dilley

Dilley, Blake, Jones.


Womble Bond Dickinson partner Stephen Dilley has defended his record conducting the Post Office’s case against sub-postmaster Lee Castleton in a session of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry. 

Dilley, who at the time of the case was a solicitor at Bond Pearce, told the hearing that he could have given a very short statement consisting of “I don’t remember” since it all occurred around 18 years ago, but chose not to because “I didn’t think that would be helpful; we’re here to learn”.

Julian Blake, a barrister at 11 King’s Bench Walk and counsel for the Inquiry, wanted to learn if Dilley wished to say anything to Castleton or his family, who were made bankrupt as a result of the Post Office’s case against him. 

“No there isn’t”, Dilley replied. He said that he was “Satisfied that I acted - and my firm acted - politely, compassionately and appropriately at all times”.

Dilley explained that he never believed Castleton dishonestly took money from the Post Office, and emphasised that his client had tried to settle the counterclaim brought by the sub-postmaster many times without success.

He also denied that the case had been intended to make an example of Castleton to scare off other sub-postmasters who might have made claims over the shoddy IT.

“I think it was less about making an example of Mr Castleton, and more about sending a message that they were willing to defend the Fujitsu Horizon system”, said Dilley, which Blake suggested were not materially different positions. 

The solicitor took the opportunity to publicly address Castleton’s allegation that before the original hearing, he told the sub-postmaster that the Post Office would “ruin” him.

“I refute using that language", said Dilley. "It just doesn’t sound like language I would use?”

“It makes me sound like a Vinnie Jones character from an East End gangster film. It’s just not at all who I am", he said, adding that if he had used those words, he would have written them down in his note of the call. “I was saying the costs to him were going to be significant to him if we win, and that’s entirely right”, said the partner.

“I don’t want to speculate what his mind was saying to himself as I said that…But I am clear - really clear - that the language that I used to Mr Castleton was not that the Post Office would ruin him”.

Although, said Dilley, “I entirely accept that we had advised the Post Office more than once that there was a serious risk that if we succeeded in their case against Mr Castleton that he would be unable to pay all of their claim”.

During the Castleton case, the Post Office chose not to disclose the fact that it was logging 12,000 to 15,000 calls a month from sub-postmasters flagging issues with the Horizon system, or the substance of those calls.

Asked if that huge volume constituted a reason to investigate further for the purposes of disclosure, Dilley told Blake, “I don’t think so”.

Not only would it have been too onerous an exercise, it also didn’t necessarily mean there were real problems with the system, explained Dilley. As an example, he joked that when he called the Womble Bond Dickinson IT team, the problem usually turned out to be his fault.

“I ring my IT support desk because I think I’ve got a problem with my computer - when you make the call, it’s mostly me”, he laughed.

The implication that he believed the same was true of thousands of sub-postmasters' calls appeared to leave Blake briefly speechless, but Dilley went on to explain that Horizon was very hard to use, citing the fact that its user manual alone filled one or two lever arch files.

“So 12 to 15,000 calls is too many to search, but not enough to show there’s a problem with Horizon?” asked Blake.

Dilley replied that it would not have generated enough relevant information, and would have “drowned Mr Castleton”. 

Blake asked if that was a matter for Castleton, rather than Bond Pearce, but Dilley retorted that a regular complaint from claimants was that disclosure had “swamped“ them. 

“I absolutely believe that Post Office met its duty of carrying out a reasonable search by the criteria of the Civil Procedure Rules”, said Dilley.

However, towards the end of the session, some cracks appeared in Dilley’s staunch defence of his client. 

During Castleton’s case, the Post Office also chose not to disclose that many other sub-postmasters were in the process of bringing claims, but Dilley said that he was only ever made aware of two others by his Post Office contact.

“She did have a turn of phrase that wasn’t always, I came to learn, accurate, and the only two cases that came to my attention, when we dug on this, were those two”, he said. "If she was aware of more cases - 555 more cases - she never told me, she never told my firm".

“I asked the Post Office if they had done a thorough job…and I thought they had", he said.

A spokesperson for Womble Bond Dickinson said that as Dilley's testimony was continuing on Friday, it felt it would be inappropriate to comment.
 


