Second Sight tell it straight

Ron Warmington (l) and Ian Henderson after giving evidence on Tuesday

“Good luck” said a reporter as Ron Warmington headed into Aldwych House. Warmington wheeled round. “Don’t need bloody luck”, he grinned. “I’ve been waiting twelve years for this.”

Indeed he has. In 2012 forensic accountants Ron Warmington and Ian Henderson were invited by MPs, the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA) and the Post Office to investigate Subpostmaster complaints surrounding the Horizon IT system. They were contracted to the Post Office via Warmington’s consultancy vehicle Second Sight. Second Sight’s seminal Interim Report, produced in July 2013, drew attention to serious problems at the Post Office, noting three bugs with the Horizon IT system, failures in business processes and an established “asset-recovery or prosecution bias” amongst the Post Office’s in-house audit and investigation staff who “fail to seek the root cause of reported problems”.

On Tuesday the circumstances surrounding the production of the Interim Report and the totality of Second Sight’s work at the Post Office between 2012 and 2015 was explored at the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry with Jason Beer KC.

In response to Beer’s question as to why Second Sight was put forward by the Post Office for approval by MPs and the JFSA, Warmington exclaimed “we were cheap!”

There is more to it than that – we know that James Arbuthnot (then Jo Hamilton’s MP) did not want one of the big four accountancy firms to investigate (though Deloitte was considered by the Post Office), and of course, Ron and Ian had the right professional credentials, but cost was certainly a significant factor.

The horrors within

Within days of Ian Henderson setting up a mini-office within the Post Office’s legal department he found serious problems. The first case file he pulled down was Jo Hamilton’s. In it he found Post Office investigator Graham Brander’s report, which stated:

“Having analysed the Horizon printouts and accounting documentation I was unable to find any evidence of theft or that the cash figures had been deliberately inflated.”

Within days of Brander filing his report, Jo Hamilton was charged with theft and false accounting.

Henderson told Beer he considered Brander’s finding “quite an astonishing statement in the context of what [Jo] was charged with”. In his view it was “exculpatory evidence that had not been disclosed to Mrs Hamilton or her legal team.”

The pushback from the Post Office was immediate. Warmington told the Inquiry ‘as soon as Ian came to me and said, “Look what I’ve found, I’m finding some really odd stuff in these legal files’,” the Post Office’s stated intention to “be transparent” began to cloud.

The departure of Susan Crichton in September 2013 hastened the Post Office’s slide towards adversarial denial.

Ian Henderson told Beer of being threatened by her replacement as General Counsel, Chris Aujard. According to Henderson’s witness statement Aujard “warned me to be careful about what I said. He told me that if I said anything that harmed the Post Office, [it] would not hesitate to take legal action against me under the terms of my Non-Disclosure Agreement and that I would not be able to afford the legal fees.”

Henderson wrote “I took this as a thinly veiled threat to bankrupt me if I continued causing trouble.”

Beer asked Henderson more about this on Tuesday. Henderson described Aujard (who has already given evidence to the Inquiry) as a “frankly somewhat aggressive lawyer” which was “reflected in the way that he dealt with Second Sight”. Henderson told Beer that Aujard “was obviously concerned about some of the things that I was saying or raising in working group meetings, and yeah, I remember this [threat]. I thought it was inappropriate.”

Beer harked back to an earlier comment in his witness statement that at the start of their investigation, both Second Sight and the Post Office had a shared desire to “seek the truth, irrespective of circumstances”.

“I think we’d moved on from that”, replied Henderson, drily, to laughter in the room.

The rather obvious problem

Warmington told the Inquiry he warned Susan Crichton about potential miscarriages of justice and the failures of the Post Office investigators as soon as he became aware of it in 2012. Crichton commissioned a report by Warmington on the Post Office’s investigation function, which got its first public airing when Chris Aujard gave evidence (see “enemy of the business“). Today the Inquiry focused on the what Warmington said to Crichton about the safety of the Post Office’s prosecutions. In his Witness Statement Ron Warmington wrote:

“During a meeting with her I said that, whereas I was confident that Second Sight had the ability to assess the adequacy of evidence in cases of suspected fraud and financial theft, we were Forensic Accountants, not lawyers experienced in criminal prosecutions or defence, so it was essential that our findings be quickly, thoroughly and independently either ratified or refuted by a competent barrister experienced in criminal cases. Susan who, like practically every other General Counsel that I had ever met, claimed no expertise herself in matters of criminal prosecution, said that she would take the matter to Cartwright King.”

