Mr Bates vs. The Post Office (2024) s01e04 Episode Script

Episode 4

The computer system Post Office
spent an arm and a leg on is faulty.
We're ready to mount and fund
an independent review.
- Angela, nice to meet you.
- Here to help.
We are hearing from Bob
that your organisation
has been obstructive
to his independent work.
But this is about the reputation
of the Post Office.
You are the Chief Executive,
so the buck stops with you.
Blood on their hands now.
I am told that people
are walking out
of their mediation meetings.
Our lawyers advised
that no mediation scheme
has the power to overturn
a criminal conviction.
You have broken your words
to Parliament.
They say there's no remote access
to branch accounts,
but they're lying.
There was a whole room
full of us inside Fujitsu
doing thousands of corrections
on Horizon
while the postmasters slept.
It may be possible
to raise the money
to fight them in court,
but only if there are enough of you.
- How many would you need?
- At least 500.
I can do that.
'Hard to believe it's eight years
since our first meeting.'
Even harder to believe that finally,
555 of us now,
ready to tell our stories
to a court.
That's all fine and dandy,
Alan, but
how are we gonna pay for it?
Er, well, James is the expert.
Er, there are
a few specialist funders
who are prepared to take on
this kind of risk.
If we win, we pay them back
out of your compensation.
If we lose, please?
Well, then they lose too.
Their entire investment.
It is high risk.
Win or lose, it costs a fortune.
And there's no guarantee
we'll ever see a penny.
And I I want to make it clear
that there are a few other things
this group litigation
is not going to do for us.
I'm sorry, Jo.
Sorry, Noel.
But it's not going to overturn
any criminal convictions.
It's not going to discharge
anyone's bankruptcies.
One day.
It's not going to to get back
any house repossessions,
and it's not going to repair
anyone's shattered health.
Or bring back those we've lost.
Well, also, er
I've got to say,
there's a few of us here
who've not much faith in the law
after everything that's happened.
Believe in British justice,
that's what they say.
I-I've told you all the things
the law's not going to do for us,
but I want you to think about
what brought us together.
All those things that
we've been fighting for ever since.
Bigger than that.
The truth?
Yes, compensation.
Yes, justice, but
without the truth,
we can't do either of those.
Going to law will force
the Post Office to open their files,
so, finally, we'll get to know
everything the Post Office knows.
The truth.
The whole truth.
All those in favour?
Motion carried.
Yes, it's true that the Post Office
will now have to give us everything
they've got,
but it's also true
that in fights like this,
the side with more money
usually wins.
something extraordinary happens.
Our whole case
is something extraordinary.
Yes. Yes, it is,
I couldn't agree more.
And what's very striking
is how
many people
rang that helpline and were told,
"You're the only one."
I asked to see if that phrase
was in the helpline scripts,
and the Post Office said,
"There are no scripts."
Yeah, and anyone
who's run a helpline
knows they parrot a script,
so it's clearly a lie.
So what happened to the principle of
"give us everything you've got"?
Well, whatever we ask them
to disclose,
they either say the record
doesn't exist, or it's not relevant,
and whatever documents
they do provide
are often pretty much redacted
to death.
Yes, I get the sense
that none of this
is coming as news to Mr Bates.
Welcome to my world.
The price of everything!
I went looking for a dress,
but all I could afford is a scarf.
Yeah, love.
Love, listen to me. Er
Did your mum tell you
that she had a doctor's appointment?
You'd better go and speak to her.
She's inside.
I got a new scarf
for the court hearing.
Do you wanna see?
I'm sorry, love.
I know you don't need this.
Don't need what?
I've got cancer, love.
In a place I didn't even know
was a place.
Does it hurt?
Oh, God.
The look on that doctor's face
It was me offering him the Kleenex.
He wouldn't tell me
how long I'd got, but, well
Not long. Come on.
Don't you worry about me.
You've got your case to think about.
Oh, I don't care about any of that!
Promise me, on my life,
you'll see it through.
Promise me, Jo, you won't rest
till the world sees
the innocent babe I held in my arms!
I promise.
I promise, Mum.
Sorry for your loss, Jo.
Five days, we had together.
Five more days on this Earth
and my lovely mum was gone.
You really didn't need
to come today.
No, I made her a promise.
But she's not even buried yet,
so don't ask me
what just happened in there.
