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19 April 2024 – Rodric Williams

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(9.45 am)

Rodric Williams


Questioning by MR BEER (continued)

Mr Beer: Good morning, sir. Can you see and hear us?

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes, thank you very much.

Mr Beer: Yesterday, I asked about an exchange of emails involving Mr Williams on 19 October 2019, the reference was POL00043169 – no need to display at the moment. This was about the 14,000 KELs that hadn’t been disclosed before the Horizon Issues Trial or during the Horizon Issues Trial, and then the Post Office’s proposed approach in relation to those 14,000 KELs after they had been discovered.

You asked Mr Williams questions, sir, centring on the distinction, essentially, between disclosure and inspection and Mr Williams said – again, I’m summarising – that there ought to exist correspondence that showed that the existence of the 14,000 KELs had been revealed to the claimants’ solicitors Freeths and that an index of such KELs had been sent to Freeths.

I’m very grateful to the Post Office and its lawyers who overnight have produced some additional correspondence to the Inquiry. I’m not going to ask for the documents, that I’m about to give the reference numbers to, to be displayed. They can be considered by you and the Core Participants in due course.

There are six references: they are POL00285691, that’s a Womble Bond Dickinson letter to Freeths of 3 October 2019; POL00043107, Freeths to Womble Bond Dickinson of 11 October 2019; POL00424141, Womble Bond Dickinson to Freeths of 15 October 2019; POL00424142, Womble Bond Dickinson to Freeths of 24 October 2019; POL00287839, Womble Bond Dickinson to Freeths of 28 October 2019; and POL00043187, Womble Bond Dickinson to Freeths of 1 November 2019.

Amongst that run of six letters, in due course, you’ll find that it was the Womble Bond Dickinson letter of 3 October 2019 to Freeths in which the existence of the 14,000 KELs was first disclosed and that it was Womble Bond Dickinson’s letter of 28 October 2019 to Freeths, in which an index of the 14,000 KELs was attached.

Sir Wyn Williams: Thank you very much, Mr Beer.

Mr Beer: Thank you, sir.

So, can we, Mr Williams, pick up with where I left off last night, which was turning to the shredding advice. Can we look, please, to POL00006577.

Thank you. You should see this is a letter of 2 August 2013. If we just pan out for the moment, you’ll see that it was written by Andy Cash. I think you’ll remember he was a member of Cartwright King –

Rodric Williams: Correct.

Mr Beer: – and it’s a letter to Hugh Flemington and Susan Crichton. It says:

“I enclose for your urgent attention an advice prepared by my colleague Simon Clarke. I am sure you will appreciate the advice is sent as part of our brief to advise on the impact of Horizon issues and to protect the reputation of [Post Office Limited]. It is fully accepted you may wish to take a second opinion on the views expressed.”

Just on that line, was it part of Cartwright King’s brief to protect the reputation of the Post Office?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know.

Mr Beer: Did you ever give any instructions to Cartwright King, firstly, at all?

Rodric Williams: Typically not, but I think that we saw yesterday I gave an email which I think you could say was an instruction to make disclosure and I probably did say things along those lines, but a formal instruction along that line, I don’t believe I did that.

Mr Beer: Would you say it was part of Cartwright King’s brief to protect the reputation of the Post Office?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know. I didn’t work with them closely enough on matters to know whether that was or wasn’t; I’m sorry.

Mr Beer: In any event, the advice, if we turn it up, please, POL00006799, that’s B/79. This is the advice to which reference was made. It’s an advice entitled “Disclosure, the duty to record and retain material”.

If we go to page 2, please, and look at paragraph 5. He has earlier referred to the series of hub conference calls and says:

“At some point [this is Mr Clarke speaking] following the conclusion of the third conference call [which he understands] to have taken place on the morning of … 31 July, it became unclear as to whether and to what extent material was either being retained or centrally disseminated. The following information has been relayed to me:

“(i) The minutes of a previous conference call had been typed at emailed to a number of persons. An instruction [had been] given that those emails and minutes should be, and have been, destroyed: the word ‘shredded’ was conveyed to me.”

Were you given a copy of this advice?

Rodric Williams: So the specific advice note from – that we’re looking at, the document?

Mr Beer: Yeah, the one we’re looking at.

Rodric Williams: Yes, I was.

Mr Beer: So you were given a copy of this advice?

Rodric Williams: I saw it at the time, I’m sure I did, yes.

Mr Beer: Sorry?

Rodric Williams: I saw it at the time, yes. I’m sure I saw a copy, I was given a copy.

Mr Beer: What did you think when you read paragraph 5(i)?

Rodric Williams: It’s an extremely serious allegation.

Mr Beer: Presumably you were quite shocked to read it?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Because you would have been reading it, Mr Williams, in the context of having read the previous advice, the 15 July advice, which was about an expert witness, who it was said had breached their duties to the court and that the Post Office had breached its duties to the court, and that, taken together, that may have an affect on the safety of criminal convictions. That would be the context in which you were reading this?

Rodric Williams: Not necessarily. I don’t know remember when I saw the 15 July email and I –

Mr Beer: It’s an advice, not an email.

Rodric Williams: I beg your pardon, advice. They certainly were arriving at the same time but I’m not sure whether I connected the two of them or not.

Mr Beer: But they were about the same thing, weren’t they? One was the witness that the Post Office has been using is tainted, we need to set up a system to bring together information about possible bugs or problems in Horizon. That’s been done.

This is referring to that system, the hub, having been set up, and the reference being given is that the minutes of one of those meetings had been destroyed and the word “shredding” had been used. So the context – this isn’t about a separate case, is it? This is about Horizon and its bugs and the expert witness.

Rodric Williams: One is about expert witness and prosecutions and one is about a Post Office process going forward, that –

Mr Beer: Two distinct things?

Rodric Williams: No, but they’re not as connected as – they are both relating to the response to Horizon issues, but they are – one is talking about a conduct of prosecutions, the first one, and the second one is talking about a Post Office internal management process.

Mr Beer: Is that how you would have seen them, as divisible in that way? One is about just internal management processes and the other one is about, potentially, the safety of criminal convictions?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall but – I don’t recall, it’s 11 years, I think, since – almost 11 years since this came out, I don’t know what connections I was making them between them, I’m sorry. To be clear, I do accept they are both dealing with Horizon, I’m not suggesting that, but I don’t think they’re quite as connected as –

Mr Beer: As I’m making out?

Rodric Williams: (Unclear).

Mr Beer: Is that right, you don’t think they’re as connected?

Rodric Williams: I’m saying I don’t know what I was thinking at the time.

Mr Beer: Looking at it now, do you think there’s a connection between the two: we get an advice saying the safety of convictions needs to be looked at, in part because an expert witness hasn’t disclosed some bugs about which he knew. We need to set up a system that records across the business so that the information isn’t siloed, a weekly conference call to bring that information together, and then an instruction is being given that the record of that conference call should be destroyed or shredded.

Rodric Williams: So, again, I think there’s a lot of conflation going on –

Mr Beer: Thank you.

Rodric Williams: – and I’m struggling because I don’t remember what my mindset was at the time, which is what I’ve been asked but you’d said one is about the safety of convictions. Now, I can’t recall, and I’d need to re-read the advice note from 15 July in full, whether that followed from the advice on Jenkins, on 15 July, whether that led to the review or that was – it was just saying you can’t use him in prosecutions going forward, and this, which is about a Post Office Management thing, which, in and of itself – by the way, this in and of itself is serious enough.

I’m not sure I did or I’m not sure I didn’t make the connection at the time but, in and of itself, this was serious enough to warrant action.

Mr Beer: If we go on to page 6, please.

Rodric Williams: Yes, I have it.

Mr Beer: If we scroll down a little bit, in paragraph 12 he says:

“… the only proper way forward is for the conference calls to be properly minuted, those minutes to be centrally retained and made available to all those who properly require access thereto. And were it to be determined that those telephone conferences were no longer to take place, the duty to record and retain nevertheless remains: individual investigators with knowledge are bound both by the duty to record and retain to inform the prosecutor – [ie Post Office Limited].”

Were you responsible in any way for carrying into fact that advice there?

Rodric Williams: In terms of carrying out the minuting? Which – sorry, what particular part of the –

Mr Beer: Any part. Any or all parts, Mr Williams.

Rodric Williams: I certainly helped Susan Crichton doing the – I think the covering letter attaching the advice was sent to respond to the advice and to confirm that, you know, the conference calls would be properly minuted and retained, and made available. So, to that extent, yes, I was involved in it. In terms of the physical actions of that, I don’t recall being charged with holding the pen on the minutes or …

Mr Beer: Can we look please at POL00006797, which is E/7.

Rodric Williams: Okay, can I have the tab please?

Mr Beer: E/7.

Rodric Williams: E/7, thank you.

Mr Beer: This is the reply by Ms Crichton. If we look at the bottom of the page, we can see it is signed off by her.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Look at the top of the page, we’ll see it’s 16 August 2013 and it’s her reply to the letter of 2 August, so 14 days later:

“Thank you for your letter of 2 August enclosing Simon Clarke’s advice … unfortunately I had not seen your letter and was not aware of it until Martin’s [Martin Smith] email on 14 August.”

Do you know how that came about, that Ms Crichton hadn’t seen the advice until 14 August?

Rodric Williams: No.

Mr Beer: Sorry?

Rodric Williams: No.

Mr Beer: We’ve got some evidence from Simon Clarke that he was subsequently told by Jarnail Singh that it had sat, the advice, in a drawer of yours, between 2 August and 14 August; is that correct?

Rodric Williams: Not to my knowledge. I don’t recall that.

Mr Beer: Were you responsible for drafting this letter?

Rodric Williams: I think I was, yes.

Mr Beer: Why were you responsible for drafting it?

Rodric Williams: I think Susan, the General Counsel, asked me to assist her.

Mr Beer: Anyway, so she says:

“… unfortunately, I had not seen your letter and was not aware of it until 14 August. That advice was prepared as a consequence of statements purportedly made in connection with the weekly conference calls …

“A key purpose of the [conference] calls is to ensure that Horizon users are promptly made aware of any issues with it …”

Next paragraph:

“I am therefore deeply concerned at the suggestion inside Simon’s note that there may have been an attempt to destroy documentary material generated in connection with the Horizon Calls, specifically any minutes of the calls. I note that Simon’s advice does not suggest that material connected to the operation of Horizon itself may have been compromised.”

Then skipping a paragraph:

“I can confirm that we will continue to hold the [conference] calls for the foreseeable future, and that minutes of those calls are and will continue to be taken. For administrative reasons, these minutes will be centrally stored with our solicitors Bond Dickinson, with access to those minutes being made available to your firm and those you engage as expert witnesses.”

I think if we look at POL00193605, which is B/67, we can see that, in the terms it was sent out, you drafted this letter.

Rodric Williams: 67? I can only see parts of – yes. I have it. Thank you.

Mr Beer: Thank you. All right, that can come down.

Who commissioned Mr Clarke’s advice in relation to the destruction of minutes?

Rodric Williams: From recollection, I think he did it of his own volition, he considered himself duty bound, I think, was the sort of feeling I’ve got, to raise it immediately.

Mr Beer: Okay, so it wasn’t an instruction; it was because he had become concerned about what he had been told, that he sort of self-commissioned himself?

Rodric Williams: Yeah, I can’t speak for Simon but my impression is that that is what had motivated it.

Mr Beer: What steps did you personally take to ensure that the allegations recorded in Mr Clarke’s advice were fully investigated?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know what you mean by “fully investigated” but I –

Mr Beer: Hold on, stop there. You don’t know what I mean by fully investigated? What do you not understand about that sentence?

Rodric Williams: Well, investigations can be broad, wide, long, deep.

Mr Beer: Okay, what steps did you take to ensure that it was investigated in any way whatsoever?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know but the – I felt able to draft a response, which I’d like to think was done with the benefit of some insight into what had happened and transpired, but –

Mr Beer: That doesn’t say anything about what has happened. It says what’s going to happen.

Rodric Williams: Look, I don’t recall. I’m sorry, I don’t recall.

Mr Beer: Is the answer none?

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t recall. No, the answer is I don’t recall.

Mr Beer: Do you think you ought to have taken some steps to ensure that the allegations made in Mr Clarke’s advice were investigated in any way whatsoever?

Rodric Williams: I don’t necessarily know that I would have at that time, that – I don’t know. That was something I was doing, I was asked to assist in a response, which I helped draft.

Mr Beer: That’s not an answer to the question. Do you think you should have ensured that there was some investigation?

Rodric Williams: I can’t remember what happened at that time 11 years ago. So what I felt needed to be done or shouldn’t be done, I can’t recall now.

Mr Beer: Well, looking back now, do you think there should have been some investigation into what Mr Clarke had said –

Rodric Williams: I’d like to think we responded to it prudently at the time in the manner we did. So I’m not sure, looking at it now, it –

Mr Beer: – to find out who it was who had allegedly given an instruction for minutes to be destroyed, asked them about it, find out why they had given the instruction, find out whether minutes had been destroyed, find out whether any other documents had been destroyed on the orders of that person, or otherwise?

Rodric Williams: From recollection I think we found out that minutes had not been destroyed.

Mr Beer: Okay, so there was an investigation?

Rodric Williams: There must have been something for that but I don’t know when I recall knowing that piece or if, in fact, that is correct, I’m – I genuinely cannot remember what happened in and around this time, in terms of the steps taken that led to the production of this letter.

Sir Wyn Williams: About ten minutes ago, Mr Williams, you told me that this allegation was, in effect, serious or very serious; I forget whether you said very or not, but was a serious matter. I think it’s fair for Mr Beer to press you on whether you now think that serious matters of that kind should have been investigated.

Rodric Williams: Okay, thank you, sir, and my apologies if I’ve been unhelpful. It’s not my intent.

Mr Beer: So what’s the answer to the question?

Rodric Williams: If I could have the question again, I will seek to answer it.

Mr Beer: Should the serious or very serious matters raised in Mr Clarke’s advice have been investigated by the Post Office?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: To your knowledge, were they?

Rodric Williams: I do not know.

Mr Beer: You had responsibility, we’ve seen, for drafting the letter of response?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Were you, therefore, involved in the response to the Simon Clarke Advice of 2 August?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Did your responsibility go wider than drafting a letter for Susan Crichton?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall that, no.

Mr Beer: Who was responsible for investigating the matters raised in Mr Clarke’s advice?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know.

Mr Beer: Was consideration given to reporting this matter to the police?

Rodric Williams: I don’t believe so no.

Mr Beer: Did you find out that the allegation recorded in Mr Clarke’s advice was attributed to Mr John Scott, the then Head of Security, it was he that was said to have given the instruction?

Rodric Williams: I think I knew that John Scott was Head of Security at the time.

Mr Beer: That’s a different question. That was an answer to a different question.

Rodric Williams: Sorry.

Mr Beer: That question would be “Did you know that John Scott was Head of Security?” The question I asked is: did you know that the allegation recorded in Mr Clarke’s advice was said to relate to an instruction given by Mr Scott?

Rodric Williams: No, I did not know that, not at that level of detail, no, not the identity, no. I don’t believe I did.

Mr Beer: Would you have been concerned if you found out that it was said to be the Head of Security that had given an instruction to shred documents?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Because he was for the person in charge of the department responsible for investigating allegations of criminal offences against subpostmasters and bringing proceedings against them?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: To your knowledge, was the information here disclosed to any convicted defendants?

Rodric Williams: I don’t believe – at the time, I don’t know, is the answer, but it didn’t form part of disclosure review along the lines – to my knowledge it didn’t form part of a disclosure review along the lines that we had done for the bugs, the Second Sight Report.

Mr Beer: So, to your knowledge, was this escalated, the information in Mr Clarke’s advice, to the Post Office Board?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know.

Mr Beer: Should it have been?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know what the higher governance was.

Mr Beer: Can we turn to a different topic, please. POL00006583. This is Mr Altman KC’s interim review. This is also dated, I think, 2 August 2013, and it’s his interim review of Cartwright King’s current process and, in summary – I should say this is B/75 for you because I know you want to –

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Beer: – look at all those documents in those small files.

Rodric Williams: I have it. Thank you.

Mr Beer: Do you recall Mr Altman’s interim review?

Rodric Williams: No, not the interim review.

Mr Beer: Were you responsible for commissioning it?

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t believe I was.

Mr Beer: Did you see it at the time?

Rodric Williams: I think I will have, yes.

Mr Beer: Do you remember that he caveatted the review that he conducted in a number of ways? If you look at paragraph 3, if we scroll down and then look at paragraph 4, then go over the page, please. Then look at paragraph 7. Paragraph 7 in particular:

“… the sole focus of possible complaint is the … system … and the single expert witness, Gareth Jenkins …”

Then paragraph 8, he sets out an assumption. Then over the page, if we go down to 11, over the page – thank you. He says that he wonders, in paragraph 11:

“… whether non-disclosure by [Gareth Jenkins] of aspects of the Horizon system is the only potential issue that arises in [the case], or whether there may be other issues, which need to fall within the remit of the review.”

In 12, he questions:

“… whether the sole issue of non-disclosure is too restrictive an approach to take …”

When you read this, did you appreciate those caveats that he was including in his interim review?

Rodric Williams: I think some of them, maybe, but not all of them. The general caveat that I remember is that he’d be working on the information that we would be giving him. He’d be –

Mr Beer: Were you responsible, looking at paragraphs 11 and 12, for making decisions or contributing to decisions in the light of what is said there, as to the nature of the review that Cartwright King was to carry out?

Rodric Williams: I don’t believe I was, no.

Mr Beer: Whose responsibility was that?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know. I’m –

Mr Beer: You see what he’s saying here.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: He’s raising questions of whether the review that Cartwright King is carrying out is narrow or too restricted or limited in nature?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I do.

Mr Beer: Who was responsible for making decisions as to whether the review should be broadened or not?

Rodric Williams: Well, on this, I think in terms of the review, the sort of process was, as I understand now, having looked at the, you know, some of the documents around it, is the scope was discussed, I think, with Womble Bond Dickinson, and then provided to – sorry, I guess from Post Office, be coming from General Counsel from the Post Office Legal team, working with Womble Bond Dickinson to Brian Altman, and Brian then provided these initial comments and then – before the response was sort of finalised and agreed, which he would ultimately review. Does that help?

Mr Beer: Maybe if we look at some documents, that will assist. Can we look at POL00298123. If we scroll down, please. Sorry, this is E/123 for you to follow up. Are you at E/123?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, I am. I beg your pardon.

Mr Beer: Can we look at the bottom of page 1, please. We’ll see an email from Gavin Matthews, who was a partner at Bond Dickinson, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: He’s writing to you, amongst others, and he said:

“I have now had the chance to review Brian Altman’s Interim Review of [Cartwright King’s] Current Process …”

Just to stop and understand what’s happening, Cartwright King were conducting a review of some cases. Mr Altman had conducted a review of their review, and now Bond Dickinson were conducting a review of Brian Altman’s review of Cartwright King’s review; is that what’s happening?

Rodric Williams: There’s certainly a lot of reviewing going on, yes, but I think it’s more that Cartwright King was proposing a course of action in response to prosecutions, as a consequence of the Second Sight advice. Post Office was wanting a second opinion on whether that was the prudent thing, it was the right thing to do and then, so Brian was instructed to look at that –

Mr Beer: So he was reviewing their proposed review?

Rodric Williams: Yes, yeah, and at an early stage because, obviously, if the review was inadequate and needed to be done – it’s better to do it once than several times, so that if there were errors, mistakes, whatever it is, they could be picked up at an early stage and not all done in one go rather than in several. That’s my understanding of the sort of review process.

Cartwright King were doing it, we asked Brian to sort of take a look at that to see if it was – basically to provide some assurance over the process, so –

Mr Beer: So that was Mr Altman’s part of the process, or Brian, as you know him?

Rodric Williams: Yes. I beg your pardon, Mr Altman. But yes.

Mr Beer: Then what was this – what were Bond Dickinson adding?

Rodric Williams: They were the conduit. I think they were the formal instructing solicitors to Mr Altman in this, and so they were providing their input on the way through.

Mr Beer: Let’s just look at what they say:

“I have now had the chance to review Brian Altman’s interim review …”

Then under 1:

“It is clearly good news that the current limited process [Cartwright King] have adopted is broadly fine.

“2. He [I think that’s Mr Altman] raises the issue of whether the current review is too narrow [and he cross-references those two paragraphs, 11 and 12 that I have referred you to] – he references the list of issues in the [Second Sight] Report and Spot Review 22 as examples of other issues which may need to fall within the ambit of [Cartwright King’s] review. Whilst this should be put to [Cartwright King], my own view is that it may be very difficult for [Cartwright King] to expand the review on issues on which [Second Sight] have failed to come to any conclusion.

“3. The possible conflict issue is well made and [Cartwright King] need to be alive to it.”

That’s part of the advice I haven’t taken you to which is whether Cartwright King lawyers reviewing cases in which Cartwright King has been the prosecutor is appropriate, broadly summarised.