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Tip Off ROF

Comments

Unbelievable 22 September 23 17:46

To quote: 

"During the Castleton case, the Post Office chose not to disclose the fact that it was logging 12,000 to 15,000 calls a month from sub-postmasters flagging issues with the Horizon system, or the substance of those calls.

Asked if that huge volume constituted a reason to investigate further for the purposes of disclosure, Dilley told Blake, “I don’t think so”.

Not only would it have been too onerous an exercise, it also didn’t necessarily mean there were real problems with the system, explained Dilley. As an example, he joked that when he called the Womble Bond Dickinson IT team, the problem usually turned out to be his fault."

 

So now we know Dilley accepts whatever he is told without any recourse to VERIFYING and VALIDATING those facts.  Very dangerous to rely on assumptions when advocating in court.  

If there are any businesses or companies or individuals currently involved in cases where Dilley is advising the other side you can safely assume he has no idea of the true facts and cannot be bothered to do any due diligence because it will be too onerous ... and anyway, it can probably all be resolved by an IT 101 reboot!  

Stupid individual. 

 

Unbelievable 22 September 23 17:59

@Anon 22 September 23 09:06

 

Whilst Dilley might not have actually said "listen mate, this case will ruin you, we're gonna take you for everyfink you've got" he did phrase what he was saying to get that exact message across.  No doubt about it.  

And for Dilley to say had he said "the PO [or we] will ruin you" that he would have duly noted it down and recorded it for his files - well, he must think we were all born yesterday.  Utter arrogance.  

 

 

 

Rosie Brocklehurst 22 September 23 18:03

 @tipoficeberg  Thanks. I  really went off and had a little weep at the vile and abusive trollsters from Cockwombles ( a real slang noun and the  new nickname among the subpostmaster litigants) in response to my request for help to shine a light. Your kind words went some way to make me feel slightly better. What a hideous firm. I had never heard about them before this Inquiry.  Please keep your ear to the ground . The Inquiry is ongoing but what court of appeal case are you referring to?

I am the wrong person to rub up the wrong way and I have all the time in the world now to ensure WBDs reputation or what is left of it, takes a dive.

 

Too many filters 22 September 23 18:07

Many of the comments on here reflect the massive amount of ill-feeling out there directed at WBD and rightly so.

The comments like those made by the individual at 15.54, on the other hand, smack of precisely the arrogance of those running the firm. 

I can assure you that WBD’s “rivals” (such that there are any - I don’t think any firm actually genuinely sees them as competition) have much better things to do than waste time spamming an article about the colossus that is your firm.

The negative comments are based upon the bad experiences of many, the atrocious form and behaviour of the firm and the fact that people don’t usually like to see huge miscarriages of justice.

Unbelievable 22 September 23 18:21

@Anonymous 22 September 23 15:16 ... I think he has deleted his Linkedin profile. 

Or it might be one of those thousands of funny IT issues he constantly has where he rings the WBD IT department only to find it is user error on his part!  So funny.  

I think HMRC VAT should be on the case here as far as WBD's tax situation is concerned.  Clearly the partners do not believe in full disclosure and would not want to pass on so much information to HMRC VAT if there is a danger of overloading the poor dears.   

Tip 22 September 23 18:35

Rosie, google Bates v post office

Kindness 22 September 23 18:58

Remember Wombles kindness is a strength not a weekness

Anon 22 September 23 19:16

Rosie Brocklehurst 22 September 23 18:03: not abuse, Rosie. Just ensuring that you don’t denigrate others without evidence. So far, there is no evidence that WBD did anything wrong. And crying won’t change that - only lead us to believe that you are being manipulative.

Dose of reality 22 September 23 19:18

Let's all take a breath and pause and remember what this is all about. Innocent people were wrongly convicted jailed broken bankrupted defamed disowned and died before clearing their names. Families ruined. The PO have unreservedly apologised for their part in this human tradegy. Wombles have earned over £53 million over 19 years and still going. So far they have shown no sign of any compassion at all. If reports from inside WBD are accurate they see the inquiry as excellent because they are able to keep their offensive billing going. Deeply offensive to the legal profession. SRA you watching? 

Anon 22 September 23 19:21

WBD’s rivals still spouting bile and spam voting. Says it all. They have no evidence.

