Graham Ward was the Post Office investigator who helped put former Subpostmaster Noel Thomas away. Whether he did so by perverting the course of justice is something the Metropolitan Police (his current employer) will be looking at very closely, after today’s evidence session. The Metropolitan Police are core participants to the Inquiry.

Mr Ward was called back to the Inquiry after his first evidence session on 1 Feb this year. During that evidence session he was taken by Jason Beer KC to various emails surrounding a witness statement drafted in late 2005 by Fujitsu engineer Gareth Jenkins which was going to be used as part of the Post Office’s prosecution case against Noel Thomas.

Jenkins had written in his statement that a zero value transaction (an issue being raised as evidence of Horizon error by Mr Thomas) could be caused by one of three things, the third one being “there has been some sort of system failure – such failures are normal occurrences”.

Graham Ward did not like this. He told his colleagues it was “potentially very damaging”.

Beer took him to a marked-up version of Jenkins’ witness statement sent in an email by Ward back to the Fujitsu team. By now it was early 2006. In the body of the email Ward had written that it was “important” to get the attached witness statement right “and ensure that we’re not embarrassed at court, we certainly could be if we produce the statement accepting ‘system failures are normal occurrences’ end quote’.”

The witness statement attached to Ward’s had been marked up. This version had struck through there has been some sort of system failure – such failures are normal occurrences with a comment attached to the strikethrough. It read: “This is a really poor choice of words which seems to accept that failures in the system are normal and therefore may well support the Postmasters’ claim that the system is to blame for losses!!!!”

It appears someone was trying to doctor a statement of truth, by an expert witness, to be used in the criminal prosecution of a Subpostmaster.

Earlier this year Ward told Beer the deletion had nothing to do with him.

“I would not have typed over anything or deleted anything at all”, he said. “I just know the person that I am and
I wouldn’t have done that.”

Beer pointed out this was on a document he had sent via email. Ward conceded a little ground.

“Well, I’m sure I’ve… I must have typed the words, yeah. But I wouldn’t have typed over “system failure”.

But reader, he did

Ward was called back to the Inquiry today. Since his evidence on 1 Feb, the Inquiry team had found the source Word document of Gareth Jenkins’ witness statement which was being batted back and forth between Ward and Fujitsu. The Word document had tracked changes. All the changes to the document had been made from Graham Ward’s work account. Beer demonstrated this to him on the Inquiry’s document software screens.

JB: So over the course of 52 minutes, and if we just scroll down and hover, again, over each amendment, we can see that they’re all made by you. OK?
GW: Yep.
JB: If we scroll to the second page, and just pick any amendment, please, operator, at random, and then the one in the middle. Thank you, and then the middle of the page, and then do one at the bottom of the page, and then over the page, yes, all the amendments made by you. So these were all made by you, Graham Ward. This isn’t a case of somebody else surreptitiously logging into your system and pretending to be you, these were amendments made by you.
GW: That’s correct, yes.

Jason Beer KC asking Graham Ward questions on behalf of the Inquiry

Beer took him to the reasons for a zero value transaction.

“One, the transaction has no financial effect, ie a balance inquiry or a pin change. Two, the transaction has been declined by the bank, and then three, there has been some sort of system failure, such failures are normal occurrences… If we hover above those, you deleted those words, didn’t you?”
Ward replied: “Well, yeah, I mean, I’ve obviously put a line through it, but as I said at the outset, what I was doing here was reviewing this statement. My intention was not to insist on anything being put in or removed. I’m just reviewing it as I was asked to do.”
“In what way”, Beer wondered, “is reviewing a statement consistent with putting a line through something and deleting it?”
Ward could not explain his actions, but insisted his intention “was absolutely not to have anything deleted from that statement that Mr Jenkins wasn’t happy with at all. I was just trying to help him and to review a statement.”

Mr Ward (who was read the self-incrimination warning by the Inquiry chair again this morning) is clearly alive to the fact that a criminal act usually requires criminal intent.

Beer gently steered him back on course. “Let’s put aside the intention issue for the moment, Mr Ward. On the last occasion, you denied deleting the third reason. You said “it’s just not me, I know the type of person I am”. Do you agree that in fact you did delete that third explanation from Mr Jenkins’ witness statement?”
“I can see that now, yes” replied Ward.

Beer raised Ward’s comment after the deletion. “This is a really poor choice of words which seems to accept that failures in the system are normal and therefore may well support the postmaster’s claim that the system is to blame for the losses!!!”