Then geographical and temporal limits, only going back to 1 January 2010 and only looking at England and Wales, need to be reviewed and answered.

He says:

“Our advice [that’s Bond Dickinson’s advice] is:

“[Post Office] Legal needs to disclose Brian Altman’s interim review to [Cartwright King] and discuss it with them.”

Was that done?

Rodric Williams: I believe so. I’ve got that from documents, rather.

Mr Beer: “[Cartwright King] should be asked to respond in writing to the recommendations made [that’s towards the end of Mr Altman’s advice].

“Bond Dickinson … should sit down with Brian Altman to walk him through the Spot Reviews and the [Second Sight] Report so he can understand the impact of his review on the civil side.”

Who was the relevant decision maker here in responding to this advice about Mr Altman’s review of the review?

Rodric Williams: I would think it was the General Counsel.

Mr Beer: So that would have been Ms Crichton at the time?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Do you recall what decision she made in relation to the issues raised?

Rodric Williams: I don’t, I’m sorry, no.

Mr Beer: Were you party to discussions over what decisions should be made as to, for example, the geographical scope of the review, the temporal scope of the review, should it only go back to 1 January 2010?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall being party to those discussions.

Mr Beer: I think you did attend a conference with Brian Altman KC on 9 September 2013; is that right?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I did.

Mr Beer: You tell us about this, that can come down, in paragraph 85 of your statement, which is on page 43.

Rodric Williams: Thank you, I have it.

Mr Beer: We asked you to comment on two notes of a conference with Mr Altman on 9 September 2013. You say that, although you recall attending his chambers on several occasions, you don’t have any recollection of that conference specifically. You are likely to have attended to make sure the actions being taken were joined up within the Post Office and that you could take forward any that might apply to you. You’ve no reason to think that each of the sets of conference notes fails to reflect what happened or omits matters that were material. You can’t add anything, yes?

Rodric Williams: Um –

Mr Beer: Can we just look at those notes of the conference. POL00139866. That’s B/81 for you.

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Beer: Now, I think this is the note of the conference, a typed-up note, made by Martin Smith of Cartwright King. So one of the two notes of the conference. If you just scroll down, please, so you can refamiliarise yourself with the note. It’s a long and detailed note, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: I mean, it spreads, in its typed version, over 11 pages. In the course of the note, there’s discussion in relation to Mr Jenkins. Can you recall whether there was any information passed to Mr Altman that the Post Office either knew or thought it likely that it hadn’t instructed Mr Jenkins properly as to the duties of an expert witness? There’s no record of that in either this note or the other note.

Rodric Williams: Can you take me to the part of the note where it refers to Mr Jenkins?

Mr Beer: Well, it’s spread across the note. People come back to it on a number of occasions.

Rodric Williams: Sorry, could I have the question again?

Mr Beer: Yes. For example, if you look at page 4, and if we scroll down, please, it seems that, just under where the conference is discussing the bandwagon effect:

“Presumably number of subpostmasters trying to see how they can organise their defence. You get fashions. So have to be robust and not too free.

“So long as adopt test can’t go far wrong.”


“Simon [I think that’s Mr Clarke]: Goes back to [I think that’s Gareth Jenkins]. Either he was not aware of [information] or [Fujitsu] ivory tower – not being taken seriously.”

That’s one of the occasions when there was a reference to Mr Jenkins.

Rodric Williams: Mm, thank you.

Mr Beer: We saw in your handwritten note of yesterday that there was at least some recollection or recognition that it may be the case that the Post Office had not instructed Mr Jenkins properly. Was that passed on to Mr Altman?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall whether it was or wasn’t but I certainly have no positive recollection of that.

Mr Beer: Can you recall whether there was any discussion about the Post Office’s role as a prosecutor in obtaining and then disclosing the evidence of Mr Jenkins in prosecutions? So, rather than focusing on him as a man and what he had not done or had failed to do, whether the Post Office’s role as prosecutor was addressed?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall – I’m sorry, I’ve lost the question. I’m – I’ve lost the question. I’m sorry.

Mr Beer: You’re writing it down as you go along. If you want me to go slower so you can write the question down verbatim, I’m happy to do that.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry. I recall conferences with Mr Altman about Post Office’s role as a prosecutor, as in would we continue to do it going forward or not but I’m just trying to follow the piece around – I don’t quite understand the connection between Post Office as a prosecutor and Mr Jenkins. That’s what I’m trying to understand, sorry.

Mr Beer: Was there any discussion, to your recollection, of the Post Office’s role as a prosecutor, ie the duties that it owed when calling evidence that may be expert evidence?

Rodric Williams: Sorry. Thank you for clarifying that. No, I don’t recall that.

Mr Beer: Can we look, please, at the alternative note. POL00006485. This is the Bond Dickinson note of the same conference. It’s B/80.

Rodric Williams: Thank you. I have it.

Mr Beer: If we look at page 3, please, and the first paragraph:

“In relation to the cut-off date, 1 January 2010 was close to the Horizon Online rollout. Prior to Horizon Online rollout there was a cash audit done so that all [Post Office] branches balanced. [Mr Altman] advised that there was no positive duty to seek out individuals [before] 1 [April] 2010 but if [the Post Office] was approached it would need to make case-specific decisions on disclosure.”

Can you recall that being the material consideration on the temporal scope of Cartwright King’s review, ie there had been a balancing exercise undertaken, a cash audit undertaken?

Rodric Williams: That was – yes, that is my understanding.

Mr Beer: Can you explain, please, why that was considered as important in not giving disclosure to convicted defendants where they had been convicted before 1 January 2010 or the conducted alleged against them had occurred before 1 January 2010?

Rodric Williams: No, I can’t comment on that. That was a matter for the criminal lawyers.

Mr Beer: Was there any discussion on how that worked, though, that the books were balanced, there was a cash audit done, when Horizon Online went live, therefore, we don’t need to look backwards before then? Can you explain your understanding of the logic of that?

Rodric Williams: No, I can’t. All I can understand is that I – well – and I think, even then, it’s an imperfect understanding of the cash reconciliations that took place in the branches when Horizon Online was introduced.

Mr Beer: So there was a cash reconciliation when they moved from Legacy Horizon to Horizon Online?

Rodric Williams: Yes, that’s my understanding.

Mr Beer: There was a moment frozen in time when the books ought to have balanced or something ought to have been said about it?

Rodric Williams: Yes, correct. That’s my understanding.

Mr Beer: But why was that a reason to not look at the hundreds of people that had been convicted in the decade before 1 January 2010?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know. I don’t know.

Mr Beer: Was there any discussion about that, “because the books should have balanced, or something should have been done about it, in January 2010, we don’t need to look at the hundreds of convictions that have been obtained before January 2010”?

Rodric Williams: As I say, I don’t recall the full details of the discussions then but I think that point – I think Simon Clarke may have dealt with it in one of his advice notes, there’s a little bit more text around it but I don’t recall that – I don’t recall recalling that at the time or being aware that – and I don’t recall a discussion around that in this consultation.

Mr Beer: Just going back to page 2 of the note, please.

Thank you, at the last paragraph we see on the page, Mr Altman is recorded as advising that the Post Office and Cartwright King should:

“… ensure that the disclosure procedure is beyond reproach. It was widely agreed that there was likely to be a ‘bandwagon’ approach in relation to defendants challenging their previous convictions.”

Can you remember who made the “bandwagon” comment?

Rodric Williams: No, I can’t, I’m sorry.

Mr Beer: It’s recorded that it was widely agreed, presumably that’s widely agreed amongst the people that were present?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I assume so, yes.

Mr Beer: You were obviously one of those. Why did you agree that there was likely to be a bandwagon approach?

Rodric Williams: Sitting here today, and quite possibly at the time, if something gains currency, people will gather around behind it. That seemed logical to me.

Mr Beer: So improperly jump up on something that was passing in front of them?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know about the improper, the hopping on, but certainly getting behind it, yes.

Mr Beer: So maybe legitimately –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: – appealing their conviction –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: – or seeking to?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Is that the sense in which the bandwagon was used? People might legitimately here seek to appeal against their convictions? Is that the bandwagon that was being spoken about?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall there being a distinction between legitimate and illegitimate bandwagoning, if that’s an expression.

Mr Beer: Thank you, Mr Williams. That can come down.

Can we turn to a separate topic, please, remote access and turn up paragraph 105 of your witness statement, please, which is on page 53.

Rodric Williams: Thank you. I have it.

Mr Beer: Under the heading “My involvement with the instruction of Deloitte”, if you just read that to yourself.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: In the fourth line, you say:

“I [understand] that the aim was for Deloitte to provide an objective report into the reliability of Horizon …”


Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: That was your aim, was it: to get Deloittes to produce an objective report?

Rodric Williams: The aim was certainly for Deloitte to come in objectively, yes, and then produce a report. So, yes, is the answer, sorry.

Mr Beer: Can we look, please, at POL00125744. That’s E/72. We can see that this is an initial step that you took on 2 April 2014 to instruct Deloittes, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: It’s addressed to Gareth James of Deloitte, and you say:

“As discussed earlier today, Post Office is responding to allegations that the ‘Horizon’ IT system … is defective and/or the processes associated with it are inadequate.

“In order to respond to these allegations (which have been, and will in all likelihood continue to be, advanced in the courts), Post Office wants to demonstrate that the Horizon system is robust, fit for purpose and/or operates within an appropriate control framework.”

That doesn’t particularly suggest that the Post Office was looking for objective findings, does it?

Rodric Williams: I think it demonstrates what Post Office wants to do, but we’re instructing Deloitte to come to their own opinion.

Mr Beer: Why were you setting out the outcome that the Post Office wanted, if you wanted an objective report?

Rodric Williams: I think it’s just the language I used at the time.

Mr Beer: Well, I know that. It’s on the page. But I’m asking you why.

Rodric Williams: I don’t know, I was trying to instruct Deloitte to act independently. I might have said “would like” or “would hope” or “need”, or I could have used number of words. I think Post Office did want to demonstrate that it was robust because we were using it.

Mr Beer: Why did you set out the conclusion you wanted them to reach?

Rodric Williams: I didn’t ask them to reach that conclusion –

Mr Beer: Why did you set out the conclusion that the Post Office wanted?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry?

Mr Beer: Why did you set out the conclusion that the Post Office wanted?

Rodric Williams: I – I’m sorry, I don’t think – I’m saying that’s what we want to demonstrate, that –

Mr Beer: Yes. Why did you do that?

Rodric Williams: I don’t want to be flippant but – so I won’t be. Sorry, that’s not right. There are many things people want but they don’t always – they don’t always get them.

Mr Beer: Is that your best answer?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I’ll –

Mr Beer: I’ll move on, then.

Rodric Williams: I certainly wasn’t trying to steer a direction in a first email.

Mr Beer: Can I look at some statements.

Sorry, before we look at some statements on what the Post Office was told about remote access, and information given to the Post Office about remote access, having been directly involved in the instruction of Deloitte, you would naturally be very interested, wouldn’t you, when they produced their report, as to the conclusions which they reached?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: You would have read it assiduously, wouldn’t you?

Rodric Williams: I read it as well as I could when I received it. But yes, the content was of interest, yes.

Mr Beer: It’s not a piece of work commissioned by someone else in the business that happens to pass across your desk, with you being a copyee amongst many others, to emails?

Rodric Williams: No, I was not, no.

Mr Beer: You were the point man, again, for the instruction of Deloittes?

Rodric Williams: Yes, yes.

Mr Beer: Therefore, when they produced the report and it comes back directly to you, you’d be interested in what they wrote, wouldn’t you?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Thank you. That can come down. Thank you.

Can we look, please, at some information that was given to the Post Office about remote access and, first off, look at paragraph 101 of your witness statement, please.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, which paragraph?

Mr Beer: 101 –

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Beer: – which is on page 50. You’re here dealing with the issue of remote access as it arose in the context of the Mediation Scheme, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: The Inquiry has asked me to comment on an email sent to [Mr] Parsons [in] April 2014 concerning an internal [Post Office] email from 2008.”

You give the cross-reference, that’s called the Winn/Lusher email from 2008:

“As far as I can tell, I first saw the 2008 internal [Post Office] email [that’s the Winn/Lusher email] when I was sent it on 14 April 2014 in the context of a scheme claim. The email [the Winn/Lusher email] raised the issue of remote access (albeit in a different manner from the way remote access was raised by Michael Rudkin …). I discussed this with Andy Parsons, who drew out for me the questions it raised for [the Post Office] but which Fujitsu would need to answer. These questions were then sent to Fujitsu, whose responses were provided to me on 17 April and I believe it was relayed to Second Sight. I believe the question of how, and to what extent, Fujitsu had the ability to alter Post Office branch data remotely continued to be explored with Fujitsu …”

Dealing with this issue of the 17 April email, can we look at that, please. POL00304478, that’s B/100.

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Beer: If we turn up, please, pages 4 and 5.

Rodric Williams: I have them.

Mr Beer: So, essentially, what happens is that Second Sight, in the context of their Mediation Scheme, had raised some questions about remote access, yes, and you were putting these to Fujitsu?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: This is Fujitsu providing the answers, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Mr Davidson of Fujitsu, James Davidson, says:

“Please see Fujitsu’s response below.


“There is no ability to delete or change records a branch creates either in [old or new Horizon]. Transactions in both systems are created in a secure and auditable way to ensure integrity, and have either a checksum (old Horizon) or a digital signature (Horizon Online), are time stamped, have a unique sequential number and are securely stored via the core audit process in the audit vault.

“Whilst a facility exists to ‘inject’ additional transactions in the event of a system error, these transactions would have a signature that is unique, subpostmaster IDs are not used and the audit log would house a record of these. As above, this does not delete or amend original transactions but creates a new and additional transactions.

“This facility is built into the system to enable corrections to be made if a system error/bug is identified and the master database needs updating as a result, this is not a unique feature of Horizon.

“Approvals to ‘inject’ new transactions are governed by the change process, 2 factor authentications and a ‘four eyes’ process. A unique identifier is created and can be audited for this type of transaction within [Horizon Online], Horizon would require more extensive work to investigate as explained below.”

Then answers to the direct questions that you had posed arising from Second Sight’s questions:

“1. Can Post Office change branch transaction data without a subpostmaster being aware of the change? No.”

But then:

“2. Can Fujitsu change branch transaction data without a subpostmaster being aware of the change?”


“Once created, branch transaction cannot be changed, only additional data can be inserted. If this is required, the additional transactions would be visible on the trading statements but would not require acknowledgement/approval by a subpostmaster, the approval is given by the Post Office via the change process. In response to a previous query Fujitsu checked last year when this was done on Horizon Online and we found only one occurrence in March 2010 which was early in the pilot for Horizon Online and was covered by an appropriate change request from Post Office and an auditable log. For Old Horizon, a detailed examination of archived data would have to be undertaken to look into this across the lifetime of use. This would be a significant and complex exercise to undertake and discussed previously with Post Office but this counted as too costly and impractical.”

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Overall, what did you take from either the summary or the detailed answers that were given as to the ability for data to be changed without the knowledge of a subpostmaster?

Rodric Williams: It couldn’t be done.

Mr Beer: It couldn’t be done?

Rodric Williams: It couldn’t be done.

Mr Beer: Even notwithstanding the answer given to question 2?

Rodric Williams: What I understood question 2 to say is you couldn’t change the data but the overall position, say, of a branch’s account could be changed by the injection of a new and identifiable entry.

Mr Beer: Did you regard that as an important point, that although data couldn’t be changed, the overall trading position could be amended by the injection of new data?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Did you realise the distinction between those two things at the time?

Rodric Williams: I think so, yes. But, I have to say, I’m saying that today, so …

Mr Beer: Now, it seems that, on receiving these answers from Fujitsu, Mr Parsons produced a draft note for Second Sight, which he sent to you for approval or comment. Can we look at that, please. That’s, I think, at the beginning of B/100. In fact, it’s sent to Angela van den Bogerd and copied to you. So that’s the same document we were looking at, POL00304478, page 1.

Rodric Williams: I have it, thank you.

Mr Beer: I’ll just wait for it to come on the screen. Maybe if we look at page 2 first. We can see his direct email to you, copied to Ms van den Bogerd.

“Have you had a chance to look at the attached note?”

I’m not going to look at that attachment now:

“[Second Sight] are now pushing for this answer so that they can build it into the fact file so we need an answer [as soon as possible].

“The question posed by [Second Sight] is:

“As requested at the [Working Group] meeting Post Office are asked to produce a formal certification that it is not possible for anyone to access Horizon/[Horizon Online] and amend transaction data without the knowledge of the subpostmaster or their staff.”

What did you understand by “formal certification”?

Rodric Williams: I’m not sure I did. I wasn’t engaged directly with Second Sight on this, so I’m not sure of the style they were after.

Mr Beer: A response to the question is proposed to you by Mr Parsons. Did you think that this equated to the response that the Post Office ought to give?

Rodric Williams: I might just re-read it.

Mr Beer: Yes. (Pause)

Rodric Williams: It’s a summary. I don’t know whether it was going to be sufficient for Second Sight’s purposes or not because I wasn’t quite sure what they were after but it seems a summary, yes.

Mr Beer: It takes the point that “it’s not clear what’s meant by certification but we’ve gone off to Fujitsu and the Post Office’s IT team”. To your mind, did the summary which then follows in the second line onwards of the proposed response, properly summarise the information that Mr Davidson had given you?

Rodric Williams: As I say, it’s a summary and I think it’s consistent but, whenever you summarise something, there’s always the risk you leave a – you put a baby out with the bathwater. But I thought it was a fair summary, yes.

Mr Beer: What about the fact that, in answer to question 2, you’ll recall that Mr Davidson had said that additional data can be inserted but that would not require the acknowledgement or approval of a subpostmaster, approvals given by the Post Office itself?

Rodric Williams: Um –

Mr Beer: It doesn’t reflect that, does it?

Rodric Williams: Well, I’m sort of looking at it, although it’s – not specifically, as I said, a summary, but it is possible to input transactions and they will have visibility of the extra transactions as they’re shown separately in the branch’s accounts. So I think that’s – the visibility point was seeking to address that.

Mr Beer: Can we look, then, at the Deloitte report, which was 23 May 2014. POL00028062, that’s B/119.

Rodric Williams: I have it. Thank you.

Mr Beer: So this is about a fortnight after that summary for Second Sight was being compiled, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: A bit longer than that, it was about month after?

Rodric Williams: I beg your pardon.

Mr Beer: We were looking at 22 April email exchanges and this is 23 May.

Rodric Williams: That’s a month. Thank you for clearing that up.

Mr Beer: This was delivered directly to you, yes?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know if it was delivered directly to me but I received it, as in I can’t remember who else got this or when.

Mr Beer: Can we look at page 31, please.

Rodric Williams: I have it. Yes.

Mr Beer: If we just scroll down a little bit, under “Hardware controls over the Audit Store”:

“The Centera EMC devices used to host Audit Store data have not been configured in the most secure EC+ configuration. As a result system administrators on these boxes may be able to process changes to the data stored within the Audit Store, if other alternative software controls around digital seals, and key management are not adequately segregated from the Centera box administration staff. Privileged access to the cryptographic solution around digital signatures, and publicly available formulas on MD5 hashed digital seals would potentially allow privileged users at Fujitsu to delete a legitimate sealed file, and replacement with a ‘fake’ file in an undetectable manner.”

Then further down at the bottom last bullet point:

“Controls that would detect when a person with authorised privileged access used such access to send a ‘fake’ basket into the digital signing process could not be evidenced to exist.”

When you read the report, did you spot those two points?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know whether they jumped out at the time or not. I don’t.

Mr Beer: You tell us in your witness statement – no need to turn it up – that it’s regrettable but not deliberate that when a statement was made to the BBC –

Rodric Williams: Oh, yes.

Mr Beer: – that it’s not possible for the Post Office or Fujitsu remotely to edit transactions as they were recorded by branches, which was incorrect, that you essentially had missed these –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: – paragraphs, inadvertently missed these paragraphs, in the Deloitte report –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: – is that right?

Rodric Williams: Yes, it is.

Mr Beer: So that’s making incorrect statements to the BBC but what about Second Sight? If we go back to Second Sight, POL00030160. That’s E/24. This is the Second Sight Report of 21 August. If we go forwards to paragraph 11.2 – I’ll let you catch up, e/24.

Rodric Williams: Thanks. I have the document.

Mr Beer: Yes, if we go forwards, please, to page 14 at the bottom. Thank you, you’ve got it.

Rodric Williams: I have it. Thank you.

Mr Beer: “Post Office has confirmed that it is not, and has never been, possible for anyone to access branch data and amend live transactional cash or stock data without the knowledge of subpostmasters or their staff.”

Did you read this Second Sight Report.

Rodric Williams: Yes, but I don’t recall doing it particularly in detail. I’m sure I did and I’m sure I reviewed it but don’t wish to –

Mr Beer: Did what you read there, which does accurately summarise what the Post Office had said to Second Sight, clash with either what you had been told in the email exchange of April 2014 or the knowledge that you had, constructively at least, from the Deloitte report?