Backfired 22 September 23 19:22

WBD strategy on ROF backfired again. Spamming has rather backfired  . Board you are as inept as you are as arrogant. Marketing and HR not far behind. This sorry saga has lots to run. Maybe a whistle blower will come forward? Takes only one to start an avalanche .

Anon 22 September 23 19:23

Unbelievable 22 September 23 17:59 - his evidence was that the tone of the file note was inconsistent with his use of the alleged language, which is entirely correct.

Anon 22 September 23 19:36

There are no victims of WBD. 

Arrogance 22 September 23 19:38

Rosie Paul the MP at WBD won't care less. He was the head of commercial litigation whilst WBD getting slatted in court of appeal so he is part of the problem

Anonymous 22 September 23 20:58

Anon 19:21 is stuck in steps 1&2 of the Womble pattern.
 

1. denial

2. anger

3. unsubstantiated boasts

4. bargaining

5. self pity. 

Anon 22 September 23 21:03

I think it's plausible that the lawyer made the threat he was accused of. Because some litigators do. Perhaps the words were different and more subtle but the intent the same - "our client's got bigger pockets, do you - just one person - really want to fight us for months and years?"

(Looks like WBD bods are downvoting any critical comments. Who else would downvote reasonable comments sympathising with the innocent postmasters who genuinely went through hell (together with their families)? Look yourself in the mirror - this is not about WBD; it's about appropriate behaviour. Saying he has nothing to say to the victims is just s***.It's hard to justify one's stance just by saying "well, I was only doing my job." Why not also add "well if I had the chance again, I'd do things exactly the same way."

Awful, atrocious miscarriage of justice.

The victims are human beings. Innocent lives ruined and, in some cases, lost because of the witch hunt. There was no case. It was all b*******t.

This is an inquiry - you're not going to get sued by saying you have sympathy for the victims now you know what you know. Even the contractors and suppliers responsive for Grenfell showed more emotion before the parliamentary inquiry.

But the other thing I think this shows is that maybe as lawyers maybe there should be some regulation of behaviour in these David v Goliath fights when some much is on the line for the little guy (who doesn't even have a slingshot).

In the Belly of the Brazen Bull 22 September 23 21:06

Do you think little Paul and wee Jonny are sat together this evening, faces puce with rage,  with RoF open on their laptops furiously up/down voting on these comments? 
 

“How dare they criticise us, Jonny?! We’re The Best Firm In The World”.

”Too right, Paul. Everyone knows we’re fantastic. They’re just jealous. We ARE the law”.

Anonymous 22 September 23 21:09

Youtube auto-captions is calling WBD "One Ball Bond Dickinson". 

Please can Roll on Friday call WBD by this name in all future articles?

Anonymous 22 September 23 21:47

The timing of the mandatory ethics training is something else 

Anon 22 September 23 21:50

In the Belly of the Brazen Bull 22 September 23 21:06 - that’s not very likely. They have better things to do. And the evidence thus far does not establish any wrongdoing on the part of WBD. Far more likely that WBD’s rivals are continuing their poisonous agenda by fake voting.

Orinoco fingered me 22 September 23 23:22

I quite liked it 

Anonymous 23 September 23 02:20

Tip - I know Bates V Post Office very well. I was wondering what recent 'Appeal' you might be referring to.  

Vinnie Jones 23 September 23 08:22

I’m gonna facking sue

Botville 23 September 23 08:59

I just upvoted a comment. Downvote numbers immediately went up by 12…

Anonymous 23 September 23 09:38

I can well imagine a litigator saying what it is claimed was said.  Two diametrically opposed recollections, only one is right. 

Wombling Free 23 September 23 10:56

Horrible people and a horrible firm well overdue a dose of karma. They utterly lack the human touch and are completely unaware of how this holds them back from being a great (or even a good) firm. The fact that even their own employees clearly despise them should be a massive warning sign for management that there are serious cultural problems that need to be addressed. 

The Andy Parsons Project 23 September 23 11:02

Will the SRA look at this, or are they too busy with the woke agenda they are pushing at the moment?

A fair minded poster 23 September 23 13:54

Womble Bond Dickinson are wonderful.

Vinnie Jones 23 September 23 17:44

I've acted like a Vinnie Jones character in quite a few films.

I think it went well.