Well, there could be
five separate trials, but
they're going to make us
wait another year
before they even start
the first one.
And you won't get called
as a witness, Jo.
They won't call anyone
who's got a criminal conviction.
Well, I'll still come every day
to support you.
Bates and Others
versus the Post Office.
I'll be "Others".
I told our lawyers, I said,
"All right, you can put my name
on the tin if you want to,
"but that doesn't mean you have
to put me in the witness box.
"Choose the best people."
you ARE the best people.
'So, listen to this.
'Three years ago,
Paula Vennells wrote'
Is it possible to access
the system remotely or not?
"We are told it is,"
and Paula then asks her managers,
"What is the true answer?"
"I need to say,
'No, it is not possible
"'and that we are sure of this
because of X, X, X.'
"I need the facts."
Wow, OK.
That is an email of Paula's
that arrived this morning
in a disclosure bundle,
and it wasn't even redacted.
Well, this is
this is fundamental.
If we can prove they have
remote access to your computers,
then, I mean, that means all
the criminal convictions are unsafe.
Look forward to hearing you ask her
about that in court, Patrick.
Unfortunately, the Post Office
also sent across
their final list of witnesses
this morning, and
Paula Vennells is not on it.
Ha! Brilliant!
What? What's she worried about?
That is a very strange decision.
Who are they putting up instead?
Er, the Peoples Services Director
Angela van den Bogerd, yes.
She's had more job titles
than hot dinners.
She's like a stick of Blackpool rock
with "Post Office"
written all the way through.
And she's a hard-faced cow.
Excellent. Tell us
how you really feel about her!
- Ha! Well, who am I?
- No, no, Alan. Wait, wait, wait.
There is a possibility that Patrick
can still question Angela
on remote access.
Er, where is it? This is
from Angela's witness statement.
are solely responsible
"for their branch accounts.
"There is no transaction
that enters their accounts
"without their consent."
Well, that's just not true.
And we know a man who can prove it.
What, you've got a whistleblower?
You'd be right inside,
looking at some postmaster's screen.
You could tell if he was busy, you
could see him selling his stamps.
- Remote access?
- Sometimes.
Not often.
We'd go in using
the postmaster's ID,
find the cause of his problems,
fix it, come back out.
He'd never even know.
What, so, it would look like
like he'd made the changes himself?
Richard, what if
you couldn't fix it?
What if you
couldn't find a cause?
I don't know.
The postmaster took the blame?
I can't remember much detail.
And like I said to Alan,
I'm not prepared to go to court
or stick my neck out
in any way whatsoever.
Sure, sure.
No, no, it's not just that Richard
is too shy to give evidence.
He's got no evidence to give,
no documents, no email.
- Alternatives?
- No, we really need him.
He's still the only Fujitsu insider
to ever come forward.
- I meant ties.
- Oh. Er
Oh, maroon or maroon. Hm?
Oh, I'm not even gonna ask.
One thing I took
from the Select Committee
is it really helps to use your face.
You know, confused,
sceptical, amused.
And that's your masterplan
for the group litigation,
make faces at the Post Office?
555 sub-postmasters in our group,
and I have to go on first.
I do solemnly and sincerely
and truly declare and affirm
that the evidence I shall give
shall be the truth,
the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.
Good morning, Mr Bates.
Mr Bates, would it be right to say
that in terms of due diligence,
you are quite a careful man?
Is that fair? You're a details man.
At paragraph 15
of your witness statement,
you refer to being sent
an information sheet.
"The subpostmaster
is personally responsible
"for all losses or gains incurred
to Post Office cash or stock."
You were aware you would be
responsible for that loss,
however large it was.
At the time
we took over the post office,
losses weren't a major concern.
The original deficit of £1,182
that is a staff error, isn't it?
No, that was, er
that was definitely Horizon,
from my point of view.
Without a shadow of a doubt.
You've got it in your mind
it was Horizon,
and forevermore,
it has been Horizon.
- No.
- Well, it jumped out.
The errors jumped out.
They couldn't have been
anything else.
I put to you generally
that the overwhelming likelihood
is that these deficits
were most likely caused by error
or wrongdoing in your branch
by you or your staff.
That is the Post Office case.
Mr Bates, that is being put to you
so that you can tell me
what the answer is.
No, My Lord.
No further questions. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Bates.