Rodric Williams: So, looking at – the consistency point was, as probably noted, as in that it is consistent with the summary that was provided, the interim summary, I think, Andy described it as, in the email. I think, when I – and I re-read this to try to understand why – to try to piece together, for the purposes of this Inquiry, how I missed it, when we look at the – can we go back to the Deloitte report section you took me to earlier –

Mr Beer: Yes, of course. That’s POL00028062.

Rodric Williams: I think it’s –

Mr Beer: Which part do you want to go to?

Rodric Williams: I think it’s page 31, from memory.

Mr Beer: Page 31.

Rodric Williams: Thank you. So when you look at section – and I’d stress, this is something I’ve reconstructed for the purposes of here, so I don’t wish to say this is what I was thinking at the time because I don’t recall, but what was described over the controls over the – of the audit store was that it looked like it would require a deliberate circumvention of controls for that risk, those sorts of transactions, to be entered, you know, it’s – it says sort of if other controls and key management are not adequately segregated – so there’s, you know, that had to be a breakdown – administrative staff with access could basically remove, change and reinsert an entry, but it would require faking a key. So some form of deliberate action, in order to do it. So if we’re starting to get into theoretical extensions. And I think I also saw an email from one of the Deloitte team members who explained this to me in a little bit more detail and he said, “We’re still looking into it and there may be other controls around it, including” –

Mr Beer: After this report they sent an email?

Rodric Williams: I can’t remember whether it was before or after, I’m sorry.

Mr Beer: It was explaining what this meant?

Rodric Williams: Yeah, what that finding was, yes, and it struck me as being unlikely, if I may, and I don’t mean this in a legal sense because I’m not sure whether it is or not, but it would be deliberate wrongful action, it would be a fraudulent action required to do it.

Mr Beer: And, therefore, would be inherently unlikely?

Rodric Williams: That’s what I’m thinking but, as I say, I am reconstructing, I’m sorry.

Mr Beer: Just to explore the logic that you’re reconstructing, why would it be inherently unlikely that a person would commit fraud?

Rodric Williams: Normally you’d do it for personal advantage and I couldn’t see how that would flow from this.

Mr Beer: So, ie they would personally have no gain from it?

Rodric Williams: Correct. What I think I was a bit more interested about is section G, which dealt with the balancing transactions, and the insertion of the additional things that we had been or seeking to flag, and I think we also sought to flag with the BBC as part of this continuous line, but we certainly missed this – I beg your pardon, I certainly missed this.

Mr Beer: Did everyone miss it, to your knowledge?

Rodric Williams: Well, I think others missed it, as well, because others had access to this report.

Mr Beer: Nobody picked it up and nobody corrected the past statements that had been made, either to the BBC or to Second Sight?

Rodric Williams: I think two bits and yes to both.

Mr Beer: Can we go forwards then, please, in the interests of time to POL00091394. That’s E/48. This is an email of 10 October 2014 from Melanie Corfield to a group of people, including you; can you see that? In fact, we had probably better look at page 2 first, and then come to page 1.

Second Sight, so let’s just scroll up to see who was saying what a little bit further. Thank you. Jessica Barker, to a group of people including you, to a draft CRR for case number, M053:

“Some background to this: you will remember that [Second Sight] originally uploaded a draft … some weeks ago, but it transpired that there were some exhibits they had not shared with [Post Office]. With the new exhibits, [Post Office] reinvestigated and produced an updated [report].”

They’re both attached:

“Bond Dickinson will produce the draft response and settlement analysis by [a date] please reply to all with your comments …”

Then if we go to page 1 at the foot of the page, Belinda Crowe says:

“Is this the first which references remote access?”


Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: So the first case in the Mediation Scheme which refers to remote access. Then she says:

“I think we need to pick this up very robustly in our response as this could become public and Second Sight seem to be asking for proof that something didn’t happen.

“… could we dust off our lines on this …”

Then up the page, please. Melanie Corfield says:

“Our current line if we are asked about remote access potentially being used to change branch data/transactions is simply: ‘This is not and never has been possible’.

“This line holds but if we are pressed regarding [Second Sight’s] points about ‘admitting’ there is remote access … we can say: ‘There is no remote access for individual branch transactions’.

“We might get pushed further on it and be asked by media to confirm whether or not there is any remote access. We will need to make the distinction re access as straightforward as we can to suggest: ‘There is no remote access for individual branch transactions. Fujitsu has support access to the “back-end” of the system used for software updates and maintenance. This is of course strictly controlled with security processes in place, but could not, in any event, be used for individual branch transactions – there is no facility at all within the system for this’.”

On the basis of what you’ve been told by the 17 April email and what was in the Deloitte report, those lines to take were not accurate, were they?

Rodric Williams: No, they’re not. We do know there is – sorry, no, they’re not.

Mr Beer: I think, to your knowledge, did anyone point out that those lines to take were not accurate?

Rodric Williams: I know at various times I sought – but I don’t know in the timeline overall. At various times I sought to draw to attention the balancing transaction possibility but not the audit store one we’ve talked about. But I don’t know whether, in connection with this email and the time of it, I don’t know whether that was done or not at that …

Mr Beer: Thank you, Mr Williams.

Sir, that might be an appropriate moment to take the morning break. Can we say until 11.25, please?

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes, certainly.

Mr Beer: Thank you very much.

(11.09 am)

(A short break)

(11.25 am)

Mr Beer: Good morning, sir. Can you see and hear us?

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes, I can thank you.

Mr Beer: Thank you, sir.

Mr Williams, before the break you mentioned an email you received from Deloitte’s and you weren’t sure whether it was before or after their report of 22 May 2014. Can we look at it, please, to try to help you. POL00029728, and that’s B/112 for you.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, B?

Mr Beer: 112.

Rodric Williams: I beg your pardon.

Mr Beer: Can we go to page 3, please. Look at the email at the bottom of the page.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: We can see this is 20 May, if we scroll up a little bit, and it’s your exchange with Mark Westbrook of Deloittes, yes? So we can see it’s before the report?

Rodric Williams: There we go. Thank you.

Mr Beer: You say:

“In the course of preparing your Board Update, you identified an example where ‘a [Horizon] control was not implemented as understood’ …

“I understand you have since done some further work to better understand the risk that this may present to the integrity of the data held in the audit store …

“Can you please send me a summary of this specific technical issue and the controls that are in place … I do not need a narrative on how the issue came to be identified or investigated, just a statement of the current position.”

Just to make clear, this debate you’re having is about Horizon Online only, not looking backwards to the position as it was in Legacy Horizon.

Rodric Williams: I can’t say now but I’m not sure I’d have been making that distinction, although, actually, as I say that, Deloitte were only looking at Horizon Online so, yes, that would be correct.

Mr Beer: Thank you. Then if we look at page 2, and scroll down, please, this is his reply. He says:

“So the key difference for our purposes is that accounts with correct access rights would be able to delete (but not modify existing) Audit Store records …

“This risk should be largely mitigated by the unique sequence numbers …

“There remains a small risk … that some one with the requisite access rights to the ‘digital keys’ used in the sealing process and admin access on the Audit Store could theoretically:

“Delete an Audit Store record …

“Recreate the transactional data that was originally within that Audit Store file to suit whatever purpose they might have …

“Seal it using the correct key to generate a valid seal value.

“Reinsert it into the database (you would need to alter the database of seal values as well to make this change undetectable).

“There is an additional complexity that the transactions themselves … are also digitally sealed by a digital signature.

“The question therefore becomes does anyone have the requisite access to this Centera boxes and rights to key management to be able to exploit this? This is currently with [one of the Fujitsu staff].”

You’d obviously, before receipt of the report, centred on or highlighted for yourself this important issue of remote access –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: – and this exchange all takes place on 20 May, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: So, when you get the report on 22nd May, presumably, having highlighted for yourself the importance of what Deloitte were going to say about remote access, you would especially pay attention to the bit of the report which concerned remote access.

Rodric Williams: I would like to think I did that, and I think that’s fair, probably, yes.

Mr Beer: So how come what we saw on page 31 was missed by you, then?

Rodric Williams: It – well, as I say – I sought to explain, I think – and this tends to support it, and I’m – is that it was a theoretical possibility that had controls around it to mitigate the risk, which was small and was being investigated further. And so, I think off the back of that, I – I clearly went from my mind because I don’t recall it popping up for – when we were being asked later about lines on the remote access, what to say to interested public – interested parts of the public about remote access.

Mr Beer: That’s a slightly different answer to “I inadvertently missed, on page 31 of the Deloitte report, the reference to remote access”. That’s “I did clock it”, speaking colloquially, “but I thought that it was only a theoretical possibility and, therefore, could be dismissed from any answers that we were giving”.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry if I – I’ve if I’ve been imprecise with that. I apologise for that.

Mr Beer: So it’s the latter category: that you realised this form of remote access was possible but, because it was theoretical and you couldn’t understand the motive of anyone that wanted to do this, you put from your mind, when formulating responses, the need to include such a reference?

Rodric Williams: No, I’m stressing this is where I’ve got to having tried to reconstruct the events for the purposes of this Inquiry. So I’m not tying to say that’s was happening at the time. I genuinely don’t recall what happened at the time.

Mr Beer: I understand.

Rodric Williams: But I know I missed it so I wanted to find out why.

Mr Beer: Can we move forward, to the following year, in March 2015 and look at POL00312743. That’s E/126 for you.

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Beer: Can we look at the bottom of the email, please. Thank you. Have you got that?

Rodric Williams: I do, sorry. Thank you.

Mr Beer: It’s an email of 3 March from Andrew Parsons to, amongst others, you. It concerns the case of Wylie, another one of the mediation cases, and Mr Parsons says:

“We’ve been through the prosecution file for … Wylie. There will be further documents to disclose including the attached witness statement [of] Gareth Jenkins. At the top of page 3 [Mr] Jenkins states:

“‘I also note a comment about it being [possible] to remotely access the system. It is true that such access is possible; however in an analysis of data audited by the system, it is possible to identify any data that has not been input directly by staff in the branch. Any such change to data is very rare and would be authorised by Post Office Limited. As I have not had an opportunity to examine data related to this branch, I cannot categorically say this has not happened in this case, but would suggest it is highly unlikely’.”

Then Mr Parsons says:

“I’m pretty certain that [Mr] Jenkins is referring to the Balancing Transaction process that allows [Fujitsu] to input new transactions rather than edit old transactions. Nevertheless, this will be a red rag to Second Sight.

“Can we discuss …”

“I don’t think we need to bottom this out before the [Second Sight] meetings. We’ll just say we are working on reviewing the legal files …”

Then scroll up, please. Stop there. You say:

“This is consistent with our responses/statements about remote access isn’t it, ie you can add data/inject a balancing transaction, and if done ‘it is possible to identify any data that has not been input directly by staff in the Branch’?”

Then scroll up, Mr Parsons says:

“Not quite – we say that transactions entered by [subpostmasters] cannot be edited but we don’t go on to say that [Fujitsu) can input new transactions in exceptional circumstances. This information would therefore be entirely new news to [Second Sight].”

Can you explain what the Post Office did at this stage to explain to Second Sight that Fujitsu could inject new transactions into branch accounts in exceptional circumstances?

Rodric Williams: This one of the documents, I think, that was reasonably late, so I wasn’t able to –

Mr Beer: Sorry, late?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, not late. I didn’t mean to say that. I received it lately, I got it last Friday and, in the time, I haven’t contextualised this to know what we went on to do with this or what I was doing at that time. So I don’t think I can answer your question, I’m sorry.

Mr Beer: Do you think something should have been done to reveal to Second Sight that, in fact, that Fujitsu could inject new transactions in branch accounts in exceptional circumstances?

Rodric Williams: Well, I think that was happening through the balancing transaction issue, which was being – but I don’t know where that sits in the timeline on this. I’m sorry, that’s what I was trying to say around contextualising, I don’t know what we did around that. I recall that we were going to lengths to acknowledge the balancing transaction issue.

Mr Beer: Do you think this is talking about balancing transactions, then?

Rodric Williams: To me, whenever we talked about injecting, that was the balancing transaction. That was putting something new in.

Mr Beer: Can we move on, then, to POL00029843. This is another Simon Clarke advice. It’s dated 27 March 2015.

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Beer: Essentially, it concerns the issue of whether the Deloitte report of May the previous year needs to be disclosed. If you scroll down, he says:

“In this Note, references to the ‘Deloitte Report” are references to Draft 16 of the report …”

In fact, the version there is 23 May.

Rodric Williams: Could I have the reference for this one, please?

Mr Beer: Sorry?

Rodric Williams: Could I have the reference for this one, please?

Mr Beer: Yes, I haven’t got a tab number, I’m sure Mr Stevens will assist. POL00029843, B/174.

Rodric Williams: Thank you. I’m grateful. Thank you.

Mr Beer: The passage which is on screen, paragraph 2:

“Page 31, paragraph ‘g’ of the Deloitte Report identifies a method of posting of ‘Balancing Transactions’, that is, the posting of ‘… additional transactions centrally without the requirement for these transactions to be accepted by the subpostmasters …’ The paragraph goes on to indicate that, ‘Whilst an audit trail is asserted to be in place over these functions, evidence of testing of these features is not available …’

“Later extracts for this paragraph are also of concern:

“‘For Balancing Transactions … we did not identify any controls routinely to monitor all centrally initiated transactions to verify that they are all initiated and actioned through known and governed processes, or controls to reconcile and check data sources which underpin current period transactional reporting for subpostmasters to the audit store record of such activity …

“‘Controls that would detect when a person with authorised privileged access use such access to send a fake basket into the digital signing process could not be evidenced to exist’.”

So he is picking up, essentially, the points that were on page 31 of the Deloitte report.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Agreed?

Rodric Williams: Agreed.

Mr Beer: He says:

“This material is potentially disclosable in cases where a convicted defendant has raised, as part of his defence … the suggestion that …”

Scroll down, please:

“[Post Office] or some other third party had manipulated, interfered with or otherwise compromised Horizon; or

“Horizon had created or was the victim of a system generated but inexplicable loss/entry/transaction(s); or

“The defendant simply had no idea how the relevant loss arose.”

When you read this advice, as I think it was sent to you, did you return to the Deloitte report to consider the extracts identified by Mr Clarke in context?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall doing that, no. I may have done but I don’t recall doing that.

Mr Beer: You, I think, tell us in your witness statement that it wasn’t until the Swift Review that you became aware of the conclusion of the Deloitte report on page 31 as to remote access. I’m summarising your witness statement.

Rodric Williams: I’ve said what I’ve said in my statement on that.

Mr Beer: What was done as a result of this advice by you?

Rodric Williams: So by me, I think – I think I tried to describe part of my role, when I, say, didn’t have the capacity to deal with matters, I would try and ensure that the legal support to address it for the business was picked up by those we were instructing or available to deal with it.

So I don’t recall taking this forward but I think you can see from this, I sought to join up Womble Bond Dickinson, who were supporting Post Office on issues arising out of the scheme, the Mediation Scheme, with Cartwright King, to make sure that those developments were properly considered from a criminal perspective, as long as I could see that direction of travel, I left them to it, I think.

Mr Beer: To your recollection, was it really only until Jonathan Swift in 2016 identified the importance of the Deloitte conclusion that the Post Office, so far as you were aware, woke up to the importance of the Deloitte report?

Rodric Williams: The report on the audit store access?

Mr Beer: Yes.

Rodric Williams: That’s my evidence. That’s what I recall now, so yes, it is, and I regret it, I promise.

Mr Beer: So, to your knowledge, quite a few people missed this?

Rodric Williams: I think if we see Simon had the same report and is focused on the balancing transaction section when the audit store piece is equally above it. But I can’t speak for Simon on that, I’m sorry. That’s just something I noticed when I was looking at it recently.

Mr Beer: Can we turn to what happened when maybe the penny started to drop, at E/19 for you, for us POL00028057.

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Beer: This is a note of an internal meeting attended by three members of Deloitte, including Mr Westbrook, with whom you’d exchanged emails, and four members of the Post Office. It doesn’t include you, yes?

Rodric Williams: I can see the document.

Mr Beer: It concerns Project Sparrow and the Chairman’s report recommendations. After “Introductions”, if we can scroll down to paragraph 2, under the “Legally privileged character of proposed work and the applicability of Non-Disclosure Agreement(s)”:

“[Mr Bourke] articulated the importance of being able to assert Legal Privilege over any piece(s) of work that were commissioned in response to the recommendations included in the Chairman’s report.”

Did you have any part of drawing up or involvement in the Chairman’s report.

Rodric Williams: I did have involvement in the Chairman’s report, yes.

Mr Beer: Can you explain what the Chairman’s report was, then?

Rodric Williams: Yes, sorry – and I might need some help with the dates because they do blur. I think it was sometime in, is it mid-2015, August 2015, maybe? Around that time, I think the – we had – Post Office had a new incoming Chair, called Tim Parker, who I understood had been asked by certainly a minister with responsibility – some form of responsibility or oversight of connection to Post Office – to look into the postmaster Horizon complainants to see whether – see what had taken – what had been done to date and whether anything more ought to be done.

And, off the back of that, the Chairman decided to undertake a review of those actions to see what else could be done. In shorthand, it was a sort of gap analysis, I think. But that may not be a fair description of it. That’s one way I looked at it.

Mr Beer: Here Mr Bourke was setting out the importance of being able to assert legal privilege over work that was commissioned in response to recommendations included in that report, yes?

Can you recall having been tasked to produce a document following that note there?

Rodric Williams: Er –

Mr Beer: If you look –

Rodric Williams: Directly in response to –

Mr Beer: If you look at the second page.

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall seeing this note before. I may have been sent it but don’t have any recollection of this and it’s …

Mr Beer: If we look at the second page.

Rodric Williams: Oh, here we go. Thank you.

Mr Beer: Mr Whitton, I think that is:

“Andrew asked, referencing his email [to you], that a [Frequently Asked Questions] type document which addresses how to maintain Legal Privilege be produced, and whether the existing [non-disclosure agreement] with Deloitte would suffice for this … piece of work or [whether]:

“The letter of engagement from the June 2014 work could be reused/tweaked.

“It would be necessary for new [non-disclosure agreements] and engagement letters would be required.

“[Post Office] said it would confirm this with its General Counsel.”

Do you recall being tasked, after this meeting, 4 February 2016 with the production of an FAQ document addressing how to maintain legal privilege?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, just two things. We’ve referenced an email to me that don’t recall seeing but the answer to your question is I don’t recall being tasked with that, no.

Mr Beer: Can you recall discussion at the time of how important it was that, either through a non-disclosure agreement and/or legal privilege, work conducted by Deloitte should enjoy protection from disclosure?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall that specifically but I do think it’s right to say that Post Office was keen to be able to assert privilege if appropriate over Deloitte’s work. I think that –

Mr Beer: Why was that?

Rodric Williams: Because it’s – I think there was, by sort of February 2016 – well, there’s a – two things. One – well, I don’t actually know what the work is here, so I don’t know what the meeting is, so I don’t know there – but there is – at this time, we are very, very close to the Group Litigation starting. We may have had contact from Freeths by this time. I think, over a year before, there’d been a press release around the time that the Mediation Scheme was breaking up that, I think, Edwin Coe had been consulted about a claim, so there’s this feeling that litigation was imminent.

Mr Beer: So it was that legal proceedings were in contemplation, or you thought in the minds of others they were in contemplation?

Rodric Williams: For the purpose of privilege, I’m not necessarily sure because we need to look at it but there was a feeling that we were going to get sued. In fact, it may have been more than that, there may have been strong indications by this time but, again, I haven’t been able to contextualise this particular (unclear), so I’m worried I’m over reaching with my memory.

Mr Beer: Okay, thank you, that can come down and you can put it back in your file.

At this time, was any action taken to correct the statements that had been made either to the BBC or to Second Sight?

Rodric Williams: No. I don’t know about – probably not – I don’t recall any steps being taken. I definitely don’t think any went to the BBC. I don’t know what the engagement with Second Sight was at that time but I suspect it was minimal.

Mr Beer: Do you know why such – if it is the case that no steps were taken to correct statements that had been made, why that was?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know why we didn’t do something. I’m sorry.

Mr Beer: The last topic from me, please. Were you a party to discussions over the use of Gareth Jenkins as a witness in the Group Litigation?

Rodric Williams: I believe I was, yes.

Mr Beer: Can we turn up paragraph 240, please, of your witness statement, which is page 122. So 240 is at the foot of the page and you say that:

“A conference was held in September 2018 to discuss whether to rely on Gareth Jenkins as a witness at the Horizon Issues Trial. I attended that conference, along with counsel for the Horizon Issues Trial, Anthony de Garr Robinson [Queen’s Counsel] and Simon Henderson of counsel, Simon Clarke and Martin Smith of Cartwright King and Andy Parsons of [Womble Bond Dickinson]. As can be seen from [an email], there was a concern about using Gareth Jenkins as a witness in the Horizon Issues Trial given his previous role as a prosecution witness, and Simon Clarke’s advice to [the Post Office] was that his credibility as an expert witness had been ‘fatally undermined’.”