Cartwright King were, of course, the legal firm who had been carrying out prosecutions on behalf of the Post Office. Warmington continued:

“I remember very clearly that I laughed out loud at that, to my mind, simply preposterous suggestion and responded by saying that Cartwright King would, in my opinion, be an entirely unsuitable choice, because they could not ever be viewed as independent and they would, in effect, then be `marking their own homework’. I recommended instead that she go to a higher-ranking firm and suggested some names. I was astonished at Susan’s response which was along the lines of: “that won’t work, the Board won’t approve that sort of expense”. I responded with words along the lines of “Well then, you’re all fucking* mad… this is an extraordinarily important issue, why is cost in any way relevant?”.

Beer wanted to know why Second Sight’s verbally expressed concerns didn’t find their way into their Interim Report in July 2013. It’s a good question. Warmington replied that the Interim Report:

“was produced in order to just come out with something that evidenced the work that was going on, and had gone on, and it wasn’t intended to cover all of the issues that were still open. My view on this was: Toddle off, get the independent view and have the decency to share it with us.”

Warmington agreed “with the benefit of hindsight” his and Henderson’s “embryonic or as-yet-unconcluded thoughts” about miscarriages of justice “could have been dumped out in the Interim Report, but we didn’t.”

As we now know, the Interim Report led to the First Clarke Advice which prompted a review (by Cartwright King) of all Post Office prosecutions after 2010. This was so inept neither Cartwright King, nor Brian Altman KC (brought in to mark Cartwright King’s homework) felt that Seema Misra should be told that the credibility of a Post Office expert witness (Fujitsu’s Gareth Jenkins) who gave evidence during her trial was “fatally undermined” due to Jenkins’ failure to disclose crucial information which undermined the Post Office’s case.

No systemic issues

From listening to the evidence of the Post Office executives earlier in this phase of the Inquiry and Second Sight’s evidence on Tuesday it does seem as if the Interim Report was delivered mainly to give the MPs something to show for Second Sight’s twelve months of work.

As far as the authors were concerned, this was a working document and their job was nowhere near finished (the clue is in the title). Nonetheless, the Post Office glommed on to one Interim Report conclusion and waved it around in everyone’s faces for years. The line was:

“We have so far found no evidence of system wide (systemic) problems with the Horizon software.”

This, in the Post Office’s hands, became the mantra: “no systemic problems/issues with Horizon”. During her three days of giving evidence, former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells agreed the Post Office had used variations on this phrase to convince themselves and others that there were, er, no systemic problems with Horizon. When asked, she was completely unable to define what systemic meant. She also admitted no steps had been taken within the Post Office to define what systemic meant, which effectively renders the mantra meaningless. Second Sight must also take their share of responsibility for this.

Beer raised it with first with Henderson. When he was asked about the use of “systemic” in both Second Sight’s terms of reference and their Interim Report, Henderson said:

“I was using the Oxford English Dictionary of systemic, in other words of the whole system: system-wide. Alan [Bates],
I think, saw “systemic” as caused by the system, which is a much narrower definition and it certainly had the potential to cause confusion.”
Beer wondered if any attempt was made by the Post Office, Second Sight, the JFSA or MPs was made to define what systemic meant?
Henderson replied: “Not that I can recall.”
Beer asked: “Was the effect of the use of word “systemic” or the phrase “systemic issues”… to allow the focus to be on the fact that there were no system-wide issues with Horizon, thus diverting attention or focus away from bugs, errors and defects which did exist?”
Henderson replied: “I think that was how it was used by Post Office. I do recall various press releases, and so on, that trumpeted the fact that Post Office claimed that we had said that we had found no systemic or system-wide issues with the Horizon system, which was, of course, not what we said at all.”

Henderson told Beer he was disappointed with the way the word was jumped on by the Post Office. “I felt it was probably somewhat misleading. It was not a phrase that we would have chosen, even though we did adopt it and use it in our report. It was widely misunderstood and was not clear communication.”