Anonymous 23 September 23 19:02

Paul Marshall KC summary of why the case against Lee Castleton was wrong in law following Prosecuting KC   questioning Morgan’s evidence to Inquiry under Jason Beer’s questioning. Post Office -v Castleton.  The real problem with the POs case against Lee Castleton on accounts/agency is that it was wrong in law. But judge Havery in 2006 unlike Fraser J in 2019 did not notice - and Castleton was unrepresented. Being wrong, as PO knew and intended it reversed the burden of proof which was simply impossible for Lee Castleton to discharge - without full disclosure being given by PO of bugs errors and defects in Horizon - which it had no intention of giving. It would have also required expert evidence. Unable to afford legal representation he could not afford an expert. It must be assumed that with competent legal representation the fallacy of the Post Office’s case would have been exposed and Havery would have the law right as Fraser J did in 2019. That would have put the burden on the PO to prove the losses - which, given the known problems with Horizon, it could not have done. Roald Dahl is not my only reading but as he puts it in The Enormous Crocodile - “cunning plans and clever tricks.” But this ought to be children’s stories not an approach to litigation that destroys lives.More importantly, Castleton, by his impecuniosity, that the Post Office ruthlessly exploited, was denied access to Justice. Access to justice is not having a judge in a wig sitting in front of you in a court, unrepresented, being trussed up in an arcane and false legal argument. No wonder the PO was delighted with Havery’s judgment, that in truth was not worth the paper it was written on as true legal and factual analysis. But good for the Post Office and a clever trick. But it did for Lee Castleton and his family - and almost killed Millie Jo, Castleton’s then 8-year-old daughter. (See Millie Jo’s Impact statement on Nick Wallis’ Post Office Scandal blog online).

Where does that put the Post Office's lawyers in relation to their regulatory body?

"in the “not-interested” - “too-difficult” - “too-expensive” box. But I do not suggest KC 'Morgan' knew his argument was wrong. It took a very bright and capable QC - Patrick Green - to explain the flaw to Fraser J in 2019. It was nonetheless a clever trick and successful stratagem." As one observer said: There are no words to describe the anger one feels after watching the inquiry and reading your summary. As Paul Marshall responded: “There are no words – (Here are some):  systemic legal (court) failure, Post Office mendacity, institutional ethical failure, the government sole shareholder - what chance did decent hard-working, careful and wholly innocent of fault Lee Castleton have against that ‘Enormous Crocodile’ - up to clever tricks?"

 

Formerwomble 23 September 23 22:28

The arrogance and complete lack of self awareness of golden turd winner Blair and post office supremo Richardson has ruined the proud legacy of the former firms. Between them they have destroyed what could have been a great opportunity for the sake of their egos.

Blake's 7 23 September 23 22:31

Sir Wyn ask for Wombles files on the Blake case. The  shredders will be in full swing in Southhampton with the marketing budget bust on witness training. 

Willydilly 23 September 23 22:38

Dilley seems to have made some errors of judgement and out of his depth at 4pqe. We all been there. But the Southampton partners knew what was going on and shame on them for throwing Dilley to the Wolves . They should be before Sir Wyn not Dilley who was just a foot soldier not the general directing the illegal and immoral war on subposties. Shame on them. 

Elton 23 September 23 22:49

New Wombles theme tune "sorry seems to be the hardest word" or "I'm still standing"( on the grave of innocent sub-postmasters) or maybe " one ball wizard"

Anon 24 September 23 06:02

It is worth watching the cross-examination of Richard Morgan KC. It is entirely clear from his evidence that (a) his and WBD’s approach to the Castleton case was unimpeachable; and (b) the decision in the case was not a miscarriage of justice, because it did not depend on the bona fides of the Horizon system - indeed, the claim was based on account documents which Castleton signed and the accuracy of which he did not deny. This second point also goes to disprove that the PO had a strategy of pursuing Castleton at all costs, so as to defend the integrity of the Horizon system.  

Anon 24 September 23 06:20

@Anonymous 23 September 23 19:02 - except Marshall isn’t a KC and he doesn’t explain why it is said that the Havery decision is wrong. He simply asserts that it is wrong. No reasons are given. Further, Fraser J made no findings as to the whether Havery’s decision was right or wrong. This is unsurprising. Fraser J was not asked to do so, nor did he have the jurisdiction to do so. Havery’s decision stands. And it is right in law for the reasons given by the judge.