Just stopping there, as far as I’m aware, we haven’t got a note of that conference – at least I haven’t been able to find one – despite the number of lawyers that were there. But can we look, please, at your view before you attended the conference, by looking at POL00042015, which is B/280.

Rodric Williams: Yes, thank you.

Mr Beer: Have you got it?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: It’s an email from you to Mr Clarke, Mr Smith and Mr Parsons, ahead of the conference and you say:

“… in advance of the con with counsel on Monday, please see the email below and attachments …”

Then if we scroll down, so you can just get some context, and then keep reading, and then scroll down, please.

Then at the bottom of the page:

“In terms of evidence from [Fujitsu], we believe we will need …”

Three categories of evidence are set out:

“Having spoken to [Fujitsu], there are parts of points 2 and 3 that any Gareth Jenkins can realistically provide …

“To be clear, Gareth would be called as a witness of fact. He will be providing descriptive evidence of systems and [procedures], and perhaps his investigations certain bugs. He is not being asked to give an opinion. The opinion will be given by our expert witness, Dr Robert Worden, based on the factual foundations set [out] by the witness evidence of [Fujitsu] …

“The con … will be with Tony Robinson and Simon Henderson … The purpose of the [conference] is to discuss the risks of using Gareth Jenkins as a witness given his previous role as a prosecution witness.”

Thank you. Before this conference, I think you probably knew that Mr Jenkins had been regarded by the Post Office as a witness who had breached his expert duties and was being blamed by the Post Office for the need to review some convictions. Were you, before the conference, proceeding on the basis that Mr Jenkins would be a witness in the civil proceedings?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, there was a big run-up. Sorry, I lost you when you said we were looking to blame Gareth Jenkins. I’m not sure that’s correct. Can I have – I lost you on the question, sorry. My head went to –

Mr Beer: Before the conference, were you proceeding on the basis, as Mr Parsons set out, that Gareth Jenkins would be called as a witness?

Rodric Williams: No, I think we were proceeding on the basis that he wouldn’t.

Mr Beer: This suggests the opposite, doesn’t it, before the conference? This says he is going to be called as a witness.

Rodric Williams: Well, I think the purpose of it was whether he is or isn’t. The purpose of this conference was to determine whether he would or wouldn’t.

Mr Beer: You tell us in your witness statement that a firm view was taken at the conference that the Post Office should not rely on Mr Jenkins because of “his previous involvement as a witness in the post office prosecutions”, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: Was that the decision that was effectively taken?

Rodric Williams: I believe so, yes.

Mr Beer: Was any decision taken at that conference as to what use Mr Jenkins would be put to behind the scenes?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall, but –

Mr Beer: This can come down from the screen. Thank you.

Rodric Williams: Quite possibly, yes. Because it was – all I recall – I don’t recall the specifics but I remember it being – there were a few lawyers in the room, as you pointed out – a fairly full discussion of what the issue was and how it might play out. I confess I don’t remember the detail but it’s possible that was, yes.

Mr Beer: Was there any discussion or a decision made that Mr Jenkins should be a form of shadow expert witness and contribute indirectly to the Post Office’s case by, for example, feeding information to witnesses that it did choose to call at the trial?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall – again, this bit in there – the phrase – I don’t recall “shadow expert” being used at all. I don’t recall – you’re quite specific about what went – I don’t quite recall what was discussed, but just thinking about it now, it’s sort of – it’s an obvious question: if we’re not getting evidence from him, how does Post Office present the evidence it needs; if it needs evidence, and it would have come from Mr Jenkins, how else does it get?

So if he – Gareth – was, as he, is, you know, the architect – I think the original architect of the system, it’s possible he would need to provide information that the Fujitsu witnesses could provide but I don’t recall whether that was discussed in the conference or not.

Mr Beer: Taking a step back from the narrow confines of the conference, what was your understanding of the use to which Mr Jenkins would be put in the course of the Group Litigation?

Rodric Williams: He would be available to provide technical evidence to Fujitsu witnesses to enable them to give their evidence, in the Group Litigation.

Mr Beer: The Post Office had dropped him as a witness, hadn’t they –

Rodric Williams: Yes, I think that’s fair, yes.

Mr Beer: – back in 2014 –

Rodric Williams: Oh, yes, definitely.

Mr Beer: – 2013?

Rodric Williams: For prosecutions, yes.

Mr Beer: They’d done so because they’d been advised that he’d breached his duties to the court –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: – and he was a tainted witness?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Beer: What measures, guardrails, were put in place, for his use behind the scenes in the Group Litigation?

Rodric Williams: I wasn’t close enough to that work to know. I’m sorry.

Mr Beer: To your knowledge, were any such measures put in place – guardrails, as I called them?

Rodric Williams: Not to my knowledge, but I don’t know whether they were or weren’t.

Mr Beer: Yes, Mr Williams. Thank you very much indeed.

Sir, the order, I think, has been agreed between the Core Participants that Mr Henry first, then Mr Jacobs, and then Mr Moloney.

Ah, I’ve just been told that we need a five-minute break before the questions start.

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes, well, that’s fine because, by my time piece, it’s getting close to 12.00 so that if we have a five-minute break, then Mr Henry will have the opportunity to ask questions until 12.50, or thereabouts, and then we’ll break for lunch, yes.

Mr Beer: Thank you very much, sir.

(11.58 am)

(A short break)

(12.05 pm)

Mr Beer: Sir, good afternoon can you see and hear us now?

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes, I can, thank you.

Mr Beer: I think there are some people who are still finding their seats. Yes, I think it’s Mr Henry to start.

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes.

Questioned by Mr Henry

Mr Henry: May I begin, sir?

Sir Wyn Williams: Of course, yes.

Mr Henry: Thank you so much.

You’re your lawyer?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: Not a fixer?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know what you mean by “fixer”.

Mr Henry: Well, you’re not a spin doctor, are you? You owe duties to the court?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: You also have duties established under your code of conduct, don’t you?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: In representing your employer, the Post Office, during the period 2012 to 2021, did you discharge those duties at all times?

Rodric Williams: I certainly sought to.

Mr Henry: Did you discharge them faithfully?

Rodric Williams: I would hope so. I believe I did.

Mr Henry: I strongly suggest you did not and that you know you did not; what do you say to that?

Rodric Williams: I – well, I’d like to know why you think that.

Mr Henry: I strongly suggest you did not because you were part of the suppression, obstruction and covering-up of people’s Article 6 appellate rights, weren’t you?

Rodric Williams: There’s a lot in that. I’m sorry, I haven’t – I don’t even have the Article in front of me.

Mr Henry: You knew that the CCRC, eventually, after years of delay, were dependent on the outcome of the Horizon Issues judgment, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know what the CCRC’s investigation or timeline was, I’m sorry. That’s the CCRC’s work.

Mr Henry: Well, we’ll come to that in a moment because I suggest that you knew very well how the CCRC were progressing matters and how people on your behalf had been dripping poison in their ears about there being an explanation for everything to do with the complaints that the subpostmasters had made.

Let’s start off with something surely which is uncontroversial. By 2015, any reasonable prosecutor or respondent would have had questions about Horizon’s integrity at the forefront of their collective minds, wouldn’t they?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: I want you to go, please, to your bundle, B/202, and for us it’s POL00101968.

Rodric Williams: 202 was that?

Mr Henry: B/202.

Rodric Williams: Thank you, sir.

Mr Henry: Could you turn to page 3 of B/202.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: Do you see an email there from Jarnail Singh, dated 8 January 2015?

Sir Wyn Williams: Sorry, Mr Henry, it’s not on the screen yet and I’m following it on the screen.

Now, it is, thank you. Yes.

Mr Henry: I’ll be very grateful if one could go to page 3 of that document.

Could we go down to the bottom, please. Yes, Jarnail Singh. Do you see, in the second paragraph:

“Whilst Post Office wish to say that there are no systemic faults, the Second Sight Interim Report which has been disclosed to the defendants and their legal representatives does mention two defects/bugs which give rise to 76 branches being affected by incorrect balances or transactions.”

It is described as “systemic but not system wide”.

Then let’s omit words, and could you go a few lines down, and you’ll see it’s in the middle of the body of that paragraph:

“The difficulty here is made worse by the fact that Garth [not Gareth but ‘Garth’] Jenkins, an employee of Fujitsu, has been making statements for use in criminal proceedings which made no references to the very bugs which it is understood he told Second Sight about. People were prosecuted and pleaded guilty following the receipt of his statement which implied no bugs had been found. Of course it would be highly embarrassing for POL were it to be suggested that Fujitsu had informed some part of POL and that information never reached the Security Team.”

Do you see all of that?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: This, of course, was in connection with the BBC Inside Out request for an interview, wasn’t it? We can see that on the subject line.

Rodric Williams: That is in the subject line, yes.

Mr Henry: Now – and I’m going to suggest to you in the strongest terms – by this time, you were aware of the problems, of course, with Gareth Jenkins, weren’t you?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: You were also aware of the bugs that Second Sight had concentrated upon –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: – and I suggest you were also aware, or people in your Legal Department were aware, of remote access. So there was a constellation of difficulties facing the Post Office, wasn’t there?

Rodric Williams: There were – I don’t know what a “constellation of difficulties” is, I’m sorry.

Mr Henry: You know perfectly well it’s to do with Second Sight, it’s to do with Gareth Jenkins and the Clarke Advice and it’s to do with the fact that there were people in your department who knew about remote access.

Rodric Williams: The first two bits, I say yes. The remote access in 2015, I’m afraid I can’t quite remember where we are in the timeline on remote access there. So I can’t say yes or no to that, I’m sorry.

Mr Henry: We’ll come to remote access later on. This how you dealt with it, so you had Jarnail Singh at 15:51 – can we go to page 1 of the document now, please, and could we go down to your response on 8 January 2015. Do you see, this is what you say:

“All – how about this:

“‘Only a court can overturn a criminal conviction’”, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Go to the next paragraph:

“‘Post Office is acutely aware of the duties imposed on it when it brings a prosecution, and is confident that it has acted in accordance with those duties at all times’.”

You knew perfectly well that that wasn’t true.

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t, because I go on to say – I put it to the criminal lawyers, Jarnail Singh and Martin Smith, saying – well, to Jarnail, I say, copying Martin, and saying, “does that work?” Then I go on to say:

“… we don’t want to refer to the review … because it will just open up another line of inquiry …”

So I don’t think I knew, which is why I put it to the criminal lawyers, who I felt should or could know.

Mr Henry: Did they suggest that that was unwise –

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall what the response was.

Mr Henry: – because we’ve already heard about misleading briefings to the BBC, haven’t we, when Mr Beer was asking you questions. You knew perfectly well, when you wrote that, that that wasn’t true, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: No, I – I – I – no, I don’t agree. I wrote that because I think that’s what I understood the position to be. I think it is fair that we were acutely aware of the duties imposed because we’d taken quite a bit of advice on that. Action had been taken as a consequence of that, and that’s why – that formed the foundation for the confidence that it had acted in accordance with those duties. But I was quite keen not make that statement – or that statement not be made until those better placed to understand it were in place to respond, which is why we put the criminal lawyers on there.

Mr Henry: You knew perfectly well that POL had failed in its duties of disclosure?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: You knew perfectly well that it had relied on a liar and a perjurer to convict innocent people?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know that those necessarily follow. I knew that part of this was the evidence that had been provided was not reliable but, in the criminal law context, I just don’t know to what extent or how.

Mr Henry: Come off it. You’d read the papers. You’d had Seema Misra’s papers on your desk from 2012. You knew perfectly well that he had given evidence in Seema Misra’s trial and that he was instrumental – he was, in fact, the only reason why she’d been convicted.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, I don’t know those things.

Mr Henry: Let’s go to your E/95, POL00155539. Could we go through the document, please. That’s your note book from the Bates & Others v Post Office trial, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, can I have bundle reference, please?

Mr Henry: It’s E/95.

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Henry: Could we go to the text, please. Thank you. Have you got it now?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I’m sorry, the page number?

Mr Henry: It’s the first page “Horizon Issues Trial”, 5 June 2019.

Rodric Williams: Sorry first page – oh, got you. Sorry. Thank you.

Mr Henry: Do you see in parenthesis:

“[Question mark] PEAK on Misra F/333 [arrow] Go to CCRC?”

Then beneath that “Check [with] Mandy”; do you see that?

Rodric Williams: I do.

Mr Henry: Mandy Talbot, correct?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know. There may have been a Mandy in the WBD team who was working on that.

Mr Henry: Do you know Mandy Talbot?

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t.

Mr Henry: You don’t. Well, who was Mandy, “Check with Mandy”?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, I don’t recall at the moment.

Mr Henry: Right. Let’s just take stock here. This is now 2019. From 2013 onwards you had the Russian doll, didn’t you, of the Cartwright King review, the Altman review on top of the Cartwright King review and then the Bond Dickinson review of Altman’s work. Correct?

Rodric Williams: I don’t believe Bond Dickinson reviewed Brian Altman’s work.

Mr Henry: You just said that earlier today in questions put to you by Counsel to the Inquiry, that his review was being reviewed by Bond Dickinson?

Rodric Williams: If that’s how it came across, and I’m sorry, I don’t recall Bond Dickinson – I think they assisted in ensuring Brian could review Cartwright King’s review but I don’t recall instructing Bond Dickinson. They weren’t criminal lawyers, so that wouldn’t have made sense.

Mr Henry: Well, did you make a mistake, I mean –

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry if I did. That’s what I’m trying to say. I don’t believe that would be my – I don’t recall Bond Dickinson reviewing Cartwright King – sorry, I don’t recall Bond Dickinson reviewing Brian’s review of Cartwright King’s review.

Mr Henry: Well, there will be a transcript –

Sir Wyn Williams: What Mr Henry has in mind is that Mr Parsons – I think it was Mr Parsons – wrote an email making suggestions after Mr Altman had produced his view and I take it, Mr Henry, that’s what you’re referring to, is it?

Mr Henry: Sir, that’s correct.

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes.

Rodric Williams: I can probably answer. That was – sorry, because I’d like to make sure my first stuff is understood. My understanding of the way the questioning came – and again I’m sorry if this hasn’t come through – is that – and I think it was Gavin Matthews, sir, who may have written that email from Bond Dickinson, but it may equally have been Andy. That came, I think, in response to Brian’s initial assessment or his first look –

Mr Henry: Do you work closely with him?

Rodric Williams: With whom?

Mr Henry: Brian.

Rodric Williams: I’ve – I’ve described as – we’ve – we’ve worked together or he’s been instructed by Post Office on matters where I’ve attended on and off since –

Mr Henry: First name terms?

Rodric Williams: When I meet him, yes. I would say “Hello, Brian”.

Mr Henry: When did you last meet him?

Rodric Williams: I think it was at the conclusion of the Hamilton & Others Court of Appeal Criminal Division hearings.

Mr Henry: When did you last speak to him?

Rodric Williams: From memory, I think, probably back then. I don’t believe I’ve spoken to him since but I may have done.

Mr Henry: Let me return to the words in parenthesis:

“?PEAK on Misra F/333 Go to CCRC?”

The Post Office was fighting the GLO tooth and claw because you all knew that, if you lost the civil litigation, a cascade of criminal appeals would follow, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall turning my mind to that at the time, no.

Mr Henry: I suggest you’re lying. There was a strategy in the GLO which was coordinated with the pending appeals, wasn’t there: fight it at all costs?

Rodric Williams: There was certainly discussion around appeals over the Common Issues judgment at that time, yes.

Mr Henry: Even recuse the judge to put a spanner in the works?

Rodric Williams: Post Office made an application to recuse the managing judge, yes.

Mr Henry: Why did you need to check with whoever Mandy was to disclose to the CCRC something blindingly obvious, the PEAK in Seema Misra’s case, which was not disclosed to her before she was convicted?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know, this is – this is my notebook of the trial, so you can see in the right-hand column, I sort of draw a line and I try and put references to the transcripts so I can come back, so these were issues arising from the trial that may or may not have required check – that’s my shorthand of live evidence, so it’s –

Mr Henry: Why did you need a question mark? It was blindingly obvious.

Rodric Williams: It may have – I – it clearly wasn’t because I put a question mark.

Mr Henry: I suggest that this, again, was part of the cynical “Can we delay, can we get away with it”, mentality. What do you say to that?

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t know how square brackets in my notebook feeds into a delay tactic. I’m –

Mr Henry: You say you didn’t at any stage adopt a cynical approach to disclosure.

Rodric Williams: I don’t believe I said that, no.

Mr Henry: Let us go to your document B/182, which is POL00103238.

Rodric Williams: Which number, sorry?

Mr Henry: B/182.

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Henry: Could we go, please, to page 2. This is you writing to Andrew Parsons, Andrew Pheasant and Gavin Matthews, and they’re all of Bond Dickinson, aren’t they?

Rodric Williams: Yes, they are.

Mr Henry: Right. Let’s omit the first paragraph.

Rodric Williams: I do apologise.

Mr Henry: B/182.

Rodric Williams: I am sorry. Yes, I have it. Thank you.

Mr Henry: Do you see the first paragraph:

“I’d like to start thinking about whether and how we can start forcing the issue with the CCRC …”

Do you see that?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: Also you use the expression:

“I’m also conscious about the noise about the receipt payment mismatch issue and its effect on Misra, to which the document requests may be linked.”

That, of course, was, as we can see from the rest of the document – no need to take you to it – the CCRC’s attempts to get information from the Post Office; do you agree with that?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: Do you agree “noise” is dismissive?

Rodric Williams: I didn’t mean to be, it’s – it’s a shorthand email that I think was sent from a BlackBerry that tried to summarise what was communication/discussion generally, and I’m – I – well, that’s just how I use it.

Mr Henry: It’s dismissive, isn’t it, in tone: it’s just “noise”?

Rodric Williams: I didn’t say “it’s just noise”, I said – I don’t know what more I can say. That’s the word I chose to use, to –

Mr Henry: You were hoping, by any means, to bring the CCRC proceedings to an abrupt halt, weren’t you?

Rodric Williams: No.

Mr Henry: Let’s go to page 1. There are four bullet points, aren’t there?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: Mm. Now, you recall that this is 2016 and the very issue that you’ve described as “noise”, the receipts and payments mismatch issue, the Court of Appeal in Hamilton saw that that was a key ground of appeal. You don’t disagree with that, do you?

Rodric Williams: I agree with it, yes.

Mr Henry: Yes. The Post Office didn’t have a leg to stand on and you knew that from May 2016, with Tim McCormack’s Freedom of Information request, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: I think there are two bits, you gave me a date and an item. So on the first piece, I didn’t know – I’ve never known about the safety of convictions. I’m not a criminal lawyer. The second piece, you’ve referred to an email which might –

Mr Henry: You know perfectly well what I’m referring to because you were taken to it by Counsel to the Inquiry.

Rodric Williams: I’ve been taken –

Mr Henry: I’m talking about Mr McCormack’s Freedom of Information request where he spoon fed all you needed to know about the injustice that Seema Misra had suffered?

Rodric Williams: Well, I’d be grateful if I could be taken to the document.

Mr Henry: I’ll take you to it in due course.

Rodric Williams: Okay. Thank you.

Mr Henry: But you were already aware of that because he’d sent it on 20 May 2016. Let’s go to page 1 of your B/182.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: I put to you that you were trying to frustrate and bring the CCRC proceedings to a close by any means possible; do you disagree?

Rodric Williams: I do disagree.

Mr Henry: Let’s have a look at the advice you receive. Number 1 bullet point:

“Push them on their jurisdiction to take this action … which was slightly tenuous at the start.”

So challenge and push the CCRC on their jurisdiction, correct?

Rodric Williams: That’s been put forward as a possible area to develop, yes.

Mr Henry: “Apply some political pressure [Business Innovation and Skills]/MoJ.”

The Ministry of Justice, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, as was, you were going to try, or at least that was the advice you received, to get them to bully the CCRC, correct?

Rodric Williams: No, that’s reading a lot into it.

Mr Henry: “Political pressure”.

Rodric Williams: These are bullet points for discussion.

Mr Henry: Oh, I see, just to discuss:

“Tell the CCRC [this is number 3] that you are coming under increasing pressure internally to know when the CCRC is likely to have completed its findings – Can Amanda help?”

That was Amanda Pearce of the CCRC, wasn’t it?

Rodric Williams: I would think so, yes.

Mr Henry: Because you’d schmoozed her, hadn’t you?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know what –

Mr Henry: You’d developed a very good rapport. That’s why it was being suggested that you were trying to get Amanda to help you.

Rodric Williams: She was our contact point, so if we were to raise that issue with her, she would be the contact point.

Mr Henry: Then finally this, effectively: tell the CCRC that they must decide this before the civil matter, close it down before the civil matter or get the criminal claimants stayed.

That’s a fair summary of bullet point 4, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: I – it’s not what – well, bullet point 4 is, I think, sufficiently summarised.