When Beer took Warmington to the fateful line in his report, Beer raised another anomaly – namely how on earth Second Sight could have come to any conclusion about system-wide issues from the source material they were looking at. Beer asked: “On the investigation of how many cases was that preliminary conclusion formed?”

Warmington replied: “I think it was about 50… 49… something like that. We had, I think, 29 cases from the MPs, 18 from the JFSA, that’s 47 by my counting. So I think it was based on those. But, of course, we’d narrowed that down. We had to, because we — investigating 49 cases right across the detail wasn’t feasible, so that’s where I think Ian came up with… what we called spot reviews: just focus on events within a case and dig into those.”

There were four published “spot review” cases at the back of the Interim Report.

“Is it right, therefore,” asked Beer, “that that conclusion [ie no evidence of systemic problems] is based ultimately on the examination of four cases?”

It did sound ridiculous. Warmington replied: “I think, by that point, we had about… we had 20-something spot reviews but only four of them had really been bottomed out and, even then, one of them was Spot Review 5, the Rudkin matter, which hadn’t been bottomed out. So there were still lots of unanswered questions as we wrote this.”

“So” continued Beer, “that preliminary conclusion was reached on the basis of the four cases that had been investigated… one of which was still incomplete?”
“Yes” replied Warmington.
“Do you think, on reflection, that ought to have been made clearer… so that it might not be misused or misappropriated by others for a different purpose?” asked Beer.
“Well, with the benefits of hindsight, absolutely”, Warmington replied. “I wish we’d said that. I think Ian mentioned earlier, it would have been probably better if we’d spelled out exactly what we meant by “systemic”. We didn’t use the word by accident and a considerable amount of thought and discussion went into the word we used there. But, with the benefit of hindsight, Post Office pounced on it and, as Ian said, trumpeted it from the rooftops, and Alan [Bates] had warned us that that would happen…. Sir Alan, as we all know, is pretty astute, and I think he foresaw better than I did the danger of this.”

Ian Henderson doing an interview with C4 News’ Alex Thomson minutes after finishing his evidence. Note BBC News’ Emma Simpson in the background preparing for her One O’Clock News live

Eleven years on, Warmington got to the nub of it:

“Systemic, to us, meant that this was something that was occurring right through the network of the 12,000-odd branches, and, had there been such systemic bugs, they would have been glaringly obvious to quite a lot of the people. That was the opposite of what we’d found. What we found was that the… bugs or other forms of error and defect that were manifesting themselves were unusual, were rare, but had life-changing impact on those that the bugs hit, but
were inconsequential in the context of the entirety of the system.”

Warmington admitted that his use of the word systemic at the time of his work at the Post Office was “a little bit muddle headed”. He told Beer “I wish we’d never used it, you know. We did, we used it advisedly, we gave it a lot of thought but it led to such abuse that I wish we’d used a different form of words.”

Love in the room, news outside it

The inquiry hearing room was more-or-less full on Tuesday. Many Subpostmasters had travelled many miles to show their support for Ron and Ian, including Deirdre and Darius Connolly, who had flown in from Belfast, Nichola and Steve Arch who had come up from Gloucestershire with Wendy Buffrey. There was a good media turnout, too, reflected in the number of news reports covering Ron and Ian’s testimony.

The Metro put Second Sight front and centre today (see pic). The piece’s online headline is “Forensic accountants sacked by Post Office for ‘getting too close to the truth’

The Law Gazette picked up on the Post Office’s reaction to Second Sight’s concerns over the Brander report – citing Henderson’s feeling the Post Office lawyers were potentially conspiring to pervert the course of justice in attempting to suppress it.

The Guardian focused on Ian Henderson’s interactions with Paula Vennells and his observation the Post Office was “constantly sabotaging” Second Sight’s efforts.

Swinson speaks!

Ron Warmington and Jo Swinson on the Newsnight set

Ron Warmington’s evening finished very late, sitting on the Newsnight sofa with former Post Office minister Jo Swinson, who was giving her first ever (to my knowledge) broadcast interview about the scandal. Former Subpostmaster Chris Head has clipped out the discussion here. Right at the very end of the interview Warmington asks Swinson why on earth he was not brought into Swinson’s office to explain Second Sight’s conclusions in their final, suppressed 2015 report.