You are excused.
"A details man".
Might use that at home.
- Alan did OK, I think.
- Just so glad he went first.
You're gonna be brilliant.
I took over Barking Post Office
when my husband died
on August 3rd, 1999.
- So some 19-odd years ago.
- Mm.
It's fair to say
your memory of the details
is probably pretty vague.
- Is that fair?
- No, I don't think so.
Not particularly stunning events,
are they,
like a car crash or something -
is that fair?
If you are talking
about August 1999,
then, yes, they are very similar
to a car crash.
You are talking
about your husband's death?
Yes, I I accept that.
Moving, then, forward
to your suspension
following the £18,000-odd deficit
found on the audit.
Well, I was staggered
that I was suspended.
Absolutely staggered.
I was probably as angry and upset
as I have ever been in my life.
Because, for the last six months,
I had been asking Post Office
to help me find the source
for these alleged shortfalls
in order that I could
How can I put it?
..that it would stop me
from bombarding them
with phone calls, letters.
A lot of people might think,
"Well, I've received this letter.
Let's look at my contract."
Let's look at section 19,
paragraph four,
and see whether
they are entitled to.
Well, I couldn't do that.
I had no entry to my post office
from the day
they did the closing audit.
They took the keys away
and locked them up.
But my point is,
you immediately blame it on Horizon
without really casting your mind
as to other possibilities.
I dispute that completely.
I never used to be an angry person.
- And it really works, doesn't it?
- I wouldn't know, I don't get angry.
Oh, well,
I should give it a go, Alan.
Otherwise, the stress of all this
might end up killing you.
Well, the Post Office
chose three witnesses,
and we chose three witnesses.
The Post Office has read
555 postmaster statements.
Why they chose me?
So, they chose Mohammad Sabir
because he has
an accountancy qualification.
So just watch them try to make him
look stupid as well as dishonest.
Do you accept from me
that being involved
over a period of years
as an assistant accountant
means that I can consider you
as not commercially naive?
I did not understand your question,
Rephrase it, Mr Wentworth.
As at the time
you applied to Post Office, yes,
you were not commercially naive?
My Lord,
English is not my first language.
You had experience
of commercial things.
You weren't
It's put me on the spot,
trying to rephrase this.
At that time,
I was just thinking
to buy the business, run it,
make my life better
and serve the community.
This was my main ambition.
So if I am clear, honest,
so I don't be afraid of signing
any contract with anybody,
assuming that they are doing
everything for goodness of me.
And I had already positive thinking
about this.
OK, I think you would agree
that a deficit of £4,878
is a serious matter.
- Do you agree with that?
- No, I didn't agree.
I told them everything,
what was the problem.
Have you read all the documents
which I submitted?
I rang the Post Office helpline.
"Please, can somebody ring me
"or come to my office
and resolve this problem?"
But they said,
"We don't believe you.
"We have to suspend you."
I never thought
that I will lose everything
when I will be working
in the post office.
We are supposed to be
the most civilised country.
We don't expect anyone to behave
like the Post Office does.
Why they do this?
Well, that's
the million-dollar question.
The QC was very clever.
Pick, pick, picking away at stuff.
You did everything right, Mohammad.
You told the truth,
and that's all that matters.
Truth is truth.
- Truth is truth.
- Can't hide it.
Well, that was brilliant.
They chose him, and he smashed them.
Just a pile of ash
where the Post Office used to be.
Well, we've got
Angela van den Bogerd
- in the witness box tomorrow.
- Yep.
- You get to ask the questions.
- I do.
And I've got plenty.
We get to see if we picked
the right man for the job.
Miss Van den Bogerd,
if we could please look
at document G43/1.
So, this is co-authored by you.
"Horizon Help has, since
its introduction over a decade ago,
"fallen short of delivering
the functionality that was promised
"as part of Horizon roll-out
"and that postmasters and
their assistants desperately need."
That is an honest and candid
internal recognition
of the situation, isn't it?
There were shortcomings
in the user experience.
It's clunky,
would be the word I would use.
- Clunky?
- Mm-hm.
Right. So why don't you mention this
in your witness statement?
I don't
I suppose the length
of my witness statement, erm
it's so long anyway that
Was it your understanding
that there was a restriction
on the length
of your witness statement?
The witness statement in itself
is quite lengthy anyway,
and so
I suppose it was just myself.