Naughtboy 24 September 23 10:18

Where is Simon? asked the Judge. He is not coming out. He has been a very naughty boy replied little Johnny. Here is Stephen stone him instead.

2147 24 September 23 11:31

2147 interesting . I imagine it could go

As a responsible solicitor to whom is a duty of care owed?

a) to the court above all else

b) to big Simon as he will destroy my career if I in anyway question him

c) to little Johnny who desperately needs the cash cow to keep the firm afloat

 

NevercrossMandy 24 September 23 11:33

Knowing Mandy as I do I wonder what she will make of the Wombles strategy of blaming her ? Especially as they are still in the payroll or rather the taxpayers 

0220 24 September 23 14:38

0220 Bates v PO is the one where the Wombles were told they were performing every possible legal trick to deny the innocent subpostmasters their day in court and messing about with discovery ( a theme for SRA) and charging eye watering sums for their part in the greatest miscarriage of justice Have just read some of the family impact statements and all the Wombles should be sat down and made to read them and then asked what sort of culture are you ?

In the Belly of the Brazen Bull 24 September 23 15:18

@anon 22 September 21.50.

Good one 🤣. They really don’t. Small men with large, very fragile, egos.

As I think someone else said in one of the earlier comments, nobody actually sees them as a rival. The “agenda” against them is based on nothing more than their robotic management, toxic behaviour and arrogance.

But, hey, each to their own: you enjoy wombling free whilst you can. 

Anonymous 24 September 23 16:04

Presumably WBD target staff with poor self perception skills and limited empathy? 

Bullies 24 September 23 16:25

Headlines on Sunday papers is showing the protests against banning the bully xl attack dogs with banners "don't bully the bullies" Sums up the pro Womble posters (mainly HR) on here 

2249 24 September 23 16:29

2249 or how about" I took on the law and the law one" ( but I got to keep my £53 million so who cares)

Anonymous 24 September 23 16:33

A parliamentary inquiry is being held because of the largest ever miscarriage of justice, yet still some Womble staff still don’t think anything has gone wrong. 😂 

dilley is a muppet 25 September 23 08:57

1st rule of being an associate is: if a partner tells you to do something which is unethical, write a file note

“Dilley attending Beezer at 6.27pm

- Queried with Beezer if we should disclose c.15k highly relevant documents.

- Beezer confirmed we should not cos he was off to the pub and it was too many.

- Queried if this complied with CPR.

- Beezer queried if I wanted CPR to understand if I was right.”

*adds to file*

FAOD the above is a fictional scenario, by way of example, and should not in any way be taken as an allegation of what actually happened.

Anonymous 25 September 23 09:18

Wombles employees, out of 10 how likely is it that your side are actually the baddies? 

Nick Read 25 September 23 11:29

The CEO of Post Office , Nick Read has sent back his bonus because of the Horizon Scandal. Wombles who so far pocketed £54 million and Wombles partner who trousered 6 figure bonus will you now do the same?

Millie Jo 25 September 23 11:47

Here is the witness statement from a victim of the post office scandal, who was an 8 year old girl. 

https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/file/527/download?token=C3-70JYy

Disgusted Womble 25 September 23 17:37

Millie 1147 I have just read the Witness Statement of Mr Castleton's daughter. Available on the main Inquiry website with all the other evidence . I didn't realise this existed so thanks. Wombles come on this needs sorting and we need to put this right. Very big action is needed. The partners need to put their hands in their pockets and give millions to a suitable charity AND say sorry. Disgusted and embarrassed to be associated with Wombles

Womblenomore 25 September 23 18:04

This is the last straw for me. Reading that witness statement brings it home that everything we do has a reaction. There is nothing Macho boys clever of funny in the big part played by the Wombles Southampton partners in the human tradgedies. Instead of holding hands up now they take pride in being paid more millions for defending the indefensible . Sickening. 

Goldenturd 25 September 23 18:37

The stench from this will haunt Wombles until the day they are taken over and their name of shame obliterated for ever from history. Wombles this is not a game. Families have been ruined . Grow up you immature little boys. Imagine if this happened to your family. 

