Post Office lawyer: Postmasters are liars

A civil litigation lawyer instructed by the Post Office branded campaigning former Subpostmasters Jo Hamilton, Noel Thomas and Seema Misra “liars and criminals” whilst discussing PR strategy with his clients.

Andy Parsons from Bond Dickinson was advising the Post Office on their media response to a 2015 episode of Panorama which featured all three Subpostmasters. In an internal email to the Post Office legal team, revealed today at the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, Parsons noted that trying to argue the technical legal points around the prosecution of Jo Hamilton would not be “worthwhile” as the “man in street” would legitimately ask where the evidence of Hamilton “putting the money in her pocket” actually was. He therefore suggested going after the Subpostmasters’ credibility “by calling out Thomas, Misra and Hamilton as the liars and criminals that they are” using “punchy language”.

During his evidence Parsons did not apologise for his characterisation of Subpostmasters as “liars and criminals”. When asked how it was justifiable (given he was already fully appraised of issues concerning remote access to branch accounts and the First Clarke Advice which highlighted serious problems with Post Office prosecutions), Parsons merely conceded his language was “too strong”.

This was about as much ground as Parsons was prepared to concede over a day’s questioning at the Inquiry. He accepted there were “some points” when he was “too adversarial” in his approach towards Second Sight, the investigators hired by the Post Office to investigate Subpostmasters’ concerns. When asked by Inquiry barrister Julian Blake if he should have dialled it in a bit, he said “With hindsight, I wish that I had.”

He also noted it was a “point of regret” he did not do enough to “press” the Post Office to tell Second Sight about Fujitsu’s ability to access and change branch data in Horizon when he knew about it in 2014, an issue which might be explored more fully by barristers for the Core Participants tomorrow.

Parsons was not a man to express much regret whilst he was active on the Post Office case. When it came to correcting accounting errors caused by a Horizon bug, Parsons changed the terminology in the letters which went out to Subpostmasters. “I don’t think we should apologise”, he wrote to his colleague. “I know this sounds hard but in apologising we are admitting some degree of culpability. I think we should maintain a more cold, procedural approach.”

Lack of production

John Scott’s alleged shredding “frolic” (as Simon Clarke described it in his evidence to the Inquiry) was in mind (though not mentioned) today as Parsons’ problem with putting things in writing was explored by Julian Blake.

Though Parsons admitted it was “best practice” for the Post Office to notify its insurers about the First Clarke Advice, he expressed a concern in July 2013 “that it would look bad… if it ever became public knowledge.”
Parsons recommended that “rather than sending a formal written notification” the Post Office “verbally notifies” its insurers “so as to not leave a paper trail.”

It was Parsons’ advice during a meeting that same month to discuss Horizon issues which (via the Jarnail Singh word-mangler) led directly to Clarke’s “Shredding” Advice. Parsons addressed the meeting, telling all those present to be wary about putting things in writing. The minutes record Parsons “spoke about emails, written comms, etc … if it’s produced it’s then available for disclosure, if it’s not then technically it isn’t.”

When Blake raised this at the Inquiry today, Parsons denied telling people not to write things down, claiming the minutes gave the wrong impression.

Abusing his privilege

Blake spent much of the day trying to demonstrate to the Inquiry that throughout Parsons’ work on the Post Office account he improperly cloaked damaging information in legal and professional privilege.

The basic thrust of privilege is that lawyers can assert confidentiality over information which passes between them and their client. This is a proportional exercise based on the extent to which the information qualifies as legal advice (all of which is arguable), but the advantages can be huge.

If something is deemed privileged it doesn’t have to be disclosed (handed over to the public, your opponents or a court) – ie it can be kept secret. Privilege is regularly abused in legal circles and Blake did his best to demonstrate that Parsons was a serial abuser, citing a presentation he gave to Alice Perkins, Paula Vennells and the Project Sparrow team in 2013 which stated:

“A reminder, legal privilege = vital to success. Do not discuss any legal advice or anything to do with Subpostmaster settlements with anyone outside the post office [including] JFSA, Second Sight, Subpostmasters… the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy, Members of Parliament, even your teams, unless absolutely necessary.”