Mr Henry: You don’t disagree, though, that that’s what it is? You know:

“… real danger that any delay in the CCRC investigation will cause those claimants cases to be stayed pending the result, ie the CCRC investigation may hold up some of the civil case.”

That’s what you were trying to do. You were trying to bring –

Rodric Williams: Again, I think – you’re – I don’t agree with your interpretation of these documents because they’re trying to import on to me things that – it’s just my – where I was, just weren’t the case. If we go back to – what I’d said is I’d go on – we’d had another request for information from – and I think this is what I said yesterday on the same lines – line of questioning – we’d received another request for specific detailed, as Mr Beer put to me, questions.

I thought it was time to – and I said quite thickly(?), “I’d like to start thinking about whether and how we can force the issue”, the key part is whether and following that how, part of that is we’d be engaging with the CCRC for quite some time and it struck me, off the back of this – and I checked my dates when I was preparing my statement because think I was on my way back from holiday to receive this – this was an opportune time, particularly in the summer break, because it’s August, I think – are we approaching – is the approach we’ve been taking to date of cooperation, support but leaving them to get on with it, is it the right one? Let’s kick the tyres and see if it is still right and, to the best of my recollection, we did not change that approach.

Mr Henry: You knew they were in disarray, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: Who was “they” sorry?

Mr Henry: The CCRC?

Rodric Williams: I did not know that, no.

Mr Henry: Let’s go to page 2 of B/182. Amanda Pearce to you, bullet point 2:

“We are trying to locate the transaction logs for the Misra case”, et cetera, et cetera.

Omit words.

Let’s go over to bullet point 2 on page 3:

“We’ve seen a number of references to the ‘Receipts and Payments Mismatch Problem’ which we think has also been referred to as the Callendar Square/Falkirk problem.”

Well, they weren’t right about that, were they? I mean, they were in complete disarray, weren’t they?

Rodric Williams: No, I –

Mr Henry: Bullet point 3 –

Rodric Williams: I can’t speak for the CCRC and that was never my impression of them, no.

Mr Henry: You knew from your position of knowledge that they were nowhere near being ready to determine these cases. You knew, from your knowledge, it’s obvious from reading that, that they were not apprised of important information or had misunderstood important information. I want to come now to the Seema Misra case. I’m going to ask you to confirm that you were aware of that case and Gareth Jenkins’ part in it from a very early stage, weren’t you?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: In fact, on 1 July 2013, you were aware that Gareth Jenkins was a witness in Seema Misra’s trial because Jarnail Singh had sent an email to you and to Hugh Flemington.

Rodric Williams: Could – are you going to ask me a question on that email?

Mr Henry: Well, if you want to see it, I’ll put it to you. It’s POL00031352. You won’t have it in your bundle but you will be able to see it in much larger font on the screen.

Rodric Williams: I think this is in my bundle. It looks – ah, yes. Yes, I have seen it.

Mr Henry: So 1 July 2013, paragraph 3:

“We instructed our own expert, Gareth Jenkins, from Fujitsu. This was a turning point in the case”, et cetera, et cetera.

Paragraph 4:

“… Professor McLachlan conceded that all of the theoretical problems he had raised were now irrelevant. He abandoned most of his theories after being assisted to a better understanding by Mr Jenkins”, et cetera, et cetera.

So, again, you knew, certainly no later than the 1 July, that Gareth Jenkins was absolutely instrumental.

Now, it’s fair to say, isn’t it, that, even without this email, the Misra and Castleton cases were of interest to Second Sight and anything of interest to Second Sight was of interest to you, correct?

Rodric Williams: I can’t speak for Second Sight and I don’t know if “you” as me personally or “you” Post Office because there might be a different answer. Can you ask me the question again, sorry?

Mr Henry: Don’t worry.

Do you remember yesterday saying that it was important to keep things under review?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I think – I said it.

Mr Henry: Because your role involved detail, didn’t it, distilling and appreciating the significance of information you received?

Rodric Williams: Certainly distilling, detail sometimes, yes, sometimes no.

Mr Henry: You can’t distil something without appreciating it, can you, because, of course, distilling something means you have to comprehend it and reduce it to précis?

Rodric Williams: Hopefully, yes.

Mr Henry: Exactly. Now, you’d read the advice of Simon Clarke dated 15 July regarding Gareth Jenkins, the very same day it was written, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: It was certainly around the same time, it would have been fairly close to it. I don’t remember precisely but when –

Mr Henry: It was apocalyptic, wasn’t it? I mean, you knew that he was a fatally discredited witness, who was a key witness for the Post Office in numerous cases and that this would have a profound impact on historic prosecutions. You knew all of that.

Rodric Williams: Well, I knew the advice, yes.

Mr Henry: Right. So you knew by 15 July that he was a liar, that he failed in his duty to the court and that he was bankrupt credibility. Is that why you, on the 22 July, were concerned about a holding letter to the CCRC – so a week later, a holding letter to the CCRC and also notifying the Post Office’s insurers?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, 22 July of which year?

Mr Henry: A week after you’d read that advice –

Rodric Williams: A week, sorry. So ‘13, yes.

Mr Henry: A week after you’d read that advice, you were concerned about drafting a holding letter to the CCRC and also you were concerned in relation to the question of notification to the Post Office’s insurers. You must remember that?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, I remember the second bit. I’m sorry you’re taking me to documents in time – and I’ve looked at a lot over a long period in the last few days and I’m struggling to follow and I am sorry for that but I am trying to follow you. Can you break it – break it down a bit?

Mr Henry: I don’t need to take you to the document it’s a matter of record. I’m just going to come back to the Clarke Advice.

Rodric Williams: Okay, thank you.

Mr Henry: The Clarke Advice, did it not strike you that Seema Misra’s solicitor should be informed immediately?

Rodric Williams: No, I – I think that was the very first engagement I’d had with the criminal law process, let alone specific cases. But there are criminal lawyers looking at these matters and advising the company. That wouldn’t have been my role.

Mr Henry: Look, let’s please not dissemble. We know from your handwritten documents of your discussion with Martin Smith, dated 2 September 2013, your E/96, that you must have had carriage of this because, otherwise, you would not be discussing the matter with Martin Smith.

Rodric Williams: The heading of the note is that the only piece of carriage I had was how Post Office would engage with Fujitsu over that. That was my carriage of this. I’m not a criminal lawyer. I couldn’t comment on what to do with that.

Mr Henry: That note, I suggest, which is your E/96, POL00155555, obviously and completely undermines your suggestion that this was nothing to do with you and that it was all to do with the criminal lawyers?

Rodric Williams: In terms of giving criminal advice to the company on what to do in response to the Second Sight Report, I do not believe I gave any advice to the company.

Mr Henry: You had liaison with Brian Altman, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: I attended conferences with him and then later on I had – I would say liaison, yes.

Mr Henry: Can we scroll up please, can we scroll up. I want to – sorry, if we could scroll up so we can see further down in the notes and further down, please, further down, and further down, and further down.

Do you see that, “LS to come to BAQC”; is that Legal Services.

Rodric Williams: I think that’s Lesley Sewell, who was the Chief Information Officer.

Mr Henry: I see, right. So you were involved in relation to that?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know what the “that” is. I don’t believe Lesley came to the conference –

Mr Henry: Well, arranging the consultation with Mr Altman with the Chief Information Officer.

Rodric Williams: Yeah, I have a funny feeling that’s probably missing a question mark because Lesley didn’t come to any conferences or consultations with Brian, as far as I remember it.

Mr Henry: So I suggest to you that you didn’t just read the Clarke advice and put it away, that you were involved in dealing with the fallout?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I helped Post Office manage it, as part of a number of people. I’d hope I’d been clear about that.

Mr Henry: Part of that fallout of course was drafting a letter before claim, wasn’t it?

Rodric Williams: I can’t remember whether I drafted it. That was something that was drafted, yes.

Mr Henry: Was that letter before claim sent?

Rodric Williams: I don’t believe so, no.

Mr Henry: You don’t believe so –

Rodric Williams: In fact, I do not believe it was sent.

Mr Henry: You don’t believe it was sent?

Rodric Williams: If that’s clear.

Mr Henry: Can we go to that letter before action, POL00140620, at your E/77.

Rodric Williams: Thank you, sir.

Mr Henry: Can we go a little bit further up, please, and over – a little bit further up. A little bit further up. Right. Do you see, just above “Fujitsu’s obligations” – you drafted this letter?

Rodric Williams: From the font, it looks like a Womble Bond Dickinson produced document, a Bond Dickinson piece, so –

Mr Henry: So Bond Dickinson did?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know but it looks like their format, and I think they did. I think they did, yes.

Mr Henry: Was there a little bit – I mean, I know that it wasn’t sent but was there a little bit of a puff:

“In a number of cases, Post Office has now been forced to stop prosecutions [correct] and notify these disclosure failures to Defence Counsel in cases where subpostmasters have already been convicted.”

You would have known that that wasn’t the truth, wouldn’t you?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, which part?

Mr Henry: “… and notify these disclosure failures to Defence Counsel in cases where subpostmasters have already been convicted.”

Rodric Williams: Looking at that, I think that reflects what I’ve understood to be going on with Cartwright King’s review of past prosecutions.

Mr Henry: It’s suggesting that people have already been contacted. That was not accurate.

Rodric Williams: If it was saying at this time that people had already been convict – sorry, contacted, then that probably would not be correct but this is a draft and then it’s referring to Post Office’s actions, so –

Mr Henry: Thank you.

Rodric Williams: Okay.

Mr Henry: Can we go to your E/89, please. This is POL00152451.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: You can see, in the second paragraph, the “Misra ‘angle’”, and this is 26 June 2015:

“… could be whether proper disclosure of Horizon bugs was made to Professor McLachlan …”

It wasn’t just that, was it? It was to do with the fact that a perjuring witness had given critical evidence in her trial and you knew she hadn’t had a fair trial.

Rodric Williams: Again, I don’t know about the fairness of her trial. That’s not a matter – I think this document probably relates to the Panorama programme, when we were trying to understand what might be contained in the broadcast and, hence, what Post Office might wish to be alive to as an issue and what it might want to do as a response to it. So it’s –

Mr Henry: Can I go now, please, to your E/111, and it is POL00243328.

Rodric Williams: I have it. Thank you.

Sir Wyn Williams: Just to let you know, Mr Henry, we are getting close to the 45 minutes, all right.

Mr Henry: Thank you, sir.

This is another email where, at paragraph 11 of the bullet points from Jarnail Singh, which you were aware of, from 11 June 2014, again, about Gareth Jenkins being the turning point – and at paragraph 20 of this note, paragraph 20, please, page 4, it says, last sentence:

“I can say is that both sides in Misra were completely beholden to Gareth Jenkins and his deep knowledge of Horizon.”

Can you explain, in those circumstances, you knowing of that from 2014 and you actually digging it out on 20 July 2016, because we can see that from page 1 of the document, why Mrs Misra’s team, Mrs Misra’s lawyers, weren’t informed of that as soon as you read that?

Rodric Williams: Well, the email goes back to 2014, I think, at which point the review as appropriate of past convictions for safety was being undertaken by the lawyers. It looks like I brought this up in connection with the Mediation Scheme, and a case of M012, which I suspect was the number given to Mrs Misra’s application to the scheme, and I was forwarding it to members of the scheme team as a summary of some of the criminal law assessment of – in fact, it’s back in ‘12, so even Rose – this was all generated in connection with –

Mr Henry: What about your personal responsibility, rather than saying “This is nothing to do with me, it’s to do with the Criminal Law Team”, what about your personal responsibility? You refer to this on page 1 of the document as a “wee beauty” that you can use to advance the Post Office’s –

Rodric Williams: In terms of my personal responsibility, at some point – and, again, I’m – I can’t – there’s – I think there are emails in my bundle or somewhere on this – at some point – in fact, it was a subject of one of the Rule 9 requests – I expressed that I was uncomfortable about – it became clear to me at some point in this, and I think it was probably around the time of the Panorama, that the receipts and payments mismatch bug was in play during the course of Mrs Misra’s trial. I didn’t know in the context of criminal proceedings, what that meant but I sought some advice on it.

So you’re asking me of personal responsibility, I said I felt uncomfortable but, again, in the context of criminal proceedings, I don’t know what to do.

Mr Henry: So you delegated it to Cartwright King and to Mr Altman?

Rodric Williams: I think, initially – I wouldn’t say “delegate”. I think – I’d asked them – I’d asked them – “Here’s an issue, what do we do?” I think there’s a request for advice.

Mr Henry: Mrs Misra’s conviction was eventually quashed in April 2021, ten and a half years after she had been wrongly convicted. You were personally aware of information sufficient to quash her conviction from July ‘13, weren’t you?

Rodric Williams: I had information, whether it was sufficient to quash or not, I keep saying I don’t know.

Mr Henry: You had all the information that was deployed in her appeal on her behalf from 2016 because of the Second Sight review and Tim McCormack’s Freedom of Information request?

Rodric Williams: Again, I don’t know whether I had all the information or not and you’re referring to documents that I can’t – I can’t see.

Mr Henry: So I want to come, finally, and this is my last question sir, to E/111 and this POL00243328.

Rodric Williams: B/111?

Mr Henry: Yes. It’s your E/111.

Rodric Williams: I have the document, thank you.

Mr Henry: Again, could we go to page 8 of your E/111.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Henry: This is you in 2014, 11 June 2014, and you’re still, as it were, asking your Comms Team to do a little bit more “to help them tell our side of the story”. You want more information from Jarnail Singh to help the Comms Team tell your side of the story. What was your side of the story, Mr Williams?

Rodric Williams: Well, the – what Post Office’s position on the – on the prosecution of Seema Misra was at that time.

Mr Henry: It was all to do with spin and nothing to do with the fact that this woman had been wrongly sent to prison; isn’t that the truth of it?

Rodric Williams: Well, this email is sent to the Comms Team, so it is for a communications exercise. That’s what that email seems to be connected with. I’m trying to join the criminal lawyers up with the Communications Team, so that a communication can be crafted, for whatever purpose.

Mr Henry: What about the substance: a wrongly convicted woman? What about that, Mr Williams?

Rodric Williams: What specifically about that? I can say I take no pride, comfort or confidence in having worked for an employer that engaged in conducting the greatest miscarriage of justice that we’ve seen, however it’s been described. I’ve – it’s never been – I don’t know where to go with this – it’s awful that people with convictions had them for the length of time – had them, and then had them for the length of time they did and, for my part in that, you know, I’m – as I say, I’m – I’m truly sorry. You know, that I’ve been associated with this, I think, is, you know, I’m – I’m truly sorry for that.

Mr Henry: You weren’t associated with it, Mr Williams. You were in the middle of the web and you were part of it.

Thank you, sir.

Sir Wyn Williams: Thank you, Mr Henry.

I think the point, Mr Williams, is that at a moment in time, namely 2014, when, on any sensible reading of Mr Clarke’s advice of July 2013, there was a problem about Mr Jenkins’ evidence, the Post Office and you personally appeared still to be asserting to the world that the conviction was safe, amongst other things, because expert evidence had been called and the jury, by inference, must have accepted it; and those two things don’t sit very easily together, do they?

Rodric Williams: No, they don’t, sir. No, they don’t.

Sir Wyn Williams: Right. Thank you.

Then we’ll adjourn now until 2.00 and we’ll have questions from Mr Jacobs.

Mr Beer: Thank you, sir.

(12.56 pm)

(The Short Adjournment)

(1.59 pm)

Mr Beer: Sir, good afternoon, can you see and hear us?

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes, I can, thank you.

Mr Beer: Over to Mr Jacobs, I think.

Sir Wyn Williams: Good afternoon Mr Jacobs. If you haven’t finished by 2.45, I will give you a few minutes warning as I did with Mr Henry, all right?

Questioned by Mr Jacobs

Mr Jacobs: Thank you, sir, yes.

Good afternoon, I represent 157 subpostmasters, all of whom were affected by this scandal, and a large number of them were involved in the Group Litigation, which I know you were closely involved with; is that right?

Rodric Williams: That is.

Mr Jacobs: I want to ask you, firstly, about suspense accounts?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry just before you start would it be possible to move the microphone, I literally lose the – I can’t see your face.

Mr Jacobs: Okay, I have someone saying they can’t hear me and someone saying they can’t hear me. I’ll carry on.

I want to ask you about suspense accounts and you deal with that at 129 and 130 of your statement, which is your bundle reference A/2 – we don’t need to turn it up – but if we can look at your B/141, which is POL00021762, Mr Williams. If we could have that on the screen, please. If we could go to the request of Second Sight, which is on page 3 of that document, it reads:

“In the light of the disclosure of rolling 3 year suspense …”

Maybe we need to scroll down a little. Are you on page 3?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry. I have it. I have it in my hard copy, if that helps.

Mr Jacobs: Scroll down, please. Here we are. So it’s 30 July 2014, 13.25 and it’s from Ian Henderson to Belinda Crowe, copying in Ron Warmington and Angela van den Bogerd, and others. He says:

“In the light of the disclosure of rolling 3 year suspense account can we have details of month end balances for this account [this was in relation to a particular case] for the last 3 years together with details of amounts released to P&L”, which is profit and loss, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: That’s my understanding of it.

Mr Jacobs: So, essentially, Second Sight wanted to know whether the monies that subpostmasters had paid on account of Horizon shortfalls had been held in suspense accounts and then transferred to Post Office profit and loss accounts?

Rodric Williams: I’m not sure what the particular line of the enquiry was, but it was certainly the transfer of agency monies into a suspense account.

Mr Jacobs: Then if we could go, please, to what Belinda Crowe said at – on 1 August, which is at page – sorry, if we could then go up to Andrew Parsons’ suggested response, which is also on page 3 of 5, I think we’re there, he says:

“Belinda, Angela

“As discussed briefly yesterday, I suspect that the information requested by Ian below is highly [commercially] sensitive.

“It may also be that the figures in question are quite high and this may then be portrayed as if there are significant sums each month that cannot be reconciled within [Post Office Limited’s] accounts.”

So significant sums coming from postmasters that can’t be reconciled with the general accounts coming in to the Post Office Accounts.


“The inference from this is that [Post Office’s] processes/accounting systems are flawed given the volume of discrepancies. Whether or not this is correct, it is an easy leap to make.

“Assuming that POL finance say that this info cannot be disclosed, I’ve penned a short response to Ian below.”

Then, if we read below, he says:

“Ian the information you are seeking is highly commercially sensitive and therefore would only be made available in exceptional circumstances.

“As described in the Suspense Account Note provided to you, sums in POL suspense account do not impact on branch accounting but reflect unresolved matters between POL and its clients. I’d be grateful if you could explain why [Second Sight] need visibility of suspense account figures given that the Part 2 Report and CRRs are only focused on the impact on [subpostmasters].

“Kind regards


What he’s doing, effectively, do you agree, is he’s deflecting that question. He doesn’t want to give that information, he says it’s commercially sensitive and he’s saying, “Why are you asking this?”

Rodric Williams: There’s just one thing I think you said in it which was this was money coming from postmasters. I also think the suspense accounts involved monies and exchanges with Post Office clients, so it wasn’t just postmaster money but it may have been postmaster – sorry, postmasters were certainly involved but not exclusively and I heard you to sort of read that in. So “deflect” is – I think, yes, it is a word but I actually say more appropriately “clarify”.

Mr Jacobs: Well, we’re going to come to your response so we’ll move up to page 2, please. This is Belinda Crowe writing an email, saying that they didn’t want to provide a ballpark figure:

“However, Andy Parsons has sketched out a suggested response below. I do not know whether the published accounts give any details or whether we do ever make this information otherwise available but I would be for advice on how best to respond.

“I think that we should consider this through the lens of an FOI request and how we would respond to that.”

She goes on to say in the last paragraph:

“Second Sight are producing a draft report either today or tomorrow which is likely to reference this so we will need to have a response within the next couple of days.”

So moving on to your input in this. So if we go to page 1 of 5, this is what you say about the issue. So scrolling down please, you say:

“Belinda, I agree with Andy – I’d like to avoid giving anything if at all possible (less is more), but if we do, rather than give them the data they’ve asked for, we should provide MI …”

I don’t know what that means. Is that minimum information, minimum input?

Rodric Williams: Management information.

Mr Jacobs: “… which gives context, [including]:

“Rather than raw three year data, give the monthly average over the past [three and a half] years;

“What that figure is as a proportion of total month end transactions; and

“average time to clear sums in suspense

“eg something along these lines”, then you give what is a very vague suggested response:

“‘The amount held in suspense accounts across the Post Office Network averages £XX per Trading Period or approximately Y% of the total value of the transactions processed each Trading Period. Of the sums held in suspense accounts, approximately Z% is cleared within 30 days and all but F% is cleared within 90 days’.”