Angry 25 September 23 18:54

So angry at the Wombles. What a mess. Think this will all come back to bite them big time. Sadly most of the main players will have retired leaving a tarnished legacy of doshonestly

Anonymous 25 September 23 21:44

Reading the witness statement made me sad. Noticing the massive downvoting still going on, however, made me angry. The people behind this have no regret, expect a life with impunity, yet must have lost their humanity. This is revolting and has no place in year 2023.

Rosie Brocklehurst 25 September 23 21:44

An Anon has posted on page 2 here that Morgan is 'unimpeachable' in Post Office Ltd (POL) case Castleton v Post Office.  At the Inquiry on Friday, when asked by Jason Beer, Richard Morgan was unable to disagree with Havery's judgement even tho' in hindsight he was able to acknowledge the failure to provide the evidence to Castleton and thus Havery to enable the Judge to make a fair and balanced judgement. Evidence was withheld on the grounds of cost. 15000 AQR's of complaints about Horizon in 2005 in its earliest iteration were known to exist by WBD and POL. This was evidence that Castleton requested and was denied.  According to Stephen Dilley, it was denied on the grounds of cost. The cost was £3000. Compare that cost to the £300,000 paid to defend the case by POL -most of which went to Wombles and Morgan.  That was the amount that Castleton was supposed to find on top of £25,000 accumulated 'debt' he did not owe and that bankrupted him and destroyed his and his families life for the past 18 years. I wonder if there is a penalty in civil litigation for massaging, shaving or hiding evidence that would in any rational mind support the view that  doubt must apply to the robustness of Horizon.  POL at any cost was prepared to sacrifice Castleton and his family on the altar of Horizon Robustness - an IT system that could alter subpostmasters accounts, remotely. It is clear too from the postings on here from numerous Anons and upticks that irrationally favour Wombles, that Reputation Management manuals are not de rigeur reading at the Solicitors' firm.  Anyone with a modicum of knowledge would know that the best way to stop the decline, moral and financial of any company caught in the crosshairs of a scandal, is to own up quickly and ultimately cost far less. Honesty can shine a light -a halo around the most scurrilous- whereas denials and ostrich like behaviour as well as inadequate attempts at damage limitation, so obvious on this thread, will only encourage more whispers in high places and lead to a sharp decline in reputation and fortunes.   

2144 25 September 23 23:08

Rosie 2144 . All fair points and balanced

Anon 2144 25 September 23 23:12

Anon 2144 perfectly summed up. It is so hard to understand the approach taken by Wombles . So sad so sad in a world where they should be doing all can to show some compassion for their part in such human misery. They just don't seem to care and in fact worse seem to take all this as some sort of badge of honour.

Anon 26 September 23 06:06

Rosie Brocklehurst 25 September 23 21:44: the only one being irrational is you, Rosie. Remember that the enquiry and its findings will be based on evidence, not feelings. You seem very cross, and for that reason it is best that you refrain from expressing a view. It is doubtless because your opinion is clouded by emotion that your views are so misconceived. You say that Morgan’s evidence to the enquiry was that “in hindsight he was able to acknowledge the failure to provide the evidence to Castleton and thus Havery to enable the Judge to make a fair and balanced judgement.” That was not Morgan’s evidence and (for that reason) you will be unable to point to the transcript where that evidence appears. Please do not misrepresent the evidence. Morgan said nothing critical about the disclosure process.

Usa 26 September 23 07:52

Rosie have you tried contacting the big boss in USA Womble called Betty Temple. You won't get anywhere with the boys in UK but may get a better response from USA. Contact details on website or they are very active in Facebook etc

Arival 26 September 23 08:14

As someone branded a rival on here by Wombles I think they are doing it all to themselves without any rival getting involved.Ten years ago we coveted what Wombles were.Now we poach their best people with ease and sent our deadwood the other way back to them. We are more friendly more respected and more profitable without over reliance on one client. Wombles scoring plenty of own goals without a rival team having to get on the pitch.

Breaking news! 26 September 23 08:35

Pragnesh Modhwadia to become a partner at Wombles, strong synergies are foreseen!