Blake wondered if this strongly-worded policy given to the very top bods at the Post Office: “was in some way responsible for a lack of information transferring within the company?”
“I don’t think anyone would have interpreted that as somehow putting a block on information being passed up to senior management”, replied Parsons.
“It says… don’t discuss any legal advice even with your own team”, replied Blake.
Parsons was unruffled: “that’s not just advice that I’m providing, that is the state of the law on legal advice privilege, which provides that legal advice privilege doesn’t extend to the entire client organisation but only those groups within the organisation who need to receive that advice.”

Could Be Disastrous

Blake took him to the example of a Post Office counter located in a branch of McColls which in April 2018 had trouble balancing due to an issue which was plainly the Post Office’s fault. The only way to fix this was by using remote access. Given the Bates v Post Office litigation was swinging its way towards trial, and the Post Office’s defence was based on the idea that remote access was not possible, this was a problem. But how to stop the truth getting out? Parsons leapt into action, telling the Post Office:

“We the legal team need to take charge of this process. Whatever documents are produced are likely to be disclosable and I would like as far as possible for this to be covered by privilege or have controlled their content.” Parsons instructed all work on the intervention stop, with all emails “past and future” sent to his colleague Jonathan Gribben. He finally demanded Fujitsu “produce for us a full and privileged note on what has happened and why there is no alternative but to edit the data”. Parsons warned “I understand that this is going to cause operational problems and risks in this branch, but if not handled properly, this could be disastrous for the group litigation.”

Blake observed this was:

“a technical issue with a branch. Not a claimant’s branch. A random branch that is affected that needs a correction, and your advice is, let’s cover this in privilege because it could be disastrous for the group litigation.

Parsons was, again, unruffled. “All of these decisions are context-specific”, he said. “We’re in the middle of a large piece of litigation, an issue has arisen that is related to one of the key issues in the litigation. I think it’s appropriate for any organisation to avail itself of legal privilege to investigate that issue.”

Parsons found it less easy to defend a privilege argument inserted into an email written by a junior employee. During the Bates v Post Office litigation, a newly-qualified lawyer called Amy Prime had drafted an email to Rodric Williams at the Post Office who was seeking advice after the Subpostmasters’ lawyers Freeths had asked for versions of the Post Office’s criminal investigation guidelines, the oldest of which dated back to 1998.

Prime asked Parsons to take a look at her draft response. He responded: “try to always spell out exactly what is required from the client, even if that is nothing” and then inserted into the email:

“For now, we’ll do what we can to avoid disclosure of these guidelines and try to do so in a way that looks legitimate. However, we are ultimately withholding a key document, and this may attract some criticism from Freeths. If you disagree with this approach, do let me know. Otherwise, we’ll adopt this approach until such time as we sense the criticism is becoming serious.”

Blake reminded Parsons this was about “guidelines that led to people’s investigation, subsequent prosecution [and] conviction.”
“No”, cavilled Parsons. “The request was for investigation guidelines in the broader sense, so it could have included any form of investigation.
“OK,” accepted Blake “So not limited to criminal prosecutions, but including investigations that led to criminal prosecutions.”
“Including investigations that led to people wrongly losing their jobs.
Yes, I guess so, if you’re going to draw that line directly.
Investigations that led to people becoming bankrupt?
And irrespective of your reference to doing so in a way that looks legitimate, you are saying that you are advising a client that you can withhold what you considered at the time to be a key document until the criticism is such that it’s becoming serious?”

Parsons admitted the email was “poorly worded”, adding a rare “I regret sending it”, but he held his ground. “Having looked at it again”, he told the Inquiry, “I believe there were legitimate grounds to not disclose those two documents at that point in time.”

Parsons built his wealth, career and reputation defending the Post Office’s ultimately indefensible case. It doesn’t look like he will be losing any sleep over it.

For sight of some stunning documents and a blow-by-blow account of what happened today, click here.

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76 responses to “Post Office lawyer: Postmasters are liars”

  1. I think Sir Wyn summed it up nicely in his closing comments on Friday:
    Thank you very much Mr Parsons….. I am very grateful…… See you next Tuesday.