So that’s your response, Mr Williams.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Jacobs: It’s right, isn’t it, and our clients who are alive to this issue all say, that Post Office did not want this information to get out, they did not want subpostmasters, they did not want the Working Group, they did not want MPs to know where the subpostmasters’ money that Post Office was taking from them was going; that’s right, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: Well, I don’t know what your clients have been saying to you. I wasn’t – I wasn’t – sorry, I was aware there was a question, like, you know, “If it’s gone missing, could it have gone somewhere”, and the suspense accounts were a place for that. I –

Mr Jacobs: Right, well, that’s helpful –

Rodric Williams: I know that from the Post Office side of things.

Mr Jacobs: That’s helpful. We can take the document down now please.

So what other people have said about this issue. Sir Anthony Hooper gave evidence on 10 April. We don’t need to turn up the transcript but, for the record, it’s page 185 of the transcript, and he’s talking about the Working Group. He said:

“I couldn’t understand where the money had gone. If a subpostmaster found a loss of £2,000 and paid it out of his own pocket, which they did, or if it was taken out of future income, where had the money gone?”

He went on:

“So I asked towards the end of 2014 for suspense accounts because I thought that – I knew there were suspense accounts. I knew that Post Office, after three years, took out the profits of the suspense account and I wanted to know more about it.”

Then this is what he said, he said:

“I got absolutely nowhere and nor did Second Sight.”

So my question to you is: were you aware, and I know you were involved in the Mediation Scheme and the Working Group, were you aware that the Chair of the Working Group had been repeatedly asking for the suspense account so that he could track where the money had gone and that Post Office never gave this information?

Rodric Williams: So two bits, I was involved in the scheme, as and when the scheme required me. I don’t recall actively participating in Working Group discussions and I think I said in my statement I recall only attending one in-person meeting and I did attend some calls. I say that because you said I was involved in the Working Group and I would not describe myself as having been involved in that.

Mr Jacobs: Okay.

Rodric Williams: Which leads me to the answer to the question, which I did understand, is that, I have to say, feels like news to me, that Sir Anthony Hooper had been asking for it in that context, that extent. I don’t doubt that is the case, but I wasn’t aware of it.

Mr Jacobs: So you were a lawyer advising on the Mediation Scheme when this request was being repeatedly made, which the Chair of the Working Group has told this Inquiry, and your evidence is that this is news to you and you didn’t know about it?

Rodric Williams: Well, to that level you’ve described it, I don’t recall. I was a lawyer working on it, as a reminder but – and I was aware that suspense accounts was an issue but I hadn’t realised the prominence that Sir Anthony Hooper was placing on it.

Mr Jacobs: If money is being paid by subpostmasters theoretically to balance a shortfall, how would that money – that couldn’t ever be represented in the accounts as a profit, could it, that would be fraudulent, wouldn’t it?

Rodric Williams: I’m not an accountant, I can’t describe what could or couldn’t be doing with the accounts, sorry.

Mr Jacobs: All right. Well, I’ll ask you these questions, you may or may not be able to answer them. Did you consider that the Post Office had acted fraudulently or improperly in converting monies extracted from subpostmasters, on account of Horizon shortfalls, into profit by putting it into the profit and loss account?

Rodric Williams: I can’t comment on it.

Mr Jacobs: All right. So you don’t know how much, how many thousands and thousands of pounds the Post Office profits increased as a consequence of money that they’d been extorting from subpostmasters?

Rodric Williams: I can’t comment on these areas, sorry.

Mr Jacobs: Can you comment on whether any Post Office Directors questioned these accounts because of all these figures turning up that were unexplained?

Rodric Williams: I’ve no visibility on that, sorry.

Mr Jacobs: All right, you have referred in your witness statement, I think at paragraph 130, to an end-of-term report and perhaps we could actually look at that. It is your B/55. It’s dated, I think, 30 July 2014, and the reference number is POL00040935, and paragraph 55, please?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, I missed it.

Mr Jacobs: It’s your B/55.

Rodric Williams: I’m sure you did give me it but I’m sorry, I missed it. B/55?

Mr Jacobs: Yes. So if we go to page 15 of 187 of this.

Rodric Williams: I’m struggling to keep more than one number in my head, sorry.

Mr Jacobs: Thank you.

Rodric Williams: I have to it. Thank you.

Mr Jacobs: So suspense account data:

“In June 2014, Second Sight asked the Post Office to explain the operation of its suspense account. The Post Office replied to that request in a written paper in July 2014. Second Sight then made a request for further data on the accounting entries being posted to the suspense account. Given that the purpose of this request was unclear [and we would say not unclear], Second Sight agreed to provide further clarity on the nature of the enquiry, which they did in October 2014. Following some residual uncertainty over the focus and purpose of the request, the Post Office sent a further written paper to Second Sight explaining the operation of its suspense account.”

Then 54:

“Whilst the Post Office acknowledges it originally took longer to respond to Second Sight’s initial requests than it would have wished, it was able to answer Second Sight’s questions when a shared understanding of the nature of the enquiry had been reached.

“55. Post Office’s Chief Financial Officer now had two meetings with Second Sight to discuss these matters and has provided Second Sight with further ‘contextual data’. At the most recent meeting, Second Sight agreed that it needed no further information on the Suspense Account, requesting some further data on another aspect of client accounts to provide additional reassurance.”

I hope I haven’t gone too quickly.

So it’s right, isn’t it, that Post Office never provided Second Sight and never provided Sir Anthony Hooper with details of where the monies from subpostmasters from the suspense account actually ended up?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know what was passed on that, I didn’t have – I don’t recall – I certainly don’t recall don’t having any sight of what was or wasn’t presented or considered or given on suspense accounts, I’m sorry.

Mr Jacobs: Do you know where this money would have been held, where the accounts were? Were they in Chesterfield?

Rodric Williams: Certain finance functions were in Chesterfield but I don’t know what the split between sites was.

Mr Jacobs: All right. Now, this is a question that I think you might be able to answer: did it occur to you or anyone else that the money being held in suspense, the amount of and the frequency of payments, would be an indicator of issues within the Horizon system?

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t recall that connection being discussed.

Mr Jacobs: Because, you see, if this was a balancing error and the system was out and the subpostmaster put the money in because the money needed to be put in because there was an actual, a real shortfall, then there wouldn’t be anything in the suspense account; it would balance, wouldn’t it?

If there were huge unexplained sums of money, hundreds of thousands of pounds pouring into these accounts, that would demonstrate, wouldn’t it, to you, someone investigating these subpostmaster complaints or looking into the legal aspects of it, that there was a problem with the system?

Rodric Williams: I think that’s an – starter for ten on what you described, which was, with respect, very quick and I might ask you to slow down.

Mr Jacobs: I’m conscious of the time but I will –

Rodric Williams: I’m conscious as well, so I’m sorry. That’s a question for – sitting on what you’ve just described, I’d say that’s a question for a forensic accountant. And then if I was a legal adviser I would try to understand what those findings might be. Movements of money, I’m not very good with, I’m sorry.

Mr Jacobs: But you were quite good with resolving the Horizon issues and dealing with the press. Isn’t it quite an obvious point, really, Mr Williams?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, what – which point is obvious?

Mr Jacobs: That you would be able to tell from the accounts whether there was a problem with the system or not?

Rodric Williams: I think it became one of the – you know, it’s sort of part of the – I think part of the sort of response to the challenges about the system and why it was operating well most of the time is it didn’t just balance against postmaster branch accounts but Post Office sells most of its products for other parties, so those accounts then needed to back off against their systems, and so, when they’re balancing, there’s balancing. So that’s probably as far as I can take – and I hope it’s not off track. As I say, I’m not an accountant.

Mr Jacobs: I’ve asked you the questions and we note your answers, Mr –

So I’m going to move on to another topic now, which is the Group Litigation. Can we go to another document, please, which is POL00089708.

Rodric Williams: Can I have the bundle?

Mr Jacobs: It’s your E/46.

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Jacobs: If we could go to page 2 of that, these are lists of various committees. I’ll wait for you to find the document. We can see at 2 “GLO/Postmaster Litigation Subcommittee”.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Jacobs: “GLO/Postmaster Litigation Subcommittee”. You say – no need to turn it up for now – but at paragraph 190 of your statement, you say in April 2016, because of the issues in the original claim form in the Group Litigation, you suggested yourself to Post Office’s General Counsel that a steering group be set up for that purpose. So you suggested steering group for the litigation and you were on it, and these are the members of it.

Rodric Williams: No, that’s not correct. This is the Board subcommittee.

Mr Jacobs: Right.

Rodric Williams: So I set up a steering group, which was – which were – managers within the business.

Mr Jacobs: So that’s helpful so what was the difference, then, between the steering group and the litigation subcommittee?

Rodric Williams: I thought I tried to explain that in my statement. In the early phases of the litigation, most instructions, management oversight from within the company was managed through the steering group, which were executives – I think, the Chair was a colleague called Tom Moran – with a view that they would be able to respond, help the business respond to the allegations, give instructions to external lawyers, and the like, and then that committee could report to the Group Executive, which were the senior management – most senior management, I should say. So the C-suite and related colleagues, and then reporting to the Board would be however that fitted within the Group Exec, or GE, and the Board.

So the second bit, at a stage – I think I put this somewhere in my statement – at some stage and I think it may have been 2018, which will be consistent with this document, which, I have to say, I haven’t seen before, the Board decided they wanted to spend more time or give more focus – this what I understand, the Board wanted greater focus on the litigation and set up a subcommittee, so that it could receive more direct, I guess, feedback on the direction of travel and status of the litigation, typically done the day before a full Board meeting, so that the subcommittee’s knowledge could be taken forward into the wider meeting without taking up the full Board meeting, which I understand it was taking up more time for the Board than they had available.

Mr Jacobs: Okay.

Rodric Williams: Bearing in mind there were other considerations.

Mr Jacobs: That’s helpful. If we scroll down, we can see, I think, that you were on the litigation subcommittee, you’re there at number 9 in 2018.

Rodric Williams: I wouldn’t have said I was a formal member. I don’t know this document. I don’t know who prepared it or where the names came from but I certainly did attend some meetings of it and then I think, certainly later, at least after, I think, the Common Issues judgment came down, I started attending the meetings regularly.

Mr Jacobs: Well, we can see the names. If we scroll down to 2019, you can see at number 9 scrolling down a bit more, please, that you are there, as well, Rodric Williams?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Jacobs: You are on the steering group as well, weren’t you?

Rodric Williams: The steering group, yes.

Mr Jacobs: Okay. I’m going to read you from paragraph 108 of Alan Bates’ witness statement – we don’t need to turn it up – but this is the point we’re going to be talking about. He said, and he confirmed this in his evidence on 9 April:

“It is public knowledge that Post Office knew we had funding for the litigation. They will have known we had access to a finite pot of money and the harder they fought, the more that funding would be depleted. In my opinion, this was a very cynical approach. The steering group and I were advised by leading council and Freeths that it was in the best interests of the claimant group as a whole to settle the proceedings at the time. Post Office had effectively outspend the 555 claimants and the risks of continuing with any litigation without adequate funding and possibly without ATE insurance was not a risk which any of the claimants should have taken, given that they’d suffered so much already at the hands of POL [Post Office Limited].”

In his oral evidence, Mr Bates said it was very, very obvious the Post Office had a strategy of trying to force the claimants, who were winning the litigation, to settle and abandon their case, abandon their claims because they had run out of money.

Before I ask you a question about that, I want to turn to another document, which is POL00006380, and that’s your B/234.

Rodric Williams: My B/234.

Mr Jacobs: These are steering group meeting notes of 11 September 2017. Thank you. If we go down to page 2 of 15, you’ll see “Overall Post Office Strategy”.

Rodric Williams: Sorry, again, you’re going again very, very quickly and I would just like to say, in case it helps, and I’m sorry if I’m interrupting, I didn’t see Alan Bates’ evidence and I haven’t read his statement, so I am –

Mr Jacobs: No doubt you’ll take it from me what he said –

Rodric Williams: I’m sure it was but if there were parts of it that I’ll need to be taken back to –

Mr Jacobs: Let’s look at paragraph 4.3, shall we?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, you’ll have to take me back. Which tab, which page?

Mr Jacobs: It’s your B/234.

Rodric Williams: Thank you, and the page?

Mr Jacobs: Page 2, paragraph 4.3. It’s on the screen, if you’d rather look at the screen, Mr Williams?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I have that, thank you.

Mr Jacobs: “We believe the better solution is to try to force the Claimants into a collective position where they will either abandon the claims or seek a reasonable settlement. It should be remembered that the claims are financially supported by Freeths (whose fees are at least partially conditional on winning), a third party funder and insurers. Without this support these proceedings would not have been possible. All three entities will likely have the power to pull their support if the merits of the case drop below a certain level. Our target audience is therefore Freeths, the funder and the insurers, who will adopt a cold logical assessment of whether they will get a payout, rather than the Claimants who may wish to fight on principle, regardless of merit.”

I know this is couched in terms of merits but it is right to say, isn’t it, that Post Office were targeting the pockets of the funder, the insurers and the lawyers?

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t think that’s right. I do not recall that being – sorry, sorry, no, I don’t.

Mr Jacobs: Okay, you were on this –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Jacobs: – steering group, weren’t you?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Jacobs: This is part of the Post Office overall strategy, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: Well, it’s a recommendation that was drafted, so I think, again in my statement, I said we – we’d asked Bond Dickinson to draft discussion papers, working papers – I forget the full description of them, for the steering group to read and consider, so that decisions on both overall strategy but also certain specific items could be deliberately made. Again, in my statement, funding was part of that but it was never the – starter for ten, we didn’t know what funding was available.

Mr Jacobs: I’ll move on. Let’s have a look at another document, shall we. POL00006379. You deal with this in your witness statement as well and it’s your B/235?

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Jacobs: This is a Bond Dickinson document which also deals with – oh, sorry, it’s some more steering group meetings.

Rodric Williams: I think this was an appendix to the previous document, I think.

Mr Jacobs: If we could go down to section 5, please, so scroll down. These are all the options that were considered. If we stop there, please. This wasn’t a recommended option but my clients say, Mr Bates has said, this is what ultimately prevailed in terms of the strategy. So I’ll read out what the attrition strategy was:

“Stretch out the litigation process so as to increase costs in the hope that the Claimants, and more particularly their litigation funder, decide that it is too costly to pursue the litigation and give up.”

Now, the question I have for you, very simply, is that is exactly what happened, isn’t it, Mr Williams; exactly what happened?

Rodric Williams: No, it’s not.

Mr Jacobs: Why do you say that the postmasters and Mr Bates, when they say that is exactly what happened, are wrong?

Rodric Williams: Because one, funding was never anything we had visibility of, we had – security for costs application was made, which gave some insight into it but not the details but, mostly, the case management directions for the conduct of the litigation provided for clearly defined steps, for at least the first two trials, in a very short period of time, and cost budgeting, which were agreed, so the parties costs were known and understood as we went through. That’s my understanding of it. And that’s – and also, personally, that’s how I recall us conducting the litigation.

Mr Jacobs: All of my 157 clients and no doubt Mr Bates would say collectively that is not true, Mr Williams.

Rodric Williams: It’s – I’m sorry but I’ve given my evidence.

Mr Jacobs: Very well. We’ll move on to another document which is a letter – again you deal with it in your witness statement, but we should see it, it’s your B/239. It’s a letter that Mr Parsons of Bond Dickinson wrote to you on 16 August 2017. That is POL00000444.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry the number again?

Mr Jacobs: It’s your B/239.

Rodric Williams: I have at 238 the email and 239 the –

Mr Jacobs: Oh, I think we’ve gone to the wrong one but actually it’s not a bad idea that we do show this, because this is a witness statement, if we scroll down, please, from Andrew Parsons, and it is – if I can read my own writing – it’s 227 pages long and it’s in relation to the CMC issue, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: Yes, the first – I think this was created before the first case management conference.

Mr Jacobs: Okay, so, fortuitously we’ll now know what the next document is about. If we can go to POL00041509, which is your B/238.

Rodric Williams: Thank you. I have that thank you.

Mr Jacobs: We’ll just wait for everything to catch up. Here we are. So it’s a letter from Andrew Parsons to you, and he says:

“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!


So it was a source of amusement, wasn’t it, that you had a strategy to run down the claimants’ limited costs and waste time as a way of putting pressure upon them?

Rodric Williams: Well, sort of – that question was in two parts, a source of amusement and –

Mr Jacobs: Please answer both.

Rodric Williams: The second part of the strategy, I think I’ve said, I don’t recall it ever being a strategy to run them out of money. As I say, we had cost budgeting for that and we didn’t know what sums were. The second bit, the source of amusement, no.

Mr Jacobs: Why was it a funny letter, then?

Rodric Williams: Well, Andy wrote it, so this is –

Mr Jacobs: Why was the letter from Freeths funny?

Rodric Williams: Well, that’s how Andy Parsons has characterised it.

Mr Jacobs: He thought it was amusing but you didn’t?

Rodric Williams: Well, my thing – I’d seen the letter. Funny is also peculiar.

Mr Jacobs: Well, that’s fine, let’s not dwell on that, on the semantic point. I think what the bigger point is that it’s accepted, I think, by the steering committee that the average value of each claimant’s claim in a Group Litigation was £200,000; would you agree with that?

Rodric Williams: I think that was the number we got from collating the schedule of information data, so that was a number that was put on it at that time with that information, yes.

Mr Jacobs: I think you will also accept, it’s been quite widely reported, that, on average, although some got significantly less, on average each claimant got about £20,000 when the case settled because of the costs issue?

Rodric Williams: When we settled the case, it was a lump sum and the division was for the claimants to do and the advisers and that was not something I recall Post Office being privy to and, in fact, we were expressly sort of excluded from it.

Mr Jacobs: But you take no issue, then, do you, as a result of the way matters unfolded, claims that were worth £200,000, on average, yielded £20,000, on average?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, the question on that? I’m sorry.

Mr Jacobs: You wouldn’t dispute, would you, that, as a result of how matters unfolded in the litigation, the claimants’ claims that were worth, on average, £200,000 each were reduced to, on average, £20,000 each?

Rodric Williams: Well, I don’t know if it was as a result of the way the litigation went or the arrangements that they had with funders and legal teams, but I – if it helps, I can understand the sense of –

Mr Jacobs: I have to suggest to you that, as a member of the steering committee and someone that was intimately involved with the litigation, you knew exactly what you were doing. This was your strategy of attrition that the Post Office adopted throughout. Mr Bates has given very compelling evidence, as have the majority of our clients on this point. Can you now, with the benefit of hindsight, accept that is what you did?

Rodric Williams: No, I can’t and, again, I’ll say this: on the attrition point in particular, we had case management orders for the first two trials and, in fact, we also had further case management orders for a third trial, that stood up two enormous trials in an extremely short period of time. I think if you’d take the two dates from I think October ‘17, when the first case management conference in front of the managing judge, came up with the first directions, proper directions were given, through to the conclusion of the Horizon trial, which I accept was greatly disrupted by the recusal matters, but even allowing for that, those two trials were concluded in I think roughly 18 months, plus or minus.

And I could say in terms of attrition, which I take to mean slowing down drawing out, was quite the opposite. That was pretty hard going.

Mr Jacobs: Well, attrition means attack: attack the funders, attack the money. We’ve seen in the emails what attrition means, and that’s what the –

Rodric Williams: I’m saying that I don’t believe we did that strategy. I believe we tried the two cases because, until those were resolved, any resolution would not be possible. That’s my assessment of it.

Mr Jacobs: You gave evidence yesterday to say that you are now working on the historical matters Remediation Unit in the Post Office?

Rodric Williams: Well, I’m not actually working on much at all in particular, other than the Inquiry –

Mr Jacobs: You’ve taken time off for this but, generally speaking, that’s what you do when you’re not involved in this Inquiry?

Rodric Williams: Well, that’s what so – and I think my statement I’ve said this. What I’ve done is I moved from – I was moved from the Business As Usual Legal Team, into the Remediation Unit, where focus was put on remediation issues.

Mr Jacobs: Our clients simply cannot understand why a member of Post Office’s steering committee that helped drive the Group Litigation, with all the tactics that Post Office employed, is now working on the historical matters remediation committee. What our clients say is that you are one of the historical matters, you shouldn’t be remediating against your own actions, should you?

Rodric Williams: I think that’s fair. My role, very much as I’ve seen it in the Remediation Unit, was, by this stage – and I – but by the time – certainly, the – probably by the time of the Common Issues judgment and certainly by the time of the settlement, effectively, the – from my experience and from what I was witnessing, the conduct of the Group Litigation was largely being overseen by the Board or the subcommittee certainly, and the Board, in either guise, with direct input from the external lawyers. And most of my job with that was ensuring that the external lawyer’s advice passed to the Board without – but I was working on it –

Mr Jacobs: You attended the trial, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Jacobs: You were heavily involved?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Jacobs: I’m going to move on now because of the passage of time. I want to ask you about Gareth Jenkins. You have been taken to the Simon Clarke Advice –

Rodric Williams: I have.

