CCRC, File on 4, Parliament, Legal Aid, Petition – it’s all go here…
Hello secret emailers
I’ve actually updated the blog with a bit of exclusive information – the Criminal Cases Review Commission are now dealing with 56 cases of former Subpostmasters or Post Office workers who are claiming they are victims of miscarriages of justice.
This late flurry suggests there may be people with criminal convictions who had no idea about the Justice for Subpostmasters campaign or the litigation until now. I wonder how many more there might be. And more pertinently, how the CCRC might deal with them. I discuss this and the process of going from the CCRC to the Court of Appeal on the website. Do have a read if you have a moment. After all – you paid for it.
File on 4
We are now a week away from the broadcast of a File on 4 special into the recent scandal. I have had a look at a draft script and I think it could be a very powerful piece. The team of BBC journalists I have been working with are top drawer and if you can make a note to tune in to BBC Radio 4 next Tuesday 11 Feb, we would all be delighted. If you think you’ve heard everything in this story, you might be surprised. Secret emailers and recent litigants Lee Castleton and Tracy Felstead very kindly agreed to be interviewed for the programme. This will be the first time their stories have been told in this way and it is a gripping and at times harrowing listen. I will post you the iplayer link to the investigation in the next secret email.
Karl Flinders at Computer Weekly has been doing some incredible work on this story over January. It’s hard to pick the best stuff out, but if you don’t have time to read his entire ouevre, I would thoroughly recommend the profile of Alan Bates, (pictured right) founder of the Justice for Subpostmasters’ Alliance and lead claimant in the recent litigation. Alan is not one for the limelight, but his dogged determination to hold the Post Office to account deserves marking, and Karl captures the epic nature of his fight in considerable detail.
Another person who deserves some recogition is litigation claimant Chris Head who has taken it upon himself to set up and publicise a petition demanding a full judge-led inquiry into the Post Office scandal. Chris has led a masterful twitter campaign to get 3,475 people to sign up. If you haven’t seen the petition and wish to add your name, you can do so here.
Alan Bates has been told he is not going to be able to invoice the government for the claimants’ legal fees in the recent litigation. In her letter, Kelly Tolhurst, the Postal Services Minister also gave no indication she was minded to set up any sort of inquiry.
If I were a betting man, I would say the next significant movement at the Houses of Parliament will be the announcement of a select committee inquiry (this is organised and run by backbenchers, rather than the government) into what on earth the Post Office thought it was doing deciding to sabotage its own mediation scheme (back in 2015) and then aggressively litigating a case it lost so comprehensively. I don’t have any particular inside information on this, but I know that Kevan Jones MP is particularly keen to get moving on this and he told me he intends to lobby Rachel Reeves now she has been re-elected as chair of the BEIS select committee.
Thanks and apologies
Thanks to all those who continue to support this blog and the still-growing ranks of secret emailers. I am sorry if you have had difficulty donating via the paypal button at the bottom of this email – it is a moody, temperamental bit of code. Sometimes it sends you through to the right page, other times it dumps onto a generic paypal page with no clues as to what you are meant to do next and no way of donating. This is not an efficient way to run any business. I will try to find the time to sort it all out, perhaps by changing tip jar platforms completely.
Today is the first day this year I have delved into the coffers to put together the CCRC piece and keep you updated here. I’m trying to do as much as I can in my own time to eke out the cash left in the pot.
Trouble is, my own time is now rapidly being filled by another project. I’ve set up a website dedicated to the dark happening at money son’s primary school. If you have friends in education, do forward them this link:
I spent quite a bit of time over December and January trying to get to the bottom of why a much-loved head teacher left suddenly, at the beginning of the academic year, under a cloud. It’s pretty grim reading.
I mentioned last week I’d had a chat with Stephen Lewis, secret emailer and partner of the legal firm Ward Hadaway. Stephen’s firm has now set up an email address for people looking for advice and representation as they continue to seek redress for what has happened to them.
I will put Stephen’s details up on the Post Office Trial website when I have a moment, but here is a snippet of what he has to say:
“We are one of the largest law firms in the UK. Our highly – experienced team of lawyers will help you get the right level of compensation. Not just the level that the Post Office want you to accept.
“If you believe you have suffered losses due to Horizon, please contact us at Ward Hadaway to discuss how we can pursue your claim on a “No Win – No Fee” basis, at no financial risk to you.
“E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0330 137 3334”
Please be advised I am NOT recommending Stephen. I just had a chat with him and he seems both knowledgeable and approachable, but he may not be able to provide the sort of assistance you are seeking.
To reiterate, other law firms are available. If any lawyers are reading this (and I know since the recusal fireworks the secret email list has picked up a fair few!) – I am happy to share your details here or on the www.postofficetrial.com website.
The link to 20 Jan’s BBC Inside Out South ten minute film on the Post Office trial is still up on the BBC iplayer here, and I would thoroughly recommend a subscription to Private Eye, if you can afford £34 a year. There is much to come on the Post Office story over the next few weeks, and I have a feeling that particular magazine will have a lot to say about it.