  2. Chris Jackson avatar

    I take a different view. This man was far too lowly, vulnerable and insecure to be able to face his inquisitors with the suave insouciance of the top criminal silk in the land, the just former 1st Treasury Counsel. “Yes, I think with the benefit of hindsight I got that wrong. We all make mistakes, don’t you Mr Stene? Parsons needed the bottle to say “Had I advocated a different road I would also have been put on the naughty step and got rid of. ” I don’t mean to suggest that he ever thought of speaking up, I don’t know but it is clear to me that he didn’t have the status to carry that off at the Inquiry. or to PO. As criticism fodder, he is low-hanging fruit. He is no more culpable than the other lawyers and he may not have sufficient wit to have been as mendacious as some.
    Contributor Moreland {above} gets closer to the causes. The practice of the lawyers throughout the scandal was in keeping with the zeitgeist and reflective of much legal practice.

    1. Nonsense. He had plenty of opportunities to do the right thing and deliberately chose not to. He wasn’t so lowly that he couldn’t damage people’s lives forever. And also plenty of decent people leave jobs because they don’t feel easy with what they are being asked to do. He chose not to take that path.

  3. Andy Parsons returns to Mock The Weak!

  4. Oliver Harrison avatar
    Oliver Harrison

    It has been fascinating watching three people whose emails were so cocky (“punchy”) being cross examined.

    Vennells wept.
    Williams squirmed.
    Parsons rebuffed.

    All resorted to the usual tactics of blaming others and selective amnesia.

    Watching those three reminded me of the tin man, lion and scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz: one lacks brains, one lacks courage and one lacks a heart.

    I hope prosecutions follow as soon as the inquiry is completed.

  5. So much of Parson’s evidence boils down to ‘I was only following orders.’

  6. It was revealed that Mr Parsons delayed a transaction correction being applied to one Post Office because he didn’t want this to be disclosable in another legal case (maybe the GLO but I forget now). Did this cause that branch to experience incorrect accounts, and if so is there any legal implication for Mr Parsons in causing such incorrect figures to appear on their books, when it was within his power to ensure that correct figures were available to them?

  7. After 2 mins – I thought.. I don’t like this guy. Not sure if he had any legal representation in the room, but he looked across the room occasionally maybe looking for a thumbs-up. He also looked up at the screen a lot – hopefully Sir Wyn was rolling his eyes when he did! I was hoping Jason Beer was going to question him. Blake did OK, but didn’t really land any big punches. Thankfully, the CPs lawyers made him squirm.

    1. Why did it take you so long? 😉

  8. I’ve warmed to Julian Blake’s cross examination style, I wish Jason King was in front of this slime-ball though.

    1. Alan Cornforth avatar

      Jason King? That takes me back to the 60s, would have been an interesting watch seeing how Peter Wyngarde would have handled the case 😉

    2. Jason Beer KC.

      1. Oops – sorry Jason – think I must have got King from King’s Counsel.

  9. Richard Hopkins avatar
    Richard Hopkins

    Nick, if you’re reading this…

    During Parsons’ questioning, he was examined intensely over his denial to have advocated/participated in a strategy to waste time and money (and generally target Freeths and the funders during the GLO).

    I don’t recall at any point him being shown the email he wrote to Rodric Williams (which Williams *was* shown) in which Parsons writes:

    “Another funny letter from Freeths attached. My witness statement has really annoyed them [no doubt because it was 237 pages long]. This is good — the more time they waste on side correspondence the less time they are spending on important matters!”

    Parsons might argue here that the wasting of time he is referring to is a happy accident rather than the result of a deliberate strategy, but I recalled this exchange at the outset of yesterday morning when I heard his statement to the Inquiry was over 550 pages long (plus exhibits!).

  10. I noticed in this evidence, somewhere Gareth Jenkins was referred to as Doctor. Also when Alice Perkins was giving evidence, she referred to him as Doctor Jenkins, and was corrected by the barrister.
    Just wondering if the Post Office and others were told that he was a Doctor so as to give more weight and credence to his evidence on Horizon?