Mr Green.
If we could go, please,
to document G38/2.
It says, "January 30, 2015.
"Mrs Vennells asks,
"'Is it possible
to access the system remotely?'
"I need to say no,
it is not possible,
"and that we are sure of this."
So in 2015, it would be wrong
to say, wouldn't it,
that Post Office couldn't
remotely access Horizon data?
Post Office can't.
Could you do it through Fujitsu?
Through Fujitsu
..yes, I can.
You're going to have to keep
your voice up, I'm afraid.
I'm sorry. Sorry.
I suggest
you are hesitant to accept
anything that is damaging
to Post Office.
That is not the case.
Do you feel pressure to protect
the Post Office brand now?
At this particular moment?
- Yes.
- No.
Can I just ask one simple question?
What exactly does
"protecting a brand" mean?
It-It It just means that, erm
One, it is making sure
that how we do things,
how we behave,
how we interact with people.
And it's
It's just making sure that,
at all times,
we are maintaining that.
Made it past midnight.
That's pretty good for me.
All the meetings with MPs,
letters to the minister.
More ministers
than you can shake a stick at.
Years and years.
Still, nobody in power
hears a word we say.
What's brought this on?
- New Year's Honours list.
- God's sake.
Come on, turn it off, details man.
Come to bed.
- Paula Vennells has got the CBE.
- Joking
Services to the Post Office.
Always another trick
up their sleeves.
I'll see you up there.
The Post Office now admits
they do have remote access,
but they insist it could
never happen without the knowledge
and permission
of the sub-postmaster.
Well, they're wrong.
Of course they are.
But it's 15 years ago. More.
I can't remember the details.
I can't help you, Alan.
There must be someone else.
It's not that bad, honestly.
There'll be loads
of other witnesses.
I wasn't senior, Alan. Not at all.
And my girlfriend really doesn't
want me drawing attention to myself.
You just have to talk to the judge.
Ignore everyone else.
You can really help us out here,
and still be home for your tea.
I'll only disappoint you.
You'll be fine.
Bob, what are you doing here?
Oh, I wouldn't miss this
for the world.
Fujitsu technical support
giving evidence under oath.
The guy's quite shy.
Alan's worried about him.
A real-life whistleblower.
- It's gonna be dynamite, kid.
- Mm.
Mr Roll
Would you accept
that your recollection of your time
at Fujitsu is hazy?
It is quite hazy.
It could just be my perception
of events from, er
..15, 17 years ago.
So you're not saying that you were
routinely encountering
coding issues, are you?
Bugs? No, no.
You don't recall ever
having encountered a bug
that definitely caused
a financial impact?
I don't recall discovering one,
I'm going to move on
to remote access now, Mr Roll.
My suggestion to you
will be that you never
and would never manually change
a transaction line of data
that a postmaster had keyed in.
No, that is something we did,
as far as I remember it.
But ultimately, the sub-postmaster
would be able to see
what Fujitsu had done, is that true?
Again, my understanding
is that in certain circumstances,
the data would be indis erm
- Yes.
- Is that what you're trying to say?
Yes, my Lord.
You couldn't tell the difference.
No, you you couldn't tell
the difference.
Remote access to the Horizon system
at branch level was extensive.
We had the ability to change data
and change transaction information,
even while the postmaster
was working.
Without the postmaster being aware?
Yes, that is my understanding.
Your understanding?
My recollection.
'Thought he was great in the end.'
I wonder if it's enough.
I asked you a question, Bob,
years ago, when we first met.
"Bob, where did all the money go?"
£36,000, they took off me.
Now, I think -
I can't prove it, Jo, not yet,
but I will -
that the money you gave them
that they claimed you owed them
hung around in some sort
of suspense account for a while
while they failed to investigate.
And after a couple of years,
your money, everyone's money just showed up
in their profits.
My £36,000 that I didn't steal,
that they actually stole off me
to pay off a debt
that never existed in the Post Office profits.
I just
I mean, are they just incompetent,
Alan, or just evil?
Er, well, you know,
comes to the same thing in the end.
- Another one?
- Please.
The Post Office describes itself
on its own website
as "the nation's
most trusted brand".
Well, as far as these claimants
are concerned,
this might be thought to be
wholly wishful thinking.