Waterducksback 26 September 23 08:35

Do you seriously think a few hundred comments on here are going to bother the Wombles ? Why would a few jealous comments from rivals bother them when 15,000 complaints a month did not.

anon 26 September 23 09:05

@Anon 26 September 23 06:06 - you are entirely right. Morgan's evidence was in fact as follows:

"Q. In any event, quite aside from the nice legal
point, the reliability of the product of
Horizon, at at least this branch, was an issue
or potentially an issue in the trial?
A. Potentially an issue, yes. Although, if you go
back to the defence, you'll have seen that the
averment was that Mr Castleton would be able to
establish from the primary figures that they
were artificial errors rather than real --
sorry, artificial deficiencies rather than real
deficiencies. So his case was based upon the
written figures rather than the product of
Horizon.
Q. But, in any event, would you agree that
disclosure had to be given by the Post Office in
relation to the question of, if it possessed
such documents, whether such losses were caused
by Horizon, irrespective of your legal point?
A. One would have to look very carefully at the
scope of the disclosure obligation and the
information that was being sought. Now, at this
stage, Mr Castleton was represented by
solicitors and they no doubt explored disclosure
issues with my instructing solicitors but
disclosure was not an issue with which I was
involved or upon which I was instructed, as far
as I remember, anyway."

The relevant part of Castleton's Defence (para. 3) was as follows:

"The Defendant further avers that, he will
be able to demonstrate through a manual
reconciliation of the figures contained within
the daily balance snapshot documents created by
the Defendant during the course of his tenure as
subpostmaster at the Marine Drive branch Post
Office, which were remove from the post office
on the Defendant's suspension, that the apparent
shortfalls are in fact nothing more than
accounting errors arising from the operation of
the Horizon system."

The simple fact is that it was Castleton's own pleaded case - to which the PO's case and disclosure obligations were responsive - that he could prove that the alleged shortfalls were illusory from his own primary documents and figures, and not from an examination of, or evidence relating to, the Horizon system.

It is always easy to assume that, if someone suffers harm, it is the consequence of someone's else's fault. In this case, that would be a lazy and inaccurate assumption. What happened to Mr Castleton was indeed very sad, but it was not the fault of WBD or Morgan. In truth, it was a consequence of how Mr Castleton ran his case (which was at that stage the responsibility of his then-lawyers) and how that case was defended by the PO - which defence was run entirely properly and otherwise fairly.

905 womble 26 September 23 09:30

905 a perfect demonstration of your arrogance and delusion. 

That explains it 26 September 23 09:56

Mr Dilley's witness statement says he had help from partner Jon Cooper. That perhaps explains why Wombles have got this so wrong.

Nice 26 September 23 10:52

Good, well-written, convincing posts at 6.06 and 9.05.

Wonder which person at Wombles they’re from.
 

Come on, which one of you got up and felt sufficiently compelled to comment on a RoF article at 6 in the morning?!
 

Starting to feel the heat? Sincerely hope so and that it gets significantly warmer.

Anon 26 September 23 11:06

re the comments in inverted commas and italics below my comments:

Castleton was hung on “account documents” which he signed off on because he would otherwise have had to cease trading - he had no real choice but to sign off on them - he was at the same time saying I’m signing off on them so that I can continue to operate but please look into the “errors” which are being thrown up by Horizon- no doubt assuming that they would and would acknowledge that the deficits were not real but were Horizon errors. Morgan - looking purely at the technicalities- could see that Castleton could be nailed on those “account documents” without reference to Horizon thus making life easier for the PO to achieve their aim. My guess (and it’s only a guess based on how these things go generally) is that he sensed (or was given a nod) that the PO didn’t want to bring in Horizon - whether he knew why is another matter. Anyway, he did a cold professional job and got the result PO wanted. It is more likely (I’d say very likely) that Wombles/Bond Pearce knew why the PO were keen to take the no Horizon evidence route and it’s pretty clear that those instructing Wombles were surrounded by red flashing lights and blaring alarms.

To say the case was “not a miscarriage of justice” is an angels on pinheads argument and an idiotic statement in the light of wider evidence. You might say that the case was correctly decided on the facts and the law in front of the judge but that disregards the fact that the “account documents” were (in effect) signed under duress and that the judge did not consider any evidence relating to the impact of the Horizon software problems.  