    1. Simon Clarke made the mistake in his advice (sometimes calling him Dr Jennings) and everyone is working from that.

  11. Parsons is an extraordinarily arrogant man without a shred of humanity or compassion and a face I’d like to punch, but he presented as a witness to the Inquiry who had been well coached and well rehearsed. However, I think we should give credit where it’s due to Inquiry Counsel, Julian Blake, because he did actually land a punch yesterday morning, even if he didn’t quite draw blood, which seems to have gone largely unnoticed.
    Mr Blake took Parsons to the minutes of a meeting where Parsons was recorded as saying, on the matter of disclosure, “If it’s produced it’s then available for disclosure, if it’s not then technically it isn’t.” In Parsons’ witness statement and in his oral evidence he took issue with the word “produced”, trying to cast doubt on the veracity of the minutes by stating he wouldn’t have used the word in this context. Mr Blake then went on to show three documents written by Parsons where he used the word “produced” in PRECISELY this context, which provoked the rather lame explanation from Parsons that he used it “occasionally”. In this exchange, Mr Blake showed Parsons to be a lying fool and had me shouting in my kitchen “Go Julian, go!”.
    Between Parsons’ typical “I don’t recall” defence and bare-faced denials in the face of contemporaneous written evidence contradicting his oral testimony, he revealed himself to be what we all now know him to be, but which I can’t name because it wouldn’t get past the moderator! His mother must be so proud.

    1. Yes. And several times without realising it Parsons used the words ‘produced or ‘produce’ in his verbal answers to questions and on each occasion it was obvious that he meant ‘create’.

      1. Exactly, I spotted that too and couldn’t help but remember Sir Walter Scott’s words: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

  12. Pam Walker MBE avatar

    he’s very pharistical, in effect saying ” lets get round the spirit of the law by perverting the letter of the law.” Not only is this a personal tragedy for the sub postmasters but very worrying for all of us, that the justice system is amoral and self serving.

    1. Today all the convictions are quashed!
      So shouldn’t there be an inquiry into why the judiciary and etc got it so wrong? And why all those judges did not smell a fish re so many accusations of PO theft etc and why they handed down prison sentences even to a woman who had to give birth in prison?
      How do that happen? This huge miscarriage of justice, only came to light because of Alan Bates and his wife – both extraordinary ordinary people ! Makes me wonder about how many other pple were wrongly judged and even hung in ‘good old days’

  13. Every time Parsons lies, obstructs or obfuscates his eyes flick up to the screen where Sir Wyn is gazing down on proceedings.

    1. I noticed that too, almost checking if Sir Wyn was paying attention and had noticed the lies he spouted!

    2. So he was looking at Sir Wyn the whole time, yes?

  14. Nick, you write elsewhere about this: “In the room, it felt like Blake barely laid a glove on him.” I disagree. I think Blake just allowed him to show himself for what he is, a self-styled ‘wartime consigliere’, with no moral conscience, or ethical standards and a very cynical selective memory. Blake did his job.

    1. I agree. I thought initially it must be a strategy but Blake’s seemingly endless use of ‘Do you recall..’ to initiate each line of questioning had the effect of conceding the upper hand to Parsons; he could then use the cover of ‘I don’t recall..’ before miraculously remembering things that helped him.
      I felt Blake needed to interrogate and use presumptive interpretation to knock Parsons off balance. But what do I know? Having said that, like or loathe, Parsons was calm and clear thinking under pressure.

    2. Richard Lilley avatar
      Richard Lilley

      I completely agree. In comparison to the sardonic amusing and quick witted Jason Beer he seems quite flat but he clearly had Parsons on the ropes and he was noticeably rattled when his misconduct and inhumanity was subtly elucidated; or he was left making absurd denials of reality. I greatly admire Nick but the view “in the room” is very rarely an accurate reading of how the evidence appears to judges and juries. See for example the astonishment at WBD at Frasers daming judgment in the CIT when he had apparently seemed sympathetic to their clients during the hearing itself.

      I think from now on Parsons will be spending time and money dealing with the SRA rather than the coining it as the expert on “Commercial disputes in the IT sector he advertises on the WBD website. How would you feel if he was handling a major case on your behalf? Like a lot of these corporate invertebrates dislodged from under their rocks he looked haunted, insecure and lost in sleepless anxiety.

  15. Another who put money before the law, can his actions in anyway be treated as fraud. Another obnoxious individual.

  16. The problem is that some of what he says is clearly technically correct – insofar as legal advice privileged is concerned, you keep the advice limited to those (usually general counsel and a couple of others) that need the advice (if memory serves correctly, this is different for litigation privilege). But he also deliberately broadens the use of privilege beyond what it can reasonably bear, and he seems unable or unwilling to recognise that. This represents a much broader concern that the SRA and possibly the Law Commission (headed by none other than Lord Justice Fraser) will have to address in light of its seeming abuse in this sorry mess.