“Do you agree”, he asked, “that that discloses your motive for deleting the third explanation?”
“No, I don’t agree with that”, replied Ward. “I’m just reviewing the statement.” Though he admitted he could “see how it looks now.”
Beer asked: “Do you accept that by your conduct you caused to be removed material information from Mr Jenkins’ witness statement at the time that a prosecution was afoot against Mr Thomas?”
Ward did not agree. In fact, he blamed Jenkins for its removal stating that by deleting the comment for reasons he accepted were “potentially very damaging” was simply an innocent search for “more context”.

Beer wondered why Ward did therefore not send an email to Gareth Jenkins saying “‘Can I have some more context please on what system failures are?’ Rather than deleting system failures from the witness statement and saying three times, ‘We need to delete this because it’s damaging, it’s potentially embarrassing, and it would assist the on Postmaster’s defence?’”

Ward could not really, sensibly respond. Beer wondered if it might be “a desire that the Post Office was not embarrassed at court by revealing that Horizon had defects: system errors”.
Ward denied it. He said he was not trying “to cover anything up” especially evidence of bugs in the system, because he was “unaware that there were bugs, errors and defects in the Horizon system” in the first place.

Beer pointed out Gareth Jenkins, in his draft witness statement was telling him there were “defects in the system, in his witness statement, and you were deleting that information. He said there were system failures, and you wanted that deleted?”
“I didn’t want to delete it, no.” said Ward
“In what sense is striking through a sentencing sentence in track changes and providing three explanations why that should be removed not a case of deletion?” asked Beer.
“I can see how it looks”, admitted Ward again, “but I can assure you my intention was not for that to be deleted.”

I suspect in due course, Mr Ward might have to explain his lack of intent once more, in a criminal court, and a jury can choose to believe him or not.


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52 responses to “Graham Ward: a man in trouble”

  1. Winston Williams FCA avatar
    Winston Williams FCA

    Before condemning someone based on an assertion by someone else, I like to go the original source material, so that I can see for myself if what is asserted is correct and taken in the right context.

    Oh dear, Nick is quite right about Mr Ward. Just read the evidence Mr Ward gave on 1 February (transcript inq00001124). They condemn Mr Ward as to being an unreliable witness. Pages 173-174 are the crucial ones, in particular page 173 at lines 11-13.

    Mr Ward’s response is exactly this:-
    “No, I would not have typed over anything or deleted anything at all.” And then he continues with the damning unprompted sentence “I just know the person that I am and I wouldn’t have done that.”

    to Mr De Beer’s “ You’ve typed over it:
    “This is a really poor choice of words which seems
    to accept that failures in the system are normal and
    therefore may well support the postmasters’ claim that
    the system is to blame for losses!!!!”

    Mr Ward on those same two pages says:-
    …No, I would not have deleted anything at all.
    …I would not have typed over it or deleted it.
    …But I wouldn’t have typed over “system failure”.
    …I would not have written over or deleted anything from anybody’s statement. Absolutely not.

    For those who want to see the Youtube video of this, go to the 1st video of 1st February 2024, Graham Ward – Day 115 PM (01 February 2024) – Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiGfyMr4D6o
    at time 1:48 and in particular 1:48:50. You can read the unofficial transcript at https://postofficeinquiry.dracos.co.uk/phase-4/2024-02-01/

    Mr Ward as an unreliable witness is also demonstrated in this detail of his 1 February evidence. This example in my opinion is less clear cut than the example above, as it was prompted by a question that was looking for a “Yes” answer, that Mr Ward answers with a simple “Yes, it does.”

    The detail is in the video at 2:02:05:-2:07:54. At 2:02:44, in his witness statement at paragraph 62, last sentence, he states:-
    “I don’t personally recall being concerned that Mr Castleton’s claim posed a challenge to the integrity of the Horizon system, as I don’t recall that it was considered a significant issue at that time.” (WITN10590100)

    Then at 2:07:54, Ms Page: (quoting from FUJ00152290 that he wrote) asks Mr Ward:

    “Given this is a ‘test’ case and that the integrity of the Horizon system is being challenged, my own opinion is [X, Y and Z].

    Does that not make it clear that you understood that this was a test case challenging the integrity of the Horizon system?”

    Graham Ward: “Yes, it does.”