The Post Office witnesses
give me the impression
that they simply
cannot allow themselves
to consider the possibility
that the Post Office may be wrong,
as the consequences of doing so
are too significant to contemplate.
Angela van den Bogerd did not
always give me frank evidence.
She sought to mislead me.
Her judgment also seemed
to be uniquely exercised
to paint the Post Office in
the most favourable light possible,
regardless of the facts.
Mr Bates seemed to me to offer
his evidence honestly and
"has proved himself
to be unreasonable, stubborn
"and a considerable irritant
to the Post Office."
He's got you to a T.
Yeah, yeah.
And the Post Office, too.
Er, "Oppressive, unfair,
excessive secrecy"
and, well, 180,000 other words
just the same.
Sorry, we've got to get back
into court now.
- Why?
- Something's come up.
Hold on, love.
'I just saw this five minutes ago.'
It's an application for me
to recuse myself
as being the managing judge
in these proceedings.
Mr Wentworth,
would you care to elaborate?
Post Office asked the judge
to sack himself
on the grounds that he's clearly
biased against the Post Office.
Amazing. This is the best day ever.
It's like a gift from heaven.
- Proof they're desperate.
- Absolutely.
I mean, in my world, Alan,
the most, er,
catastrophic mistake you can make
is to make unfounded allegations
of bias against the judge.
I mean, you just you
I've never even
They're idiots.
I bet you it wasn't the lawyers
who decided to do this.
I bet it came
from the Post Office boardroom.
Oh, well,
to be a fly on the wall, eh?
Well, we're winning.
Well, yes, but
Oh, I should have known there
was a "but" coming over the hill.
Well, the trial stops now.
It'll be weeks,
well, months of arguments to follow
on whether we need a new judge.
And it's a delay the Post Office
can afford, but we can't.
That's why they're doing this,
to make us run out of money.
Alan we have run out of money.
No, no, we can't stop now.
No-one's talking about stopping.
Not at all.
But it is time to start
..negotiating a settlement.
I think you're forgetting
I've negotiated
with this mob before,
and people have died.
Well, people are still dying.
You know this, all right,
but nobody else does.
There's millions of people
out there who've never heard of us,
who don't know about the suicides
and the the ruined lives.
God knows how many victims
who are
who are still too scared
to come forward.
Ha! I haven't spent 20 years
battling these bastards
to pack up now
and give the Post Office license
to start running amok
and destroying lives.
Well, I-I've said enough.
We have to win.
Alan, we just did.
This is what winning looks like.
You're talking
as though this is a defeat,
and it's it's really not.
This is just what happens
towards the end of any litigation -
we get around the table.
And if we don't
and we lose in that arena,
we lose everything
we've achieved so far
and the clock sets back to zero.
So it's about knowing when
to stop and when to negotiate.
So that's it, give up now.
No, no. We settle.
Same thing.
Mrs Vennells? Paula Vennells?
- Yes?
- Ned Foster, Daily Mail.
Would you like to say anything
to the postmasters
who've been through
such a long legal battle?
No. I really find this unacceptable.
- Would you like to apologise to them?
- Will you just go away?
- So, you won't apologise to them?
- No, pl Go away.
Well, can I confirm, then,
Mrs Vennells,
you're saying you will not apologise
to the postmasters
after everything
that they've been through?
'After an epic legal battle
'during which the Post Office
tried and failed
'to remove the judge,
the sub-postmasters have won
'on almost every count.
'Their victory
comes with a compensation package
'worth £58 million.'
Well You took them on,
and you won.
And I cannot overstate enough
quite the scale of this achievement.
It is more than we could ever have
dreamed of from the beginning.
It is an absolutely
astonishing victory.
In my professional career,
I have never seen anything
quite like this, so
Having Having said that,
I-I do need to make you aware that,
erm, inevitably,
er, there are legal fees
and court costs
and our obligations to our funders
that will eat into that total.
The amount that will be left
after that to, erm
..divide amongst yourselves
as compensation
will be in the region of,
erm, £12 million.
Wait, 12 million between 555?
That That's, what, 20
20 grand each?
- On average, yes.
- £20,000?
That That
That won't touch the sides
of what we've lost.
Listen, I understand,
but what you must remember
is that today's settlement
opens a lot of doors
so that people with convictions
can now use these judgments
to help with their appeals
going forward forever, so
But what about us?