    As for Parsons, it is fair to say that he came across as a very nasty piece of work. It seems as though he is still convinced that he has done nothing wrong, that Horizon did not erroneously lead to a vast number of miscarriages of justice, and that the SPMs deserved to be found guilty, in which case the stance taken by Lord Neuberger in his witness statement that he was “comfortable” with his recusal advice to POL will reinforce that view.

  17. I read Andy Parsons’ yesterday’s responses, following the previous day’s questioning of Robinson and Grabiner, with outrage, shock and awe. I’m not a lawyer, but the whole self-protection instinct of “privilege” had a distinct stench to it. So I checked out the iniquity exception online. There’s loads of stuff on this exception, apparently established in 1884. One example:
    You’d have thought, by now, having had time to get familiar with this exception after a mere 140 years, that the occasional lawyer might just practise the law as intended, wouldn’t you? But it seems pretty much the entire legal profession in touch with the PO just ignored it.
    Depressingly, it just reinforced, for me, the conviction that the entitled, privileged and rich just ignore the law when it’s inconvenient to themselves or their “kin”.

  18. Kirstie Jenkins avatar
    Kirstie Jenkins

    Whether or not his concealment was legal is a question for the law, but the adversarial relationship with post masters was deliberate and structural.

    Has any of this changed?

  19. If Legal Privilege can be regularly abused as is was here, then we don’t have a properly functioning Justice System, legal or civil. There could be thousands of unsafe prosecutions and civil settlements out there.
    When is the legal profession going to sit up and take note?

  20. Echoing other comments, Mr Parsons came across as a very unpleasant, unfeeling individual. Not hindered by any form of self doubt, despite not having any criminal training, he was not afraid to offer advice on any and all matters that he encountered; presumably he billed for his time when he “advised” on criminal and Comms matters – I wonder if WBD’s professional indemnity insurance covers advice given by a lawyer who is self-admittedly not competent in those matters?
    I may have missed it at the beginning – has he actually offered any form of apology for his part in this sh1tshow?

  21. Still employed by his firm, still boasting of his expertise with top firms.
    Does that make a wider point about the ethics of the whole state of the law with regard to IT systems, individuals and ethics.

    The law is so unfit for purpose, and the individuals so powerless to impact outcomes. Especially in this country, with limited ability to bring class actions. This is the tip of a bigger iceberg.

  22. At the time was he not just a newly qualified solicitor still green behind the ears? He was suddenly placed in a position of some power or importance and reveled in it every time POL come to him for his really meagre fountain of knowledge. For instance, as a civil lawyer for any cross-over questions to the criminal side he should have simply said I am not a civil lawyer please send question to Cartwright King.

    1. Exactly. How can he now parry the defence of “I’m a civil litigator and simply relied on the advice of the criminal lawyers, Cartwright King” whilst putting himself front and centre in giving advice to POL on criminal matters instead of simply demurring and deferring to CK when there was what he deemed to be a “cross-over”. He wants it all ways so long as it supports his view that he’s done nothing wrong. Utterly despicable.

  23. The big question is, when will the Law Society and other governing organisations take action against these people?

    They have seriously broken the rules about evidence and disclosure.

    To answer my own question, the answer is never, they will close ranks and protect their own.

    A Judge in Birmingham, many years ago, told a defendant in an electoral fraud case “we are not a banana republic”, sadly it turns out that he was wrong. The PO only survived this long with the connivance of the legal “profession” (and I use those quotation marks advisedly) who were prepared to break all sorts of evidential rules that would have landed any ordinary person in jail.

    Alan Bates has done this country a great service by bringing his case which has resulted in the systematic failures of our “justice” system being brought out of the shadows into the light for all to see.

    1. That’s the question, but it’s unlikely because these sessions of evidence sadly rarely break through to the mainstream/national media unless its a Vennells etc appearance. The dangerous and disingenuous practices that are revealed so well just disappear into the ether. Let’s hope Sir Wyn gives them all both barrels when he does his report and that firms start taking action about disciplining or getting rid of bad apple lawyers.

  24. Over the weeks of the inquiry I’ve felt anger, contempt, fury, disdain at various witnesses, and occasionally pity or even sympathy. But this man: nothing in my emotional repertoire seems appropriate. I think I put him in the same bag as Rodric Williams with whom I can make no connection. Neither of them seem to have had any conception that they should do the RIGHT THING at any stage. The game was the thing, and the game did not involve morals.