Mr Jacobs: – at length, where the Post Office were advised that Mr Jenkins was fatally undermined as a witness?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Jacobs: You know that Brian Altman KC, in his general review, said that Mr Jenkins was tainted and his position was untenable. It was right that he was never instructed as to the duties of an expert, was he?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know that but we have been through a note where that’s recorded as having taken place.

Mr Jacobs: So –

Rodric Williams: Whether it was or not, I’m not sure.

Mr Jacobs: So the revelations that Mr Henry put to you as “apocalyptic” before lunch were such that, quite clearly, Mr Jenkins couldn’t give evidence in the Group Litigation, could he?

Rodric Williams: And I think we formed that view, that’s correct.

Mr Jacobs: Could we go, please – and this isn’t a document you have in front of you, you will have to look on the screen – but it’s the Horizon Issues judgment, so I think you might be familiar with it.

Rodric Williams: Parts of it.

Mr Jacobs: If we go to UKGI00018137, and this is my last point, sir, so I’ll endeavour to be quick, and not waste time.

So if we could move to that judgment on the screen, please, and –

Mr Beer: I think the reference is fine it’s just such a long document.

Mr Jacobs: So if we go down to page 29 of 313, which is paragraph 77. So we can see at paragraph 77 that there was an issue in relation to Mr Jenkins. So if we go down to the sixth or seventh line, you can see:

“Expert evidence was called by the Post Office at her trial from Mr Gareth Jenkins from Fujitsu. Mr Jenkins was not called as a witness by the Post Office in the Horizon Issues trial before me, but a large amount of the evidence from the Fujitsu [witness, that’s Mr Jenkins] was attributed to information directly given to them by Mr Jenkins. This was a controversial matter between the parties at the Horizon trial. The Post Office did not proffer an explanation for Mr Jenkins’ non-appearance as a witness; they were not obliged to do so. However, in their closing submissions and after all the evidence had been called by both parties, they did so. The explanation provided was by way of submission and not evidence.”

Then if we go down to page 152 of 313, paragraph 511 of the judgment please. We can see there was an issue, looking at 511, that the claimants asked why there was no statement from Mr Jenkins, whether he was available to give evidence and also whether he was involved as one of the team of shadow experts, and we’ve heard about shadow experts in questions put to you before lunch.

Then at 512:

“There the matter might have rested. However, in Post Office’s written closing submissions, an explanation of sorts most for the first time provided. This was in the context of two matters: firstly, by way of explanation of Mr Godeseth’s evidence [he’s the man who did give evidence], and potentially to downplay its impact; secondly, in relation to the claimants’ complaints about the second hand nature of some of the Post Office’s factual evidence because in large part this had emanated from Mr Jenkins.”

The explanation was, at 144.1:

“Taking into account that Mr McLachlan’s evidence specifically addressed things said or done by Mr Jenkins in relation to the Misra trial, Post Office was concerned that the Horizon … trial could become an investigation of his role in this and other criminal cases.

“144.2. Moreover, the Post Office was conscious that if it only adduced first hand evidence in the trial, it would end up having to call more witnesses.”

I think it then goes on to say it would have been 34 extra people giving to give evidence.

Then 144.3:

“Furthermore, so far as Post Office was aware, the relevant parts of Godeseth 2 were most unlikely to be controversial. For example, the Misra trial was a matter of public record, the four bugs were covered by contemporaneous documentation and Post Office had no reason to doubt Fujitsu’s accounts of the documents it held.”

Now, if we could move on to paragraph 514, please. The judge says:

“The following [important] in my judgment:

“Of primary importance is the principle that it is for each party to decide whom to call …

“Mr Jenkins is an important and central person so far as the operation, efficacy and robustness of Horizon is concerned …”

He goes on to say:

“That is reinforced by Post Office’s own closing submissions … that there were two possible candidates for the witness … It also stated that taking into account Mr Jenkins’ involvement in [the Misra case] the decision taken to use Mr Godeseth.”

Then at point 4, going down, please:

“The Post Office chose to proffer a reason for Mr Jenkins’ absence in closing submissions. They were not applied to explain. However, the reason given in paragraph 144.1 quoted above is not a valid reason for his absence. The claimants would have been entitled, in cross-examination, to put to Mr Jenkins any previous inconsistent statements he had made on the same subject, but obviously only if there were any. These could, potentially, have included previous statements he may have made in earlier proceedings, but in order to be allowed to do that, such statements would have to be inconsistent with have evidence in the Horizon Issues Trial. Putting a previously inconsistent statement on a particular fact is permitted as part of cross-examination …

It goes on to say the Horizon trial wasn’t about Mr Jenkins, it was about Horizon issues and this type of cross-examination will only have arisen if any statements in the trial were not consistent.

Then – nearly at the end now – point 7:

“The fact that the Post Office chose to advance certain evidence in the Horizon trial, that emanated from Mr Jenkins, by means of another witness saying ‘Mr Jenkins told me that …’ means that the claimants were deprived of the opportunity properly to test the evidence by asking Mr Jenkins about it. It also emerged in cross-examination although not in his written report, that Dr Worden has also obtained certain information directly from Mr Jenkins. By dealing with this material in this way, and having deprived the claimants of the opportunity to cross-examine Mr Jenkins, the weight of to be given to the evidence emanating from Mr Jenkins is less than it would be otherwise.”

I have some questions to ask you, as someone who was involved in the steering committee. Who gave instructions to counsel and to the litigation firm instructed to draft closing submissions in this way?

Rodric Williams: Counsel held the pen on their closing submissions. The closing submissions, I think, are very, very lengthy for this trial.

Mr Jacobs: Who was responsible within Post Office for approving the written submissions to which Mr Justice Fraser referred?

Rodric Williams: Er –

Mr Jacobs: Were you involved in that?

Rodric Williams: I can’t even remember if I saw a draft of them at this stage, the time pressure to put them in. I don’t recall the sequencing of what they were doing. My personal recollection of that is that these were counsel’s closing submissions.

Mr Jacobs: Well, I’ll ask you another question: you were involved in these submissions, weren’t you? You were involved in this process, weren’t you?

Rodric Williams: Not much with this at all.

Mr Jacobs: Not much?

Rodric Williams: I wouldn’t like to say none because it’s quite possible I did, but not much, no.

Mr Jacobs: All right. I have three more questions for you.

Do you accept that the giving of an excuse about the failure to call Jenkins in the High Court action was a flagrant and deliberate act to provide instructions to gloss over the non-calling of Jenkins in circumstances where some Post Office staff and directors knew that his credibility was in doubt?

Rodric Williams: Again, I’m sorry, there’s so much in there. It doesn’t lend itself to –

Mr Jacobs: Yes, do you accept that giving an excuse in the High Court that was a false excuse was deplorable because, essentially, you knew and those within Post Office knew the reason he hadn’t been called wasn’t because of what you told the court; it was because he was tainted and he wasn’t a safe witness to call because of the Clarke Advice?

Rodric Williams: Well, the reason was given – was sorted out as with the Legal Team on instructions, with the benefit of the discussions around Jenkins. So, as far as I’m concerned, the excuse given was done with an understanding of the position.

Mr Jacobs: You’ve said –

Rodric Williams: And also, you know, with – well, the benefit of counsel’s input on it.

Mr Jacobs: My final point to you, you’ve used the word “excuse”. This wasn’t an excuse, this was a cover-up and this was misleading the court, wasn’t it?

Rodric Williams: Um –

Mr Jacobs: Ultimately you must accept that?

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t think anybody involved in – certainly in the Legal Team, I can’t speak for anybody else but I don’t believe I was – I would want to mislead a court on anything and I don’t believe anybody in the Legal Team would have wanted to have done that either, and so the excuse – well, sorry, however you’ve described – so the answer to the question is: no, because – because we wouldn’t want to do that.

Mr Jacobs: Let me put it in another way: Mr Henry asked you about your professional duties and obligations. How could you, acting professionally, knowing what you know, having read the Simon Clarke Advice, having read Brian Altman KC’s general review, how could you sanction putting forward the reasons why Mr Jenkins wasn’t called that were put forward; that was misleading the court wasn’t it? It’s quite clear.

Rodric Williams: Sorry, no, I don’t accept that. But also I’ll go back to it, the plenty of references you read through very quickly, the choice about whether to call Jenkins or not, that is one for the parties to do and, as I say, Post Office –

Sir Wyn Williams: Hang on, Mr Williams. We know why you didn’t call Mr Jenkins, or at least there is a document which explains that before the litigation, which was that you thought his credibility was shot and that’s why you didn’t call him, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: It is –

Sir Wyn Williams: Why you chose to use him to provide information is a different issue, but the reason why he was not called is what transpired at the conference that we went through this morning.

Rodric Williams: Yes, it is, sir, and where I think I’m going on that is that was all connected to his engagement in the criminal – in criminal proceedings, as opposed to the ones we were here before.

Sir Wyn Williams: Sure. But the reason he was not called was because the view was taken that his credibility had been irretrievably lost.

Rodric Williams: Tainted, correct, sir, yes.

Sir Wyn Williams: Thank you.

Right, any more, Mr Jacobs?

Mr Jacobs: I haven’t any others. I haven’t any more to add, sir.

Sir Wyn Williams: Thank you. Then thank you for keeping very substantially within the time and we will move to Mr Moloney.

Questioned by Mr Moloney

Mr Moloney: Thank you, sir, I’ll try to do the same.

I’ve three things to ask you about: firstly, the shredding advice from Simon Clarke; secondly, Crown Offices, just a small topic, that is; and then, thirdly and finally, remote access knowledge within Post Office.

So the first one is the shredding advice from Mr Clarke and I’ve been permitted, in advance of today, to ask you questions about this. Mr Beer has already asked you some questions and I’ll try not to repeat them.

Rodric Williams: Thank you, sir.

Mr Moloney: Okay. In response to the shredding advice that Mr Clarke sent, and we know that he wrote it around the 2 August and Susan Crichton replied to it on 16 August, so some two weeks later, you drafted the letter for Susan Crichton to send to Andrew Cash, didn’t you?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: Andrew Cash, just to remind everybody, was the, I think, Head of Advocacy at Cartwright King, in fact was his formal term, but he was the main lawyer that you would have contact with for this at Cartwright King?

Rodric Williams: He was the client partner, as opposed to –

Mr Moloney: Exactly, so he was the partner.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: Now, the letter that you sent or you drafted, rather, for Susan Crichton to send to Andrew Cash, could we please look at it, it’s POL00193605, and it’s B/67 in your bundles, Mr Williams.

Rodric Williams: I’ll deal with it on the screen. I’m conscious of time and I’ve seen this today, so thank you.

Mr Moloney: Sure. Having looked at it today, we know what the first couple of paragraphs say and a key purpose of the Horizon calls is identified in that second paragraph. But if we go to the third and fourth paragraphs, just to see what you say about that. The third paragraph reads:

“I am therefore deeply concerned at the suggestion in Simon’s note that there may have been an attempt to destroy documentary material generated in connection with the Horizon Calls, specifically any minutes of the calls. (I note that Simon’s advice does not suggest that material connected to the operation of Horizon itself may have been compromised).”

Then, in the fourth paragraph:

“Post Office Limited is committed to conducting its business in an open, transparent and lawful manner. Any suggestion to the contrary would not reflect Post Office Limited policy, and would not be authorised or endorsed by Post Office Limited. Accordingly, the purported statements referred to in Simon’s note do not reflect or represent Post Office Limited’s position.”


Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: Now, the allegation made by Mr Clarke was extremely serious, wasn’t it?

Rodric Williams: As we’ve agreed, yes.

Mr Moloney: Just to, as it were, deal with one line of questioning that you faced this morning, did you carry out any sort of investigation before drafting this letter and, just as examples of that, did you contact Mr Clarke to ask where his information came from?

Rodric Williams: I don’t believe – I may have spoken to him. I don’t recall. I may have spoken to Martin Smith. I don’t recall either way.

Mr Moloney: Okay.

Rodric Williams: I certainly don’t recall doing it.

Mr Moloney: If you had – if you had – would you have included in the letter a summary of what either Mr Clarke or Mr Smith said to you in response to the question as to where the information came from, do you think?

Rodric Williams: I may have done. As I say, I’m not sure whether I did or didn’t, so I’m not sure whether that contact would or would not have fed into the letter.

Mr Moloney: If there was any response from them, it would be – you would include, for example, “I know that Mr Clarke absolutely stands by what was said to him”, and so on, you’d report to Susan Crichton what you’d said and that would appear in the letter, wouldn’t it?

Rodric Williams: Yes, I mean, I think the starter for ten is I think it’s Simon’s note record it, so it’s probably what Simon heard.

Mr Moloney: Yes, but there’s no mention in here, for example, of having spoken to Mr Clarke about it nor, indeed, Mr Smith?

Rodric Williams: I don’t think there’s reference to that, no.

Mr Moloney: Did you speak to Mr Scott at all?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall doing that, no.

Mr Moloney: What about Mr Singh? Because he was in the same open-plan office as you. Did you speak to Mr Singh about what it was that Simon Clarke was alleging had been done in relation to these minutes?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall that either way. So I don’t recall it no, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the hesitation, I was reading while I went – which I shouldn’t have done, I’m sorry.

Mr Moloney: If you hadn’t spoken to anybody, it’s perhaps premature to be deeply concerned at the suggestion, if, by speaking to people, you may have been able to find out that there was some substance to the suggestion?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, can I have the question again? I think yes sounds right, I just want to make sure.

Mr Moloney: I’ll try and put it in easier – more simple terms. If you hadn’t spoken to anybody and you can’t remember that you did –

Rodric Williams: That’s correct.

Mr Moloney: – is it perhaps a bit premature to say, “I’m deeply concerned at this suggestion”?

Rodric Williams: No, I think the suggestion stands on its own as something to be deeply concerned about.

Mr Moloney: Right.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry for the pause, I was reading ahead and I’m trying to think what was going on there because you’re asking me what did I put in, what did I not. I think this looks like it’s drafted as a corporate position, this is what’s supposed to have happened, “I trust this” – you know, and what the position – so what should have been happening with the material is being recorded at these meetings, and what the position is, which was that, no matter what may or may not have been said to an individual, the company’s position, which is something I would think the General Counsel is responsible for, did not support it, and –

Mr Moloney: If you’d actually spoken to somebody, you’d have been able to say what the reality was, instead of simply the corporate position, wouldn’t you?

Rodric Williams: Quite possibly and, as I say, don’t recall who was spoken to in what context around this. I’m sorry, I just don’t.

Mr Moloney: I’m going to come to the shredding advice in a moment but, before I do, can I briefly go to the conference at Mr Altman’s chambers in October 2013 –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: – and that is POL00006485. It’s B/80 for you, Mr Williams.

Rodric Williams: Thank you very much, I have it. Thank you.

Mr Moloney: Could we go to the final paragraph on this page, please. I just want to touch on these things and your recollection of this, Mr Williams, because it bears on the evidence of others. “RW”, that’s you, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: I would think so, yes.

Mr Moloney: “… then confirmed that the weekly hub meetings were started to bed in, picking up any issues across the business which may relate to Horizon. SC …”

That’s Simon Clarke, isn’t it, rather than Susan Crichton?

Rodric Williams: I’m not sure.

Mr Moloney: Okay, well we can maybe clarify that in due course, I don’t want to take up time on this.

Rodric Williams: It says there’s some cultural issues –

Mr Moloney: That’s it, so –

Rodric Williams: I read that as being Susan Crichton, but I’m –

Mr Moloney: Okay. Well, if you go to the top of the page, actually, please just for a moment. I’m sorry, the document – we see there Simon Clarke, (SC). Oh, I see, but they’re both “SC” –

Rodric Williams: They’re both “SC”.

Mr Moloney: – Susan Crichton and Simon Clarke. So down to the bottom of the page again then, please, where it must be Simon Clarke because it says:

“SC said that there had been some ‘cultural issues’ at the start which had now been overcome but he thought that it was necessary to put duties on individuals.”

Rodric Williams: Of course, thank you –

Mr Moloney: So we now know it’s Simon Clarke?

Rodric Williams: I didn’t know how Simon – it didn’t feel like Simon would be talking about cultural issues, which felt like an internal Post Office thing, so my apologies.

Mr Moloney: Well quite, that’s – and that’s perhaps an important point, Mr Williams, because with Simon Clarke referring to cultural issues at that juncture, could he perhaps be referring to attitudes to disclosure there?

Rodric Williams: It’s possible. I don’t know what Simon would have been referring to. I think – I don’t know what Susan would be referring to but, when I looked at this, I thought I might be able to have a better idea. With Simon, I’m less sure, I’m sorry.

Mr Moloney: But you’ve no recollection, is probably the most important point?

Rodric Williams: I think it is – sorry, I don’t recall, I’m sorry.

Mr Moloney: Then it carries on:

“Consequently [Cartwright King] are in the process of writing a protocol to explain the purpose of the weekly hub meetings, the roles and responsibilities of individuals. [Post Office Limited] were picking up issues which were compiled in the matrix and it was observed that there had to be continuity of individual attendance at this meeting and everyone must be on message.”

So that reference to observe that there had to be continuity of individual attendance at this meeting, have you any recollection of that perhaps relating to certain individuals attending sometimes but essentially sending other persons to represent them at others?

Rodric Williams: No, I just think, particularly in terms of the start point, that there was – I seem to recall a bit of a – there had to be a bit of a drumming up to ensure that attendance at the meetings from the right people, and that included from other parts of the business that were not Legal/Security/connected with prosecutions.

Mr Moloney: Okay, and “everyone must be on message”, was that essentially taking the same approach to the collation of material?

Rodric Williams: That’s how I read that.

Mr Moloney: Right.

Rodric Williams: But – that’s how I read that.

Mr Moloney: Now, I have just briefly touched on that, can I please go to the shredding advice which is POL00006799, and to paragraph 5, please. This paragraph 5 is where Mr Clarke relates what it is that’s been conveyed to him, so – thank you very much. So we see at paragraph 5:

“At some point following the conclusion of the third conference call, which I understand to have taken place on the morning of Wednesday, 31 July, it became unclear as to whether and to what extent material was either being retained centrally or disseminated. The following if has been relayed to me …”

Then, firstly:

“The minutes of a previous conference call had been typed and emailed to a number of persons. An instruction was then given that those emails and minutes should be, and have been, destroyed: the word ‘shredded’ was conveyed to me.”

Now, in your draft letter for Susan Crichton, you suggested that the contents of this advice caused deep concern, that “I’m therefore deeply concerned at the suggestion in Simon’s note”, yes?

Rodric Williams: Yes, that’s what I understood.

Mr Moloney: Did that first point cause you deep concern?

Rodric Williams: Well, there are two bits there, the giving of the instruction that had been given, and the word “shredded”, that, as I’ve said, was the concern.

Mr Moloney: Okay, and that caused you deep concern?

Rodric Williams: That – well, for me, any suggestion of shredding is deeply problematic, deeply concerning because you don’t. But it’s the first bit, the minutes had been typed and emailed. That piece would have been less concerning because an email is very difficult to shred.

Mr Moloney: Well, this says that:

“Handwritten minutes were not to be type and should be forwarded to POL Head of Security.”

Did that cause you any concern?

Rodric Williams: Well, would have done, yes. Well, not necessarily – necessarily the keeping of handwritten minutes as opposed to typed ones –

Mr Moloney: But not –

Rodric Williams: – is not in – it’s –

Mr Moloney: – typed?

Rodric Williams: It would have been odd in the Post Office to have done that. That feels like you’re trying to get around something.

Mr Moloney: Quite. Then at (iii):

“Advice had been given to [Post Office Limited] which I report as relayed to me verbatim:

“‘If it’s not minuted it’s not in the public domain and therefore not disclosable’.”

Is that something that caused you any concern?

Rodric Williams: It caused me, I think, confusion when I read it and still does because, whether something is in the form of a minute or not doesn’t determine whether it’s in the public domain and neither does being in the public domain determine whether something is disclosable. It’s disclosable if it’s disclosable, whether it’s held internally or on a website.

Mr Moloney: What about the final bit:

“‘If it’s produced it’s available for disclosure – if not minuted then technically it’s not’.”

Rodric Williams: Again, if I look at the front bit of it, “If it’s produced it is available for disclosure”, that feels correct; “if not minuted then technically it’s not”, I don’t think that’s right. So I take this as a sort of confused – I found this confusing, this message.

Mr Moloney: Right. Then:

“Some at POL do not wish to minute the weekly conference calls.”

Rodric Williams: Yes, I can see that.

Mr Moloney: Now, may I take you, please, to a different document which is POL00107696. Now, this is a document that was sent to you, I think, yesterday, Mr Williams. It’s an email from Emily Springford. Could we go to – I think it’s the second page of this document, please, and if we keep going on, please, actually. Yeah.

So this is quite a long email but do you have it in hard copy and would you like to see all of it, or are you okay on the screen?

Rodric Williams: I’m fine. Thank you for checking. I’m sorry.

Mr Moloney: This is an email from 20 October 2011 and it’s from Emily Springford. Now, Emily Springford, she was a senior lawyer at Royal Mail from 2009 to 2012 and, if we go right to the end of this email – I’m sorry for the document examiner, to the end of this email, we can see what her role was. We see there “Emily Springford Principal Lawyer – Dispute Resolution”. Could we go back to where we were, please. Thank you.