  2. The major parties are in my ear touting for votes at every opportunity. Promises and pledges are flying thick and fast.how about a commitment to ensure that the relevant parties at the head and shoulders of this self entitled cabal are brought to book, with the same enthusiasm that the subpostmasters were pursued.
    and just as Ms misra et al must have looked in the mirror and said “why me?”so every one of these jobsworths now being scrutinised,must also look in the mirror and ask questions about themselves.all of them.starmer, sunak, etc, many many people are anticipating your actions with regards to this enquiry and it’s conclusion, and hopefully firm recommendations.

  3. Tom stevenson avatar

    Two eminent English KCs unable to pronounce Scottish surnames this week – Colquhoun and Cockburn. Let’s hope Julie Hesmondhalgh (aka Suzanne Sercombe in Mr Bates vs the Post Office) doesn’t come up!

  4. Okay, I’ve TRIED to send you a tenner but PayPal want me to sign up and considering my old PayPal account was hacked so they can get lost. How else to send a contribution?

  5. Thank you Nick. Another fine insight into this travesty. I hope (probably against hope) that some of these conniving so and so’s get their collars felt. As more is revealed it just gets worse and worse. The level of duplicity is staggering.
    Keep up the good work, I’ve sent you a tenner – not much I know but it’s all I can do at the moment.

  6. Watching the detectives

    Oh, I get so angry when the teardrops start
    But he can’t be wounded ’cause he’s got no heart

    A deterrent?

    You did warn us about George Thompson.

    Ranting that would put Rab C Nesbitt to shame and an addiction to the Post Office.

    “There’s a funnel up his arse and a breeze between his ears. All the same I suppose his guess is as good as ours y’know? All he knows is ‘shut up and keep going’. I mean, I for one, I can’t make any philosophical advance on that. I mean, honestly – can you?”

    Aggressive and unlikeable. Trainspotting Robert Carlyle but without the humour.

    Can’t be wounded cause he’s got no heart. Or soul. Or brain capable of understanding technology.

    Could you imagine Arthur Scargill negotiating funding for the National Union of Mineworkers to compensate the union for the miners lost in the pit closure programme?

    The NUM would now be worth more than Fujitsu.

  7. Let’s dispense with the idea that GW “struck through” those incriminating words. He deleted them. Microsoft Word displays text which has been deleted (or inserted) with a horizontal line through each letter (struck through) to highlight a change has been made. The colour of the line indicates whether it’s a deletion or insertion. The line only becomes visible when Word is “told” to display tracked changes, as Mr Beer demonstrated at the enquiry. It’s a shame the major news outlets didn’t cover this exchange as a video because watching GW squirm and continue to deny any wrongdoing in the face of such undeniable evidence was box-office gold.

    1. Yes I agree, if he’d manually struck through the words in question (selected the text and Control-s for Strikethrough) then Word track changes would show this as an edit.

      From what Mr Beer was saying, track changes is showing a delete where he used the ‘delete’ key on the keyboard to remove the text in question.

      It would be good if this could be confirmed.

  8. Winston Williams FCA avatar
    Winston Williams FCA

    Nick,

    I’m surprised no-one has commented so far. I’m not sure if you moderate replies.

    But if I see this posted, I’ll know comments are posted and draft a purposeful reply.

    1. pp All members of Crozier's and Vennell's extended gang avatar
      pp All members of Crozier’s and Vennell’s extended gang

      I cannot see it, Winston.

      I cannot see anything at all !

      Or ever did ! !

  9. I watched this live. He made his intent crystal clear – there should be nothing presented to a court of law that sheds the slightest doubt about the reliability of Horizon. He didn’t ask about the issues with Horizon because he already knew it was not ‘robust’. So he knew the SPM defendants’ lawyers would be deprived of evidence they had a right to BY LAW, evidence that showed the Fujitsu software could and did produce balancing errors, evidence that would have any of the prosecutions thrown out of court. He knowingly perverted the course of justice.
    Graham is now finding out what it’s like to be investigated. He was the one under the spotlight and experiencing a little of what SPMs went through. But unlike them, he will get a fair trial before being thrown into jail, convicted by his own hand.

  10. Bloody hell I have just watched the execrable George Thomson at the Inquiry. I have seen some terrible people giving evidence but this guy was the absolute pits. If I was Julian Blake I would have jumped up and strangled him. What an ignorant, belligerent and completely thick moron. If anyone hasn’t seen it yet and wish to see a complete cretin in action then have a look at his performance but watch your blood pressure. When Sir Wyn allowed him to say something at the end, because he kept complaining he wasn’t asked the questions he wanted, he just repeated what he’d said 100 times previously – Horizon was systemically (systematically!) robust and most of the shortfalls were people stealing the money out of the safe and Horizon made 100,000 transactions a day without any problems blah, blah, blah. In the middle of his final rant everyone in the room walked out. He says his wife (I wonder what she’s like!) runs their sub-Post Office. Would he dob her in as a thief if Horizon gave her a shortfall? Probably!