    1. Jamie Moreland avatar

      Unfortunately for all the victims of this tragic train wreck morals and ethics are not the same thing. Morals come from within the individual and underpin their character. Ethics are a codified represent the responsibilities of individuals and organisations is a field, industry and context. It seems when both are lacking in both individuals and organisations, it is a recipe for disaster. Especially where there is an imbalance of power.

  25. We should note that for a document to be privileged it must have been produced for the dominant purpose of either obtaining legal advice or conducting litigation. OBVIOUSLY, documents produced in the course of the PO managing its business, separate from the litigation that was underway, don’t qualify.

    This guy should be investigated for making clearly false claims of LPP

  26. This guy has got his horrible hands into everything concerning this terrible scandal. I was very disappointed that he wasn’t given the ‘self-incrimination’ warning by Sir Wyn. Does this mean he’s not one of the people under police investigation? These people at least need striking off. The attitude of lawyers has been awful – the system need complete reform. How can legal people overlook miscarriages of justice, they are a disgrace to the profession. I shall be emailing the Chair and CEO of Womble Bond Dickinson demanding they take action against Parsons – see how he likes it.

  27. Just when you think you’ve seen all the awful people involved in this scandal, another one turns up and sets the bar even higher. I’m now not even sure they needed the PR guy as adversarial PR was clearly something Parsons felt well qualified to offer advice on. I didn’t see the whole day, but did he offer any apology? Whilst we can all be cynical about these apologies, if Parsons offered nothing that would not surprise me. Yes, the rest of us are looking to draw a direct line between what you did and people being wrongly convicted. I hope the regulator has a good look at him and his firm.

  28. There’s something of the graveyard about this appalling creep.

  29. Shakespeare created Dick the Builder scandalous but wise:

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

  30. And now he’s risen to the rank of Partner, talk about law firms rewarding failure. I can’t wait to see Mr Henry and Mr Stein take him down a peg or two tomorrow…

  31. Parsons came across as a rather disturbing human being.

    Reminded me of a cross between Steve Martin as the sadistic Dentist in little shop of horrors and the Vogon commander in the Hitch Hikers Guide who inflicted physical pain through his poetry. If you’ve ever listened to Jarnail Singh you get the idea.

    Yesterday we had a Dandy who at least loved himself.

    Today we had an Andy with no love at all.

    Mind numbing, petty, bureaucratic and never questioning the fallibility of a computer system being used to prosecute, bankrupt and imprison sub post masters.

    The contrast between a Dandy with a head the size of a planet and an Andy with the heart and soul of a Vogon.

    Vogons by the way are an easily recognisable satire of middle-management culture and bureaucracy. Douglas Adams must have had the Post Office in mind.

    Parsons a Vogon poet but doesn’t know it. Painful to listen to. An alien terminator of human compassion and hope. And justice.

    The terms liar and criminal could come back to haunt him.

  32. Alan Cornforth avatar

    You could tell that Julian Blake wanted to let rip at this odious man but had to hold back. I really can’t wait for the core participants lawyers questions tomorrow afternoon when, hopefully, the gloves will be off!

  33. And POL’s lead trumpeter, blowing the loud and obnoxious “all subpostmasters are guilty of falsehood” note, finally reveals himself. May his own lies and criminal behaviour now resonate to deal his legal career a crushing blow..

  34. I suppose Parsons’ evidence today shouldn’t be too much of a surprise given the thrust of his advice to Post Office over the years appears to have been ‘Admit nothing until you absolutely have to’

    His ridiculous semantic contortions over his use of the word ‘produced’ was delicious on its unravelling when presented with numerous emails where he had used the exact term he was denying.

    Given his counsel to the PO was that they shouldn’t commit information to a format that might make it disclosable, Parsons appears to have failed to heed his own advice and committed some pretty dreadful stuff to writing – although he possibly felt he would be able to hide behind Legal Privilege!!

  35. Even if Parsons survives a SRA investigation and being kicked out of his law firm, he’s going to be damaged goods forever. Why would a client instruct him when the lawyer for the other side knowing his reputation is a lot more likely to demand disclosure, increasing the client’s costs?

    1. To the contrary, he’s a partner now at that very same firm. They actively reward this kind of behavior

    2. I’d love to think you’re right, but I have this very awful fear that not only has his despicable and amoral practise of the law not harmed his future prospects, but may have actually enhanced them. I’m sure there are other large organisations out there who would be very happy with his “win at all costs” attitude – if only because they would rather have him on their side than their opponents’.

