Tara and Parmod clear their names
Teju (Tara) Adedayo and Parmod Kalia are two very special people. I had not met either of them before the first Bates v Post Office High Court trial in 2018.
Around the rather muted (dull) environs of the Rolls Buildings courts Tara was fun to be around. She often brought her wonderful daughters to witness proceedings and she continually livened up the place with her chatty and vivacious personality.
I was always trying to get her to do an interview but she steadfastly refused. She hated having her picture taken and she did not want to speak to any journalist on the record.
Parmod was a different kettle of fish – a quiet man who so often seemed lost in his thoughts. The story he told was so horrendous I begged him to let me tell it. He consented, but only under an assumed name. He is the Parvinder I wrote about on the first day of the trial (click here and scroll to the bottom).
I chatted to both Parmod and Tara yesterday about their willingness to go on the record if their names were cleared. Tara wasn’t sure – she wasn’t going to bring her daughters to court on this occasion because she was worried about the cameras and she didn’t know how she was going to react, so she wouldn’t confirm if she would speak.
Parmod was more sure. We’ve been in touch for a while now, and as well as speaking to me on that first day in court he very kindly also agreed to be interviewed (as “Peter”) by Vanessa Feltz for BBC London. I was in the studio for his first interview with Vanessa. It was heartbreaking hearing what such a gentle man had been through, in his own words.
Parmod told me when his name was cleared I could photograph him and tell everyone his name.
In the event both Parmod and Tara spoke to reporters outside court. For the full story click here. They also spoke to ITV London this evening, and did so very well.
It made me realise how privileged I am to meet so many amazing people and to be the only journalist to have been present in court to hear every one of the overturned Subpostmaster convictions so far.
I am going to try to get to as many as I can in future. I think it’s important to mark these occasions for the record.
For more write-ups of this story here it is:
– in Convenience Shopper
– in Computer Weekly
The indomitable Jo
Jo Hamilton (pictured above) travelled up from the shires today to lend her support to the appellants. Jo was the Hamilton in Hamilton and others v Post Office who won such a stunning victory at the Court of Appeal on 23 April.
Jo and Tara became friends during the High Court trial and Jo was gutted when the Criminal Cases Review Commission initially knocked back Tara’s application.
It was great to have a chat with Jo and also delightful to see the barristers Kathleen Donnelly and Ognjen Miletic turn up in their civvies (see the website photo). Both Kathleen and Ognjen (“Oggy” as he is known to everyone) were junior counsel to Patrick Green QC for the claimants in Bates vs Post Office.
There have been a number of formidable people working their legal magic for the Subpostmasters down the years – Kathleen and Oggy made part of a superb team.
Today was one of those days when legal aces can mark the right result, journalists can gather to natter and make contacts, and supporters come to offer words of encouragement and delight. But it still doesn’t take away the pain from those who suffered in the way that Parmod and Teju did, nor will a quashed conviction give back the years of mental anguish, ruined career prospects and broken families that these prosecutions have brought to so many lives. I’m grateful to Tara and Parmod for speaking to us today, and I’m really honoured to know them both.
Rev Richard Writes
The Revered Richard Coles, he off of The Communards, Church of England and Radio 4 is a wonderful man. He has been deeply moved by the plight of the Subpostmasters. Although we’ve never met or spoken, we’ve messaged each other on and off over the years and he has mobilised his vast social media following to draw attention to the campaigning Subpostmasters’ cause time and time again, completely unbidden. The Rev Coles has written a perceptive piece for Computer Weekly magazine, which I urge you to read if you have a chance.
If you get a chance, do buy a copy of Private Eye Magazine this week – there’s quite a bit on the Post Office Horizon Scandal – including several letters, one of which wonders where Paula Vennells has got to, which I hope explains the picture above.
Post Office Trial
When I first started crowdfunding for the www.postofficetrial.com website, back in August 2018, I did so because I wanted to create a resource. I knew the Bates v Post Office litigation would throw up fascinating documents which, if I were around to ask for them, could be put into the public domain. It was my intention to use the kind donations of private individuals to fund this freely-available archive. The secret email list was an unintentional spin-off.
As this story has hit the mainstream in recent weeks I have been taken by the number of journalists who have expressed their delight to me at finding a resource like the Post Office Trial website.
It gives them confidence to dig into all the elements of this story and use the information, transcripts and documents as a springboard for going deeper into this scandal.
Post Office Trial simply would not exist without you and your donations. You can take great pride in having helped create something which I hope will make a difference to the future reporting of this scandal.
I am delighted to say that thanks to the kind efforts of a secret emailer, the website has been accepted into the British Library archive where historians and academics can dig into it long after we’re all dead.
On that cheery, er, note, I’m off. Do keep in your thoughts those Subpostmasters who are either adjusting to life as people who no longer have criminal convictions, or those who are preparing to go to court, once more, against the Post Office.
By the way, if anyone has any suggestions for what we should call Episode 11 of the Great Post Office Trial (which I am putting together with Bob off of Whistledown right now), please reply to this email with your idea. If you do suggest something we end up using I am afraid all you will get in return is an email of thanks and a bottle of champagne.
I am holding out for One Louder, but I appreciate that only works for a more select number of people.
Have a good weekend.