Swinson flannelled:

“This is a very good question… the 2015 report which, incidentally, I had to fight to have government allowed to receive a copy… that to me seemed bizarrre… that copy will have been received as I was leaving office. I don’t know whether my successor was given that report or whatever, but I mean, the officials in the department ought to have been reading that report and I don’t understand how that cannot have raised alarm bells in terms of the content of that report. That to me is one of these mysteries as why that was not seen to be something which needed to be investigated.”

I hope the inquiry pushes Swinson further on this when she gives evidence on Friday 19 July. Why didn’t she call Warmington and Henderson in to explain to her what was going on? She knew their report was controversial. Did she read it? Did she leave instructions to her officials? We all know what happens when matters get left to the mandarins…

If you’d like to read a blow-by-blow account of the day’s evidence with all sorts of interesting documents – click here.

* in the published version of Warmington’s witness statement this expletive was redacted. Beer noted, to laughter in the room, it had been “caught by our data protection machine”. I can exclusively confirm the word used above is correct, because I have seen an unredacted version of Ron’s witness statement.

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50 responses to “Second Sight tell it straight”

  1. As I watched some of this, I thought of how, as the inquiry proceeds, Susan Crichton’s stock rises and Nick Aujard’s falls. This process accelerated during Thursday’s session with the admirable Kay Linnell. I would like to hear Jason Beer ask Vennells and Perkins the following question: “was Susan Crichton’s POL career-ending mistake to assume that when you asked her to instigate a fair and proper mediation scheme that you actually meant it?”

  2. Ian Henderson avatar

    As a former member of NITAT I came across lots of “Walts”…

  3. Ian Henderson avatar

    Correct. I served with 23 SAS Regt TAVR 50 years ago. I was awarded my parachute wings on the same day as King Charles at RAF Abingdon in July 1971.

  4. I encountered the same problem when clicking the link on my phone, but was able to donate without a Paypal account when i used my laptop. Hope that helps!

  5. I think Gareth Jenkins may end up owing a vote of thanks to these two.

    He has been portrayed as the Anti-Christ so far. Ian and Ron actually had good words to say about him.

    I know GJ comes up soon, I guess his defence will continue (as his legal eagles in the inquiry have continually stressed) to include the PO didn’t bother telling him he was an Expert Witness or what his duties under that title were, maybe get Jarnail Singh back in to help with that one.

    1. Seems to me, GJ was selected as a corporate malfeasance patsy very early on in this. The brand police at Fujitsu and POL carefully rewrote and manipulated his evidence while GJ got on with his day job.

  6. Mark O'meara avatar
    Mark O’meara

    A few thoughts from the sessions with Ian Henderson and Ron Warmington:-
    1) It was refreshing to see witnesses who had not suffered memory loss.
    2) We see that it was the legal teams (in-house POL; and external, acting for POL) who decided (and enforced) POL’s response to any criticism of Horizon. As RW said in his evidence, everything changed as soon as POL started ‘lawyering up’ – which happened within a few months of SS starting work. Who took this lawyering-up decision? Was it the POL Board/CEO? Or had a decision been taken higher still – at Government level – that Horizon could not be allowed to be exposed as faulty?
    3) The Treasury’s refusal to pay SS (ie the Treasury requiring SS’s payment to come from POL) forced SS into a difficult relationship with POL.
    4) We see that POL apparently conducted the Mediation scheme in bad faith.
    5) IH and RW told us that Gareth Jenkins was expert in Horizon, and that he had worked well and openly with them. (But we now know that GJ’s ‘expert witness’ statements had been interfered with by POL and their lawyers.)

  7. Hopefully, it will be Aujard and Williams who are bankrupted in due course when they face charges in relation to fraud and perverting the course of justice.

    1. Oliver Harrison avatar
      Oliver Harrison

      And Singh. And Jenkins. And Scott.

      1. Interesting that Gareth Jenkins was described by Ron Warmington as ‘straight as a die’. He is not in the same bag as Singh and Scott, whatever he’s done.

      2. Overly-ambitious to include Gareth Jenkins there. Unless he self-incriminates himself next week.

  8. Nice to hear oral evidence with genuine humanity and compassion added. The rolling conveyor belt of amnesiac automatons was getting me down.