“It is worth watching the cross-examination of Richard Morgan KC. It is entirely clear from his evidence that (a) his and WBD’s approach to the Castleton case was unimpeachable; and (b) the decision in the case was not a miscarriage of justice, because it did not depend on the bona fides of the Horizon system - indeed, the claim was based on account documents which Castleton signed and the accuracy of which he did not deny. This second point also goes to disprove that the PO had a strategy of pursuing Castleton at all costs, so as to defend the integrity of the Horizon system.  “

Anon 26 September 23 11:38

"The Defendant further avers that…..,,the apparent
shortfalls are in fact nothing more than
accounting errors arising from the operation of
the Horizon system."

The simple fact is that it was Castleton's own pleaded case - to which the PO's case and disclosure obligations were responsive - that he could prove that the alleged shortfalls were illusory from his own primary documents and figures, and not from an examination of, or evidence relating to, the Horizon system.”

So what? This goes beyond that nice legal technical argument. More angels on pinhead stuff - the fact is that the PO knew it was quite likely he was right that Horizon was the key to understanding the “shortfallls”, Fujitsu knew, Wombles/Bond Pearce (almost certainly) knew, but they were happy for the judge to find as he did because he wasn’t given the full picture. 

Anonymous 26 September 23 13:55

If I worked at WBD I would take 5 minutes to think about what happens next. 

After all, this story isn’t going away, because WBD were at the heart of the biggest miscarriage of justice in UK history. 

Therefore if you choose to stay at WBD you are making a statement to your family and friends that WBD reflects your values, or lack of them.

However the good news is that if you leave you are making a statement that you have your own values, distinct from what WBD did to the poor victims of the Post Office scandal. 

Anon 2 26 September 23 14:21

The anon comment at 09.05 is important because it shows exactly how a litigator looks at this issue and is reflected in the Dilley responses and the WBD downvotes : WBD did nothing significantly wrong within the strict rules and systems within which they were operating. But it misses the point spectacularly : there came a time when someone senior whether at PO or WBD or counsel should have said “hang on. Whatever our strict procedures and systems require, something ain’t right here.”  I don’t know WBD at all, but I doubt that was the role of a 4pqe associate though. 

TrousersDown 27 September 23 08:42

I have criticised Dilley, Beezer, Parsons et al extensively in my comments on Friday - because they deserve it.  I also believe the role of Beezer and Simon Richardson (then client partner and UK Chair of the firm) will become clear in due course and hopefully someone will ask them if they were driving the key decisions on matters such as discloure and case strategy; and whether they are now throwing Dilley under the bus.  Although with that said, he appears to be happy as the sacrificial lamb.  Feckin idiot.

I do however really hope some of the vitriol targetting WBD generally and the WBD staff who are not involved is served up for HSF and its staff in the same way when its their turn - or will we see double standards from the ROF commentariat and will HSF's ulltra-aggressive tactics and disregard for the rules be overlooked?

Anonymous 27 September 23 13:13

Will HSF be as stupid and arrogant as WBD?

I’d anticipate they may well start their evidence with the word ‘sorry’. 

TrousersDown 27 September 23 18:19

@ 13:13. 

Let's wait and see shall we.  Just because (if) they say "sorry" does not mean that they are. 

HSF are up to their neck in it and were apparently driving the strategy on the CoA case too.  The gameplay in respect of disclosure on that front (as opposed to the indiviual cases agaisnt subpostmasters) has their fingerprints all over it from what we have seen.  They also had a clear conflict of interest in administering the compensation scheme but that didn't stop their greedy partners.  It's interesting that ROF users seem less bothered or offended by this.

Anon 28 September 23 05:55

anon 26 September 23 09:05: spot on and the best post here. Refreshing to see an approach which is actually based on the facts and the law, rather than emotion and professional animus. Nobody looking at this rationally could conclude anything other than WBD and/or Morgan did nothing wrong. That is not to say that what happened to Mr Castleton was grim - it plainly was - but litigation produces all sorts of results which in absolute terms are unpleasant but which are (as here) merely the product of the adversarial system operating properly.

Anon 28 September 23 06:07

@Anon 26 September 23 11:06 - Castleton never ran a duress argument or anything amounting to that. His case was that the accounts were accurate and that he could prove they were accurate without recourse to the Horizon system. As much as people are trying to show that the case was run unfairly, they will fail. Neither Wombles nor their counsel did anything wrong.

🤡 28 September 23 16:02

Let’s hope WBD is closes down soon. 

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