  11. The Met you say. They’re not likely to want any bad apples sullying their otherwise stellar reputation. I daresay they’ve got their best guys on it already.

  12. Jamie Moreland avatar

    Go JB. Let their own testimony sink them.

  13. Very on-brand for the Met.

  14. His emails suggest that he genuinely believed that the role of the audit and investigations team was not to investigate, but to enable prosecutions whose purpose was to deter fraud.

    Where did he get this idea from? I think there was a bonus scheme? Isn’t that ‘systemic failure’?

  15. Reviewing a statement and editing the statement are two different actions. The comments about being embarrassed at court etc indicate why he removed system failure from the list of reasons for a zero transaction.
    Actually editing the statement and sending it back to Gareth Jenkins puts pressure on GJ to leave that reason out of his final statement.

    I guess at his previous appearance the inquiry covered his knowledge and training or lack of training, in case preparation. The POL culture of denial of awkward facts appears to be hard at work here.

  16. William Young avatar

    Lying under oath is straightforward perjury is it not? Surely jail time awaits?

    Jason Beer merits consideration for a career in political TV shows, taking on the type of interviews that Andrew Neil excels at. It would be comforting to know that we had a chief inquisitor of his ability to hold politicians feet to the fire.

  17. jerry williams avatar
    jerry williams

    I watched the drama unfold yesterday. towards the middlebof the session I said to myself “I bet he is thinking his retirement plans are in dire straights” . A brilliant set of questioning by Mr. Beer.

  18. David Stambrook avatar
    David Stambrook

    Brilliant!

  19. This “demolition” was, in a word – gripping. This was almost like the final minute of the final episode of a TV whodunnit. It had to Jason Beer who took us through this new evidence, such is the sense of drama that he is able to create with his forensic approach and timing(a al Sherlock Holmes?).
    Message to all POL miscreants? Don’t mess with Jason Beer!

  20. Alan Cornforth avatar
    Alan Cornforth

    Currently employed by the Police?! – Quelle surprise!

  21. I wonder what role Ward has at the Met and what skills he brings to this role?

    1. Given the Met’s reputation I feel quite sure that he’s working on the Post Office Horizon case as we speak!

  22. We must hope that it is not just the minor players like Mr Ward or the hapless incompetents like Mr Singh who end up in court. It has become clear as the Inquiry has progressed that there was a concerted effort at the very top of the Post Office organisation to prevent evidence about past unsafe prosecutions from emerging.

    For public confidence in institutions and companies to return, it is vital that those Post Office Board members who contributed to this debacle are seen to be held to account. If that means some of them ending in jail or being ruined by the legal bills that they will incur in financing their own defence, so be it. It will also send out a strong message to others who hold power and influence that high remuneration comes with high moral responsibilities.

  23. I hope your last sentence turns out to be correct.

    Didn’t the barrister for the prosecution of Seema Misra also get Jenkins to water down his witness statement?

    The whole thing is appalling

  24. It was pretty jaw dropping. What struck me was that he seemed annoyed that he had to explain his – evident – misrepresentations (i.e. lies). Unrepentant, arrogant, unapologetic, blaming others. I really hope that they nail him on perjury and perverting the course of justice charges. Him and a whole bunch of the other unsavory characters in this drama – INCLUDING some of the POL lawyers, both internal and external.

  25. Oh what a tangled web we weave !

    I think it’s starting to hit home to some of these characters now they are not facing some kind of cock-up they can get away with using some clever BS in a PO meeting. They are facing the other end of the gun they once held.

    If I am ever in trouble I want Mr Beer on my side.

  26. I wonder of by the end of the week, the Met will be his ex-employer.

    1. They’re more likely to promote him I think

  27. Nefariously proving an innocent person guilty is a crime in my book. 18 years later any claims of being a good person who treats people fairly are in fact giving a false account of how he (Mr Ward) tampered with a witness statement in his role as a proud POL ‘investigator’.

  28. He was suggesting a deletion to GJ and explaining his rationale (hidden agenda). Presumably the draft went back to GJ to consider the changes. Why did GJ acccept it? Why did GJ send it Graham Ward? Was it because it was the first of its kind and a wider view was necessary? Was it sent to the lawyers?