  9. Interesting choice of tie by Mr Henderson… his statement might have been a bit vague on his service history but the tie is definitely SAS.

    1. He did an interview in the times which said he was a Sandhurst Graduate and officer in the Royal Engineers who served in the first Gulf War where Saddam Hussein’s Kuwait occupation Army was chased back to their own country. Even if he wasn’t in the regiment, he’s someone who has done the hard yards and as he noted in the ITV interview he did with Warmington a few days ago, after getting shot at and nearly blown up during his military service, the threats from that jumped up twat Chris Ajuard, were incredibly offensive and pathetic.

    2. He was a captain in the Royal Engineers but worked alongside special forces in Northern Ireland and the Middle East

  10. for info: I’m in Norway and want to donate with VISA. You say to to that via the PayPal button. But it requires me to log into PayPal and I do not have or want PayPal. I do not get the choice to use credit card.

    1. I’ve encountered the same issue..

    2. I encountered the same problem when clicking the link on my phone, but was able to donate without a Paypal account when i used my laptop. Hope that helps!

  11. What were the non executives on the board representing the Govt reporting back to the Govt ministers. Ed Davey said he was lied to if so who was telling him the lies. What investigation did he do to confirm the lies he was being told.
    Why are the Govt not pushing Fijitsu to announce the amount of money they are willing to pay into the compensation fund for the SPMs.
    Why are we paying via the PO for lawyers to continually thwart the SPMs claims for justifiable compensation. Each SPM should be automatically reinbursed for the amount of money stolen from them with compound interest from the date the money was taken.
    The PO executives who authorised the suspense accounts containing the stolen SPM’s money should br immediately prosecuted for false accounting.

  12. Holy Smoke!
    The Dynamic Duo!

    How times change. As a youngster I followed the exploits of Batman and Robin on TV fighting the likes of the Riddler, Joker, Mad Hatter, Catwoman, Penguin, Poison Ivy and Hugo Strange.

    On Tuesday I followed the inquiry on YouTube to see how mild mannered forensic accountants fought crime, not in Gotham City but in the even darker underworld of the Post Office.

    A world in which genius level barristers have gone full Hugo Strange. Legal evils who prefer ‘riddle me this’ to disclosure. A Parsnip Penguin. I’m not a human being, I’m a lawyer!

    The Joker (you know who) with a set goons laughing their way to performance pay.

    Who appointed the Mad Hatter as PR Guy? Go ask Alice. The alpha Corporate Catwoman.

    Corporate psychopaths alongside cartoon villains.

    How did they all go so fucking mad?

    A Reverend preaching the brand rather than the word? Poison Vennells trying to cover up corporate toxicity?

    Everywhere the devil spits, Poison Ivy grows.

    We owe a lot to the crime fighters of Second Sight. The Dynamic Duo for our times.

    And of course the mild mannered Alan Bates who turned into Superman. Sir Superman who should be a Lord – Justice of the League of Postmasters.

    1. madness from money and power – some people (narcissists and psychopaths especially) can’t handle it.

      agree – commend the determination, bravery and resilience of Sir Alan Bates, the other Sub Post Masters and the forensic accountants: Ian Henderson, Ron Warmington and Kay Linnell

  13. Amazing how much less time is needed for questioning when the witness is keen to be honest and transparent about what happened!

    1. Alan Cornforth avatar
      Alan Cornforth

      This is true but most of the questions were not adversarial and neither of the two men were trying to avoid implicating themselves with their answers. A bit of a free hit, so to speak!

  14. A comment by Swinson on Newsnight that will surely interest the Inquiry was the straight-out statement that Vennells lied to her.

    Also of interest in the day’s evidence was the characterisation of next week’s long-delayed star witness Jenkins as a completely honest technical expert, somewhat contrary to his portrayal by lawyers on all sides.

  15. How refreshing to hear from witnesses who are well qualified to do their jobs and who care about doing the right thing. Most of the time the witnesses we have seen have failed to demonstrate either of these qualities – let alone both.

