South Western trains will not defeat me again
Morning secret emailers!
It’s 7.30am at the time of writing and I am at the Pret at the end of Rolls Buildings 3 hours early for the morning session of Day 8 of Bates v Post Office in Court 26. I’m not going to get caught out by the trains like I did yesterday. Oh no, sirree.
Today’s secret email has access to important documents, another plug for my piece calling out the NFSP and a specific plea for claimants to come forward for to be featured in a national news piece (slap bang in the middle of a digression about trains, the weather and generous friends). Read on…
1) Witness Statements
Here are your links to the Witness Statements of the following Post Office employees who were in the witness box on Day 7 of this trial (yesterday):
I have a backlog of documents and witness statements that I simply have not had time to scan and post up, but I thought it would be useful to get Mrs van den Bogerd’s up whilst she is still in the witness box, given there is a huge amount of interest in what she has to say.
Court is not sitting on Friday, but I intend to make it a full #postofficetrial day – ordering, posting and properly categorising the documents that have come into my possession over the last three weeks and generally tidying things up. Expect a secret email and at least one formal blog email, therefore, on every working day this week.
2) NFSP article
I wonder if I could put in another plug for my piece on the NFSP. I think one of the reasons so many Subpostmasters have been sacked, suspended and even prosecuted down the years is the lack of decent representation. Please share this article if you can. I’d like to get some traction on it.
So many times, when telling this story to fellow journalists and legal professionals I get asked “where are the unions?”, and I have to explain the craven story of the NFSP. I am aware the CWU are doing things to help Subpostmasters and they seem to be offering proper representation, but the Post Office refuses to recognise the CWU, so the NFSP remain in a position of primacy, propped up by the patronage of the Post Office – not the members it is meant to represent.
3) Plea for claimants
It’s proper cold today innt it?
I’m here drinking my decaf soy Americano (I know) in Pret early for a number of reasons. Firstly I don’t trust the trains – I got on one of the few services out of Waterloo yesterday afternoon and I wasn’t sure they would have put the pieces back together again in time for this morning’s rush hour. They did get it sorted, but everybody else had the same idea as me. The normally quiet 0618 out of Walton-on-Thames was standing room only.
I’m also early because I have been given a wee task by a journalist working for a national news organisation which involves finding some claimant Subpostmasters who might want to give an interview. My contact is particularly interested in any claimant who was prosecuted – possibly imprisoned, possibly given a criminal conviction, or had the charges dropped.
If you fit the bill and you’re willing to go on the record, have your photograph taken and spend a bit of time (half and hour?) talking to my contact, please reply to this email. I’m particularly interested if your story hasn’t been told properly before.
To be absolutely explicit – nothing you say will influence the trial. This would be very different if we were were in the middle of a jury trial, but we’re not. Judges are not influenced by the media – they’re supposed to be above all that. This judge, like all judges sitting without a jury, will make decisions based on the evidence they are presented in court, not on newspaper articles or TV broadcasts.
Just hit reply to this email if you want to do this.
The other reason I’m early is because I’m meeting a friend who donated very generously to the kickstarter simply because he is a nice person. He is coming along to this morning’s proceedings to see what all the fuss is about.
I regularly thank the people who have an interest in this trial for their financial backing (and without you I would not be doing this), but I am also very grateful to the friends, many of whom I haven’t seen in months, who donated large sums of money to the kickstarter campaign simply because they wanted to support public-interest journalism. Without them I would not be here, either. So thank you all.
Incidentally, I have contacted the NFSP for their response to my piece, and I have also asked the Post Office to comment in general on the trial – or even have Paula Vennells write a piece for the postofficetrial.com website to give the Post Office’s perspective. It would be an interesting read.
Live tweets will start from Court 26 of the Rolls Building at 10.30am today. Angela van den Bogerd’s cross-examination is expected to last all day. You will get a compendium of the live tweets via email within an hour of today’s proceedings finishing, then I will work on a write up, here in this Pret, powered by more decaf Americano, with a view to getting the finished report to you by 8pm.
Have yourselves a fun day, secret email team.