Did you overlap with Ms Springford at all –

Rodric Williams: I only saw this literally, I think, five minutes before we started this morning and my very quick read is I think the whole chain is before I joined Post Office.

Mr Moloney: Well, it is, because it’s October 2011, but did you overlap with Emily Springford at all, because she left in 2012?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall ever meeting her, no.

Mr Moloney: Okay. Anyway, this, as we can see, from the first paragraph, says:

“As you are aware, [the Post Office] has received 4 letters of claim from former subpostmasters, making a number of allegations about the training they received, the support available to them … and the Horizon system itself.”

This comes in the wake of letters before claim from four former subpostmasters, including the late Julian Wilson, who didn’t live to see his conviction quashed and I don’t use that as a stick to beat you, Mr Williams, it’s simply I think it ought to be remarked upon as something of that nature.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry.

Mr Moloney: It goes to a number of very senior people at Post Office, as we can see. So it goes to Angela van den Bogerd; Lesley Sewell, who was the Head of IT – the names are very familiar to people, regularly attending these proceedings – Mike Granville; Dave Pardoe; Hugh Flemington; Dave Simpson; Mike Young, Kevin Gilliland; Susan Crichton; Chris Day; Sue Huggins; and John Scott. So, in effect, it’s to the top brass on a day-to-day basis, isn’t it?

Rodric Williams: I certainly recognise quite a few of those names. I don’t know the place in the company at the time.

Mr Moloney: Now, the final paragraph on that page says:

“Please ensure that this communication reaches everyone in your department who has access to, or who is in a position to create, documents relating to the issues arising in the claims (as set out more fully below). I have started a list of teams which we believe may hold relevant documents. The list is attached: I should be grateful if you would let me know of any other teams which might hold documents relevant to the claims.”

If we could, please, just move down the page beyond “Document preservation” to “Document creation”. Now, this reads – if you’ll just give me a moment, please – this reads:

“It is very important that we control the creation of documents which relate to any of the above issues and which might be potentially damaging to POL’s defence to the claims, as these may have to be disclosed if these claims proceed to litigation. Your staff should therefore think very carefully before committing to writing anything relating to the above issues which is critical of our own processes or systems, including emails, reports or briefing notes. We appreciate that this will not always be practicable, however.”

“Where it is necessary to create a document containing critical comment on these issues, it will in certain circumstances be possible to claim privilege over the document, so that POL will not have to disclose it in any proceedings. As litigation is now a distinct possibility, the document will be privileged if its dominant purpose is to give/receive legal advice about the litigation or to gather evidence for use in the litigation. This also applies to communications with third parties – ie with other organisations – provided they are confidential and their dominant purpose is as set out above. All of the following steps should be taken in order to maximise the chances of privilege attaching to the document:

“If the dominant purpose of the communication is not to obtain legal advice, try to structure the document in such a way that its dominant purpose can be said to be evidence gathering for use in the litigation;

“Mark every such communication ‘legally privileged and confidential’;

“If you are sending the document to someone, state in the covering email/memo/letter that you are not waiving privilege by doing so;

“Request that the recipient of a communication confirm that the document will be kept confidential and that he/she will not forward it to anyone else;

“Think very carefully before ‘replying to all’ on an email – do all the recipients need to see the communication?

“Where possible and appropriate, copy a member of Legal Services in to the communication, and make clear that you are doing so to enable them to advise on the content. Please note that copying a member of Legal Services into the communication alone will not necessarily suffice.

“If in doubt, call Legal Services before committing anything to writing which relates to these issues and contains critical wording.”

Just to be clear, could we go up from this email to see the next email from Emily Springford, who obviously is very keen to ensure that this message is conveyed to all places where it needs to be received. Yes, here we go. So this is to Alison Bolsover, John Breeden, Sue Richardson, Graham Padget, Sarah Rimmer and Dave Hulbert:

“Please see the email below: this message should have reached you via your team leaders but in the interests of certainty I have included it here.”

Now, the effect of this, Mr Williams, is, essentially, “If you want to impart something critical about Horizon, be very careful before you put it in writing”.

Rodric Williams: Well, about the complaint, I think, is – but yes, it’s care in communications.

Mr Moloney: It is.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: It’s “Don’t put anything in writing that might cause us problems in the litigation”.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, I’ve literally read it for the first time this morning, so don’t feel I can comment on that but it’s certainly – it looks to follow similar communications I’ve seen that goes out as what is called a litigation hold letter, when litigation is anticipated. I’m just saying that’s how I read it.

Mr Moloney: Can we just go back to –

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry –

Mr Moloney: I’m just –

Rodric Williams: I’m being asked about something I don’t –

Mr Moloney: I just want to take you to this because I’m going to take you back to the Clarke Advice, the shredding advice, in a second, and to “Document creation”, please. Now, as a lawyer now, Mr Williams –

Rodric Williams: Sorry, I’m skim reading it as we go through it.

Mr Moloney: Let’s go through it a little bit carefully then:

“It is very important that we control the creation of documents which relate to any of the above issues and which might be potentially damaging to POL’s defence to the claims …”

Yes? So that’s the important issue, “might be damaging to POL’s defence”.

Rodric Williams: I see that, yes.

Mr Moloney: “… as these may have to be disclosed if these claims proceed to litigation.”

Thinking about disclosure, yeah?

Rodric Williams: Understood, yes.

Mr Moloney: “Your staff should therefore think very carefully before committing to writing anything relating to the above issues which is critical of our own processes or systems …”

Rodric Williams: Thank you for taking me back to that. Yes, I can see that, yes.

Mr Moloney: Entirely. Then, just to add a gloss to that, with the use of privilege:

“Where it’s necessary to create a document containing critical comment on these issues, it will in certain circumstances be possible to claim privilege over the document, so that POL will not have to disclose it in any proceedings. As litigation is now a distinct possibility, the document will be privileged if its dominant purpose is to give or receive legal advice about the litigation or to gather evidence for use in a litigation.”

But then it says:

“If the dominant purpose of the communication is not to obtain legal advice, try to structure the document in such a way that its dominant purpose can be said to be evidence gathering for use in the litigation.”

Now, the whole thrust of this is that, “If people commit critical opinions on Horizon or critical facts on Horizon to writing, then this might cause trouble for us in the litigation, in fact we might even lose the litigation”, is the ultimate effect of it.

Ironically, this is in writing, in black and white.

Can I go back to the shredding advice now, please, which, for the document handler, is POL00006799, and to paragraph 5 again, please.

Now, if we look at (iii):

“Advice had been given to POL which I report as relayed to me verbatim …”

If we look at the second aspect of that:

“‘If it’s produced it’s available for disclosure – if not minuted then technically it’s not’.”

“Advice had been given to POL which I report as relayed to me verbatim:

“‘If it’s produced it’s available for disclosure – if not minuted then technically it’s not’.”

Isn’t that precisely in accordance with the diktat of Ms Springford back in 2011?

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, I’m not necessarily making that – but I’m also not. I don’t feel I can give evidence on those two correlations without – I’d want to take time, which –

Mr Moloney: And –

Rodric Williams: I don’t think I’d add much to it, I’m sorry, unless I can. I think you’re asking me just to agree a submission, almost.

Mr Moloney: No, I’m just asking you: do you not see the similarity between that approach and what is said by Ms Springford in her email in October 2011, and is that not advice which has been given by a lawyer in Post Office?

Rodric Williams: At this – I’ve seen the advice which was given by a lawyer to the Post Office, and I’ve seen that. I don’t see references to it. I’m sorry, I just feel really uncomfortable trying to conflate –

Mr Moloney: Don’t worry, I won’t try and – I’ll leave the alone.

Rodric Williams: I’m sorry, I really do want to help but I don’t feel I can.

Mr Moloney: Don’t worry, Mr Williams. But to return to the terms of the letter that you drafted for Ms Crichton, that instruction from Ms Springfield was far from open, transparent and lawful, was it?

Rodric Williams: I can’t speak about – again, I haven’t had a chance to properly read it. The skim read I’ve done there makes it look largely similar to a lot of precedent litigation hold communications that are sent out, with some more, but I hadn’t had a chance to consider the detail.

Mr Moloney: Can I ask you that more general question then, just very quickly: saying “Right don’t put anything critical in writing because we might have to disclose it and that might cause us problems in litigation”, that’s the bottom line of it, is that – reading that, is that unique in your experience or is that something which is a commonplace in civil litigation?

Rodric Williams: The warning on care in communications is commonplace in my experience of litigation: if you’re in litigation, be aware that if you’re creating documents they may be disclosable and there are some protections that provide privileges to those communications.

Mr Moloney: But what about “Don’t say anything critical in writing because that might have to be disclosed”?

Rodric Williams: Sorry, thank you, that strikes me as being more focused and targeted than I’ve seen in typical communications like –

Mr Moloney: Right, okay. I’ll move on to my second topic now, and –

Rodric Williams: Sorry, before you do that, can I take a two-minute break?

Mr Moloney: Provided Sir Wyn take the two minutes off my time.

The Witness: Sorry, I should have asked you, Sir Wyn. I’m now doing it very publicly, I’m afraid.

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes, of course, you must have a comfort break.

The Witness: Thank you, sir.

(3.18 pm)

(A short break)

(3.21 pm)

Mr Beer: Sir Wyn, can you see and hear us?

Sir Wyn Williams: Yes, I can thank you.

Mr Beer: Back to Mr Moloney.

Mr Moloney: Not at all. Second item is Crown Offices and this is a document POL00144855. It’s not a complex document this one, Mr Williams, there’s only one point to take out of it. You can probably look at it on the screen safely. It’s the 14 bug, and it’s an email from you to a number of people, Lesley Sewell, Alwen Lyons, senior people, on 27 June 2013, yes?

Rodric Williams: Mm-hm.

Mr Moloney: It refers to the 14 bug and it says that you’re writing letters, essentially, to all the subpostmasters affected by it and you say in the second paragraph:

“Can I please have any comments on these ASAP by midday tomorrow so they can be sent to the 10 affected branches tomorrow …”

In parentheses:

“… (10 as we are not writing to the 4 Crowns also affected).”

Can I just ask why – this is a short point – why were the Crown Offices not having letters sent to them?

Rodric Williams: Because they are owned and managed by Post Office; it was essentially Post Office writing to Post Office.

Mr Moloney: Precisely. But this bug and, by inference, other bugs, were also affecting Crown Offices, weren’t they?

Rodric Williams: I don’t know to what extent they were or weren’t, but the bugs would affect the Horizon system, which were in Crowns and others. So –

Mr Moloney: Because this says “10 as we are not writing to the 4 Crowns also affected”, so the bugs were affecting whether they all were or some of them, at one time or another, et cetera, et cetera, Crown Offices were being affected by these bugs?

Rodric Williams: They could be affected by a bug equally, yes.

Mr Moloney: The reason I ask you about this, is that it may be – and it will be – that a witness comes and says, “One of the reasons I thought Horizon difficulties were not systemic but instead be due to the errors and other behaviour of subpostmasters because the difficulties didn’t affect Crown Offices”, that would be a mistaken assumption on their part, wouldn’t it?

Rodric Williams: Right, I don’t know the full context of it but a bug would affect it – my understanding is a bug would affect Horizon terminal, but – I think they all had the same equipment, is the short point.

Mr Moloney: So far as you were aware, there is no reason to believe that bugs affected Crown Offices any less or any more than sub post offices; you just don’t know, do you?

Rodric Williams: No, I don’t, that’s correct.

Mr Moloney: Were you aware of there being any differences of the proportion of prosecutions of postmasters, as opposed to managers of Crown Offices?

Rodric Williams: I’m not familiar with that.

Mr Moloney: It’s not your area, is it –

Rodric Williams: No.

Mr Moloney: – the criminal prosecutions, but what about civil recovery. Any difference so far as civil recovery for shortfalls in Crown Offices?

Rodric Williams: Well, I don’t think Post Office – it would be – it would be seeking to recover from itself, at a Crown Office –

Mr Moloney: Exactly. Whereas in the case of subpostmasters, you could recover from subpostmasters, couldn’t you?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: And you did?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: They had a contract which stipulated that they were liable for all shortfalls?

Rodric Williams: It depends how it is construed now, shortfalls caused by I think on the pre – the old model contract, pre-Common Issues judgment, I think it was for errors caused by their own carelessness, negligence or error.

Mr Moloney: Quite. Post Office, in its approach to civil recovery, asserted that postmasters were liable for all shortfalls, unless they could show they weren’t responsible for them, in effect, didn’t they?

Rodric Williams: Yes, well, I think that’s slightly – all I’m able to say is I know what the contract was, I don’t know how it was always enforced, vis à vis the network, but whether it was all or just those or what was done to determine those two. But, certainly, the point is Post Office pursued postmasters for shortfalls – yes.

Mr Moloney: The shortfalls – they obviously didn’t pursue Crown Offices because it was their own money but they pursued subpostmasters because they were, essentially, on a contract, which meant that they were, in theory, on the face of it, liable for shortfalls and that was the approach that Post Office took to them?

Rodric Williams: I think, yes, yes.

Mr Moloney: They had limited resources to fight the claims against them, they couldn’t afford the services of a Bond Dickinson or a Herbert Smith Freehills, could they?

Rodric Williams: Speaking very generally, I think it’s safe to say they’d be less likely to, that’s for sure. I would say that, yes.

Mr Moloney: Just, finally, then, the remote access and Project Zebra, and I’d like to take you to POL00255949.

Rodric Williams: Sorry, Mr Moloney, can I have the –

Mr Moloney: I’ll find you the reference in the –

Rodric Williams: Thank you.

Mr Moloney: Whilst I’m getting you the reference in the –

In your B/275, Mr Williams, and I’m grateful to Ms Patrick.

Rodric Williams: Thank you. I can see it as well.

Mr Moloney: Now, this is an email from Amy Prime to you on 26 July 2018?

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: We can see who is copied in, Andrew Parsons, Mark Underwood, and this is a query about privilege.

For reasons of time, have you looked at this document before you came to give evidence, and you remember it?

Rodric Williams: I did thank you, yes.

Mr Moloney: Essentially, it’s Amy Prime asking about privilege in relation to documents which relate to Project Zebra – that’s the Deloitte report – and most documents are covered by privilege but they’ve come up with one, they’ve found one, and this is the Zebra Action Summary:

“I have attached the email chain but the document of interest is the Zebra Action Summary attached to the email. This is a document produced in response to the Zebra Report which sets out the recommendations from the Report and the remediation which should be implemented to Horizon.

“Counsel’s initial view is that privilege cannot be claimed over the whole of the Zebra Action Summary but the parts which repeat or summarise the contents of the Deloitte report can be redacted.”

Then she asks you to ask a few questions of people; do you remember this?

Rodric Williams: I didn’t remember it specifically but I have seen this as part of the preparation for it, so yes.

Mr Moloney: So it’s plain that, if possible, they would like to keep privileged and not disclose the contents of the Deloitte report, as summarised within the document?

Rodric Williams: The way I read this is that they’re considering privilege over the extracts of the argument, yes.

Mr Moloney: Absolutely.

Rodric Williams: Absolutely.

Mr Moloney: Consistent with the approach to Deloitte more generally?

Rodric Williams: Yeah.

Mr Moloney: You’ve said that the Post Office didn’t understand the full significance of the Deloitte report until the Chairman’s report; is that right?

Rodric Williams: No, I wouldn’t have said that. What I said was the full significance of the remote access piece.

Mr Moloney: Yes.

Rodric Williams: Sorry, the –

Mr Moloney: Sorry, that’s confusion on my part. Did it boil down to you didn’t appreciate they could delete in an undetectable way?

Rodric Williams: I think it referred to the balancing transactions piece it was the audit store. The piece I hadn’t appreciated was the ability to access the audit store, remove and replace it.

Mr Moloney: So to delete material and then replace it in an undetectable way?

Rodric Williams: That was the bit I recall giving evidence about, I’m sorry if it’s –

Mr Moloney: Exactly. You hadn’t appreciated the full significance and, so far as you’re aware, other people in Post Office hadn’t appreciated that significance from the Deloitte report either –

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: – until the Chairman’s report?

Rodric Williams: That’s what my recollection is, yes.

Mr Moloney: Now, in order to comply with these requests, did you examine the Zebra Action Summary?

Rodric Williams: Um …

Mr Moloney: I won’t waste time; I’ll just take you to it.

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall doing that. Was it attached to the email?

Mr Moloney: Yes.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: It says it’s attached.

Rodric Williams: Thank you. Then I may well have done and I certainly –

Mr Moloney: Can we have a look at it, please. It’s POL00031409. E/25, please, Mr Williams.

Rodric Williams: E/25, yes. Thank you. I’m so sorry. Yes.

Mr Moloney: Page 6, if we could. Just to identify it, 12 June 2014, version 3, authors James Rees, Emma McGinn and Julie George, and these are the people who are referred to in the email that you’re asked to ask questions of.

Page 6 of this, please, 4.2.2. This is a document produced within Post Office, by technical people within Post Office, and it says at 4.2.2 “Data Logging”.

Rodric Williams: Yes.

Mr Moloney: “One point raised in the report [that is referring to the Deloitte report] was that it was possible for someone with privileged access to delete data from specific areas of Horizon. This is always a risk with individuals using admin or power user accounts and is a persistent risk, one that needs to be catered for in almost any organisation.

“Due to the sensitive nature of the information contained in the databases, monitoring of those databases should be put in place using technology to detect and record deletions and administrative changes to the databases. If possible, alerts should also be generated for mass deletions and high level risk changes to database schemas.”

So this is an internal Post Office document, it’s from June 2014. It says that the Deloitte report identifies deletion, the potential for deletions, and that processes need to be put in place in order to ensure that that doesn’t happen in an undetected way. So it’s plain that these people in Post Office understood that data could be deleted.

Rodric Williams: They’re certainly discussing it in this, yes.

Mr Moloney: Absolutely. Now, can I now take you to an email, which is POL00346958. E/129 for you, Mr Williams.

I’ll repeat the POL00346958 for the document handler.

Rodric Williams: E/129 was it?

Mr Moloney: Yes, that’s it.

Remember at the time you, Mr Williams, were involved in certifying, in May 2014, two Second Sight formal certifications, it was described by Mr Parsons, that there couldn’t be access to delete. That was what Second Sight required and you explained how things happened. This is in June 2014, and this is an email from Julie George, who is the person producing the report. It’s to Rod Ismay, David Mason and Malcolm Zack. So you’re not copied into this but what it says is:

“Hello all,

“I’ve tried to call you Rod – attached a Draft Summary of actions arising from Deloitte’s recent piece of work on the Horizon systems.”

So that’s the Zebra Action Summary we’ve just looked at, and we can see it in the subject, “Zebra Action Summary [version] 3”, and the attachment, “Zebra Action Summary [version] 3”:

“Clearly there is no blame attached anywhere, and this morning’s meeting with Chris Day, Chris Aujard, Lesley [that will be Lesley Sewell] and Malcolm – focused on what we would need to put in place as an organisation to address overall assurance on all critical systems, starting with Horizon from 1 April.”

So it looks like that morning, 17 June 2014, General Counsel – Interim General Counsel, as he was – Mr Aujard, had been at a meeting with, amongst others, Lesley Sewell, the Head of IT, where Zebra Action Summary had been discussed.

Did anybody ever raise with you the contents of the Zebra Action Summary at this time when you were providing Second Sight with, as it were, formal certification that there could not be remote access to delete and replace entries in the audit?

Rodric Williams: I don’t recall. I do recall that – at some point, I think there is a document where I explain something arising out of these works and it involves balancing transactions, which I was interested in. But I don’t recall this, I’m sorry.

Mr Moloney: You don’t recall “delete in an undetectable way” because those are the things that you ultimately were very surprised about when Jonathan Swift Queen’s Counsel, as he then was, drew your attention to that in the report?

Rodric Williams: Yes. That’s my recollection, yes.

Mr Moloney: Thank you very much, Mr Williams. That’s all I ask.

The Witness: Thank you.

Sir Wyn Williams: Thank you, Mr Moloney.

So, first of all, Mr Williams, I believe that that is the end of the questioning for you. So I am grateful to you for your detailed witness statement and for you giving evidence over the past two days. So thank you.

I’d like to thank the counsel, leading counsel and Mr Jacobs, for the discipline which they’ve shown in keeping to time limits.

I understand, Mr Beer, we plan to start again at 9.45 on Tuesday; is that correct?

Mr Beer: Yes, that’s right, sir.

Sir Wyn Williams: So we’ll begin again at 9.45 on Tuesday with Ms Crichton, yes?

Mr Beer: That’s right.

Sir Wyn Williams: So we’ll adjourn until then. Thank you very much.

Mr Beer: Thank you, sir.

(3.37 pm)

(The hearing adjourned until 9.45 am on Tuesday, 23 April 2024)