  16. Like Sir Alan, Messrs Henderson and Warmington are men of integrity, without whom the SPMs would never have achieved justice. It is no surprise that Mr Henderson felt that during 2013 Paula Vennells was increasingly attempting to steer Second Sight away from considering the safety of convictions. For me, one of the pivotal moments in this saga was 2 October 2013 when Ron Warmington sent Paula Vennells 8 files of cases that had been submitted to the mediation scheme. The cases included that of Lee Castleton. She read them straight away and replied with this email: ‘I have just read through the attachments. Apart from finding them very disturbing [I defy anyone not to], I am now even better informed.’ From that date, any protestation from Ms Vennells that she was unaware of potentially unsafe convictions surely lacks credibility.

    No wonder, then, that Ms Perkins and Ms Vennells were so keen during 2014 to sack Second Sight. Independence and clarity were the last virtues they were seeking. Instead, they commissioned Deloitte to carry out a report on Horizon which Mr Beer has described as ‘a heavily caveated desktop review of pieces of paper’. This was analogous to someone with a broken washing machine simply referring to the operating manual rather than calling out an engineer to inspect the machine and diagnose the fault. It was utterly cynical.

    With Jo Swinson now joining Lord Arbuthnot in publicly claiming that Paul Vennells lied to her, Ms Vennells’ position is looking increasingly vulnerable.

    As an aside, it is well worth reading Ron Warmington’s Second Written Witness Statement to the Inquiry (WITN01050200). This deals crisply in 12 pages with three important issues: Suspense Accounts, Can Horizon Properly Be Claimed to be a ‘Double-Entry’ System? and ATM Shortfalls. Mr Warmington notes that ‘the sheer magnitude of many ATM-related shortfalls meant that they were highly material to the impacted SPMs’ and ‘20% of the Applications to the Mediation Scheme had referred to ATM shortfalls and …. thirteen of those ATM-related shortages exceeded £20,000, six exceeded £60,000 and one exceeded £80,000.’ He further states that ‘the unreconciled Bank of Ireland ATM-related Suspense Account balance, at the 2014 financial year-end, was £96 million.’

    This very much echoes the findings of the Detica Report, which a FOIA Response has shown was delivered to various Post Office executives in October 2013, including the then Chief Financial Office and Board member, Chris Day. One of the Detica Report’s main findings was that ‘The Post Office is not able to account fully for the whereabouts of significant values of cash in the network, particularly in the case of cash left in open transfers or moved to ATMs’.

    In his evidence, Mr Henderson said that most organisations will ensure that unreconciled balances held in suspense accounts are normally resolved within one or two days. It does appear that the Post Office’s lack of accounting rigour may have been an additional factor in this scandal.

    1. “thirteen of those ATM-related shortages exceeded £20,000, six exceeded £60,000 and one exceeded £80,000.”

      that sort of thing fascinates me… Assuming you’re right, and I have no reason to doubt you… £80,000 in an ATM equates to 4,000 £20 notes, 8,000 £10 notes, or 16,000 £5 notes. let’s assume they’re all £20 notes. I read a claim that a £20 note is 5 thou thick (0.005″) or 0.013 mm thick. 4,000 £20 notes is a wad 20″, or 500mm thick…

      I don’t expect £80,000 ever disappeared in one incident, but… that’s quite a volume of material, isn’t it? Won’t easily fit in a back pocket…

    2. I assume they would have been more concerned if they hadn’t made losses the contractual responsibility of SPMs.

      I don’t know if it’s within the terms of the inquiry but I hope the government ministers are asked about his. The outsourcing of cut price systems maintenance to Fujitsu, (with additional charges for data records) and risk to SPMs was not an accident, it was deliberate government policy.

  17. Oliver Harrison avatar
    Oliver Harrison

    Re Ian Henderson: when a chap is wearing a “veteran” badge and *that* tie then he’s either a complete Walter Mitty or else not someone to fuck with.

    Luckily for the subpostmasters, and unluckily for POL, it seems he’s very much the real deal.

    1. He was a captain in the Royal Engineers and worked alongside special forces in Northern Ireland and the Middle East

    2. Ian Henderson avatar

      As a former member of NITAT I came across lots of “Walts”…

  18. Lost in the Forrest avatar
    Lost in the Forrest

    Thank you Nick for these great blogs. I wish all the sub post masters and their families all the very best.