  36. I think the comments already so well expressed here by others accurately mirror my own view of today’s proceedings and of Parsons. I thought that after watching so much if the inquiry and reading Nick’s excellent summaries that I had developed some immunity to being shocked. Not so it seems!

  37. It left me shocked and stunned. I can’t believe that man did not have any care or concern for the people whose lives had been ruined. He seemed to take pride in his ability to bleed them dry.

    For me he is the most culpable witness I have watched so far.

    1. Yes – rather than the ‘I don’t remember or I’m a bit stupid’ approach to questions – Parsons seems very pleased with himself – and happy to share what a nasty and awkward approach he took to a group of innocent people who he did everything he could to stop them accessing information that would have cleared their names – years earlier – no doubt some clients will think this is exactly the sort of Solicitor I want working for me

  38. Mark O'meara avatar
    Mark O’meara

    There was also an illuminating discussion of Parsons advising the Post Office (a) not to minute things, so that they could not be disclosable; and (b) to advise their insurers verbally, rather than in writing, about Horizon issues – “so as not to leave a paper trail”.
    I’m surprised that he gave the appearance of being so confident. If I were him, I’d be worried.

    1. His “mistake” was to write down the advice to not write anything down.

  39. Gabrielle Rose avatar
    Gabrielle Rose

    Hi Nick,
    A truly shocking day at the inquiry – but great to watch Julian Blake in action against Andy Parsons. I did get so enraged I wondered whether to take an extra Blood Pressure pill! He (Parsons) will have to go top of my list for a jail sentence.
    Regards, Gabrielle

    1. Yes he was awful….
      A cynical liar on behalf of his client and added to peoples misery.
      i dont think this has helped his career with WBD..

      1. Haha, Tim. You obviously don’t grasp the Wombles’ cultcha.

      2. Not so sure – he probably demonstrated all the attributes required by WBD.

      3. He’s a partner there, so clearly they endorse his tactics. Disgusting

  40. The coolest performer under inquiry questioning that I’ve watched to date. Emotionally dead and devoid of any regret for what he’s made a massive contribution towards ie the numerous lives and careers destroyed.

    1. Absolutely disgusting “man”. Not one iota of regret for the suffering he brought onto my fellow SPMRs. Greedy man openly raking in public money for his own gain, no conscience, no soul, no emotion. He is the worst yet at the inquiry. May he rot in prison, please, please. There must be retribution, justice, appropriate sentencing

    2. Yes a total piece of work this guy, a psychopath for sure. He should go far in the legal world!

  41. This f’n guy…. what an absolute weasel

  42. Diane Stephenson avatar
    Diane Stephenson

    I noticed on one of the documents brought up on screen that the first sentence he’d written included something like “we’ve managed to squeeze more money out of PO, £110k & VAT. Hope the lot of them are investigated, horrible man

    1. Yes he worked out a long time ago how to milk the PO….
      i believe they charged circa £30m over the duration…and got away with it..

  43. What a smarmy git today, hope the SRA are watching the inquiry. Also hope he gets ths smirk wiped off his face tomorrow.

    1. I only watched a few minutes of the live stream coverage on YouTube but do recall Parsons telling Mr Blake that he (Parsons) was not a criminal lawyer. That resulted in me rising to my feet and shouting a “So if you are not a criminal lawyer how can you justify labelling subpostmasters as criminals in that email?” At my TV screen. I can only hope that his performance at the Inquiry will prevent potential clients from instructing him

      1. patsie bletzer avatar

        On the contrary, if I was guilty as sin he’d be my first choice…..justice is seldom about the truth , more often than not it is about inscrutable legalise.

      2. Kirstie Jenkins avatar
        Kirstie Jenkins

        I would hope that the long term impact of his advice on the post office would prevent future clients from instructing him!

  44. What an absolute piece of work this lawyer is. Todays’ evidence sessions clearly show Parsons to be one of the chief architects of the Post Office’s ‘divide and rule’, ‘let’s grind down and destroy the opposition’ strategy. A Machiavellian schemer of the worst kind.

  45. Katharine O'Connor avatar
    Katharine O’Connor

    I know myself at all times to be top of the game …. How could I be anything other?

    Genuinely no insight I think.

    An expert on anything and everything… but always of course context specific m’lud

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