    1. I see many of these points were answered by GJ. He saw it all as a storm in a teacup. He wanted Ward to comment. He did not consider it to be wrong per se. It appeared to better convey what he wanted to say in actual fact, and the detail was below.

  29. If Ward is eventually prosecuted I simply can’t see how this evidence wouldn’t guarantee a guilty verdict. His defence today was sheer nonsense in the face of such evidence, which couldn’t be read by a reasonable person in any way other than he clearly meant it i.e. to delete that damning admission that Horizon did have system failures and that these were normal. His assertion that he was merely reviewing GJ’s statement and was seeking “context” and “clarification” was laughable – and totally unbelievable.

  30. Forget a level in hell reserved for these bozos, i suspect (hope) they’ll need to build a new prison wing to house POL staff and their mangy confederates at this rate.

  31. Nicholas Andrew Edwards avatar
    Nicholas Andrew Edwards

    He lied again. He didn’t “put a line through it.” He highlighted the text an pressed delete.

  32. Well done to the person or persons on the Inquiry team who made the decision to recall Mr Ward for questioning. I’ll go back to watching the football now. England’s defence proving to be as poor as Mr Ward’s!

  33. This was another masterly inquisition by Jason Beer! Was the witness really saying that Gareth Jenkins could have removed his “review” tracked changes and re-inserted the original (now deleted) text!!! Yeah, right.

  34. Keep it up Nick: this is great. Although an intellectually challenged wooden-top walks himself into the mess he’s created!!!

  35. utter contempt for this guy. I am personally ashamed as a 30yr retired cop myself (NOT the Met!)…. Caught out easily and thoroughly: jist a little irritated that Jason didn’t call him a liar!

  36. Finally, it feels like the cracks are appearing; waiting for the dam to break and the ensuing flood (wishful thinking!). Can’t wait for Gareth Jenkins, I hope he says it as it is..

    1. I watched some of GJ’s testimony today. Enlightening. Seems he was a victim of judicious (no pun intended) editing of his witness statement. All along I’ve thought he was the bad guy, seems on the face of it that he was just another person to be used and thrown under the bus. I feel quite sorry for him actually, strikes me as an honest person who just got dragged into the manure pit of Post Office’s Machiavellian bullshittery. He’s got another few days of giving evidence so things might change. Worth a watch though, it’s very revealing.

  37. Perhaps Mr. Ward should have acknowledged the obvious, and said ‘It’s a fair cop, guvnor. I’ll come quietly’? Frankly, the more he spoke, the more embarrassing his answers became.

    Presumably, he was acting under instructions? I wonder who initiated those instructions?

  38. Thanks again for all your brilliant articles and your ongoing efforts to seek justice for the subpostmasters.
    Re Ward’s response today, on a very technical issue in Ms Word and the updates to the witness statement as highlighted by Jason Beer:
    – whilst Ward claims he only drew a line through the 3rd reason about system errors, but that is not true based on the tracked changes. Had he edited this by drawing a line through this ‘strikethrough’ in Ms Word terms, then Word would have recorded this as a format change.
    – what Ward could only have done is highlight what he wanted removed and clicked on the ‘Delete’ button which is recorded as the different tracked change (Deleted by Ward …) as presented today, including the line through the deleted wording.

  39. Ward is in deep, deep trouble. If ever there was anyone caught bang to rights it’s him and he’ll be in court facing charges for sure. Or, at least, should be. He almost certainly wasn’t simply working on his own initiative. He was imposing the company line. More heads will surely roll once he gets questioned in a court room situation.

  40. Like street drug dealers, this nonentity is just the fall guy, incapable of thinking for himself. He is simply acting in accordance with the company ethos ….set by Perkins/Vennells/Lyons/van den Bogerd etc

  41. Peter Burfitt avatar

    One of many I fear. Will the others be prosecuted too ?

  42. Jason Beer discussing the word doc : “The Inquiry is in possession of material which may assist us in where the truth lies here and I want to show you that material in a moment”.
    Memorable.

  43. Another one who wrote stuff down but meant something totally different by it.

    If the ghastly people who were clearly guilty of wilful obfuscation and incompetence , Perkins, Vennells et al – dont face prosecution and jail time – then that will undoubtably be another serious miscarriage of justice.

  44. Ward was hauled back to the inquiry because he lied at his previous appearance.

    Not only is he possibly going to be charged with perverting the course of justice during the Thomas trial, but he looks likely to be charged with perjury at the inquiry.

    Interestingly, he is now an employee of the Met.

  45. It could be the first quick win by jailing a member of the Met.

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