    My incoherent/inconsequential rant on this… very rightly there will be prosecutions for Grenfel and P.O scandals. Unlike Hillsborough and Iraq where people under scrutiny were police or politicians, and rooted in the establishment. I hope theres full justice but not revenge.

    Peter principle, ends in abject failure, but will be preceded by progressive successes, until somebody is over promoted into a role ill suited to them. Peter principle never going to end well in such a toxic shiz storm at the P.O.

    Note to self , sometimes imposter syndrome is not imposter syndrome, its self awareness you are out of your depth.

  19. More great reporting Nick. I was very impressed by Both parties performance. In particular, the very avuncular Ron Warmington

  20. deepinder cheema avatar
    deepinder cheema

    I nabbed a couple of copies of Metro as they singularly had the presence of mind to put the Second Sight moment on the front cover.

  21. Whilst I agree that Messrs Warmington and Henderson are definitely two of ‘good guys’ in this sorry saga and deserve praise for their professionalism and doggedness in pursuit of the truth, I would imagine that if it ever came to a criminal prosecution for the likes of Vennells, Parsons etc., they would need to sharpen up their act or they will be torn to shreds by defence barristers. They had a comparatively easy ride from Jason Beer yesterday, but even he brought a few issues to light in terms of their differing accounts, that they often gave their impressions of PO’s behaviour and attitudes rather than evidenced observations and exhibited some critical general memory problems.

  22. There is also (finally) a proper explanation in Ron Warmington’s second witness statement of how POL may have inhaled the SPMs money into its P&L and the pockets of its executives, something that seems to be beyond the two CFOs who have given evidence.

  23. Zero comments so far? Warmington and Henderson seem to me to be utterly credible. Two breaths of fresh air. Unlike ANY of the useful idiots put up by the Post Office. I’ve shed tears over this, and I don’t generally do that… To be obliged to spend years to obtain justice is incredible. I’d have sought revenge, myself…

  24. Nick, did you manage to ascertain why these two vitally important people, Ian and Ron, were given a paltry amount of time?

    1. Most likely because they are entirely credible and thereby their witness statements do not require significant challenge.

  25. UK corporate pays handsomely for reports and surveys stacked with confirmation-bias. Furthermore, if a suspected reviewee (POL) pays for a review, independence is an early victim.

    Second Sight broke the mold here. Bravo for “swimming up the waterfall”.

  26. Absolutely brilliant performances from both Ian and Ron. They obviously had a captive audience, and why not indeed?
    As far as “straight-talking” goes, their oratories were exemplary. factual, concise and accurate. There was also humility from both, when/where they recognised that they could/might have done more to facilitate the quest for truth/justice, but let’s be clear, they were operating under duress.
    Admiration and gratitude invisibly rained down on them from the core participants. It was well deserved.
    Momentous day for the inquiry.

  27. How much better if SS’s evidence had been given earlier. Then POL witnesses could have been examined in the light of it.

    1. I had this thought also. I’m curious about how the order of witnesses was decided.

    2. Perhaps the order was intended to let the POL witnesses incriminate themselves?

  28. It was refreshing to listen to two witnesses who knew what they were talking about and didn’t suffer from corporate amnesia.

  29. Stuart Adamson avatar

    Do we know how the running order of the witnesses was determined, this evidence would have been better at the beginning and would have allowed those accused to have been held to account

    1. “this evidence would have been better at the beginning and would have allowed those accused to have been held to account”

      Perhaps, though, certain individuals’ evidence would have changed in the light of what the SS directors had said, and been rendered more believable… This way, evidence was given, and subsequently contradicted by credible witnesses…

      Any “calling to account” should happen post inquiry…

    2. The collective ‘report lacking evidence’ mantra used by POL witnesses to attack 2ndSight would have way more specific, direct and insufferable had they gone first. In going 2nd we get a much more impartial credibility test, with two obvious winners.

      In my judgement many POL people have been found evidently lacking the faculty to determine truthful and factual evidence when speaking out loud. That they attempt do so under oath will forever label them unrepentant villains.

  30. Morning all,

    Well, as far as I’m concerned, the Inquiry could stop here. What more damning evidence could you need ?

    There was enough in this for criminal prosecutions to start today, not in two years time.

    1. Alan Cornforth avatar
      Alan Cornforth

      And miss out on 4 days of Gareth Jenkins?!?!

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