What this also means
is that those sub-postmasters
who've been too scared
to come forward up to now
will be able to do so without fear.
Friends we did talk this
over and over again,
and we knew we might not see
a penny, but
..we decided, we voted to go ahead.
They got paid, right?
Excuse me? Excuse me?
Excuse me!
I've been in court every single day,
and I saw us with my own eyes
winning the most massive victory.
And that's all down
to Alan and James and Patrick
and their hard work.
So could you just all stop it?
It's never gonna end, is it?
I wouldn't mind, but our legal team
worked for free a lot of the time,
and none of them,
not even the funders,
took anything like the fees
they were due.
Well, anyway, it's not about money,
is it?
Well, it is, partly.
But mostly
You know what I mean.
You won, Alan.
You set out to prove Horizon
is faulty, and you did it.
You won.
But everyone is still skint.
- Lee, I want to
- We're not attacking you, Alan.
Everyone can see you did your best.
Thank you.
I mean that.
Don't listen to the angry people.
They're upset. Tired.
I know. It's all right.
Just remember, we'd be nowhere
without you, Mr Bates.
You're a a legend.
There from the beginning
and you never wavered.
Never. Not for all those long years.
Just been a tower of strength
and new ideas.
Ooh, am I embarrassing you?
Listen, Jo
All this evidence
the litigation has dug up,
all the secrets
coming out of the woodwork
well, we got to the truth.
It belongs to us now. Use it.
Prove your innocence.
Go to the Court of Appeal
and show the world
what a miscarriage of justice
really looks like.
All right, Alan.
But what are you gonna do?
Oh, er There's a pint of beer
in Wales with my name on it.
I think people are bitter.
They're angry. And I get it, I do.
I'm bitter. I'm angry.
And I care about the money,
of course I do.
I care about the home
we should have had,
the life we could have had, and
But I care about justice, too.
And you, I care about you,
so don't you dare
go blaming yourself.
I don't.
You have absolutely nothing
to blame yourself for.
And that's why I don't blame myself.
Come on, let's get home.
I suppose I've I've never seen
the point of getting angry, Suzanne.
I-I treat it like a job, you know?
Something I lift off the shelf
and then put back after.
Funnily enough,
I don't really remember that part,
the "putting it back on the shelf"
More the "seven days a week,
365 days a year" part.
And also, Alan, jobs are things
that people are paid to do.
Yeah, something went a bit wrong
Not actually giving up at all,
are you?
..there's the small matter
of every one of the 555
getting their money back.
And then there's the small matter
of the right people
holding up their hands
to take the blame.
For the Vennells?
The British government.
Why? Well, because the government
is the one and only owner
of the good ship Post Office,
which doesn't have a penny
in its coffers
owing to the fact
it's spent it all fighting us.
All of which means that in the end,
Her Majesty's Government is going
to have to hold up its hands,
accept responsibility
for this fiasco
and pay us the compensation
we deserve.
When people say "the government",
they really mean "the taxpayer",
but nobody would begrudge you.
We established the truth
in a court of law, James,
and now I'm focusing on the 555
who need their lives
putting back together.
You don't give up, do you,
you awkward sod?
Someone's got to be.
Alan, cast your mind back,
if you will,
to the summer of 2013.
Er, Bob was doing his review.
And you were fighting me
every inch of the way.
I was right, though.
And at the same time,
the Post Office,
in secret and at the highest level,
were commissioning
independent legal advice.
This lawyer's report
establishes beyond doubt
that the Post Office lied to
and were in contempt of Parliament.
You were right.
It also proves that all the time
we were wading through treacle
trying to investigate,
senior Post Office executives
were shredding documents
and failing to disclose
that they knew
there were unsafe convictions.
Did Did Paula know?
It's not possible to say
with any certainty.
'I want to say
that I'm deeply sorry
'for those sub-postmasters
who have suffered.
'I have read many of their stories,
and they are harrowing.
'They are with me every day.
'I was and remain deeply disturbed
by what has come to light.
'It is contrary to what I believe
through my time
'as CEO of Post Office
between 2012 and 2019.
'I wish to state for the record
that I do not accept
'any personal criminal misconduct.'
- Morning, Jo. Good luck.
- Oh, thank you.
This judgment concerns
42 men and women
..who were all prosecuted
by their employer
and convicted
of crimes of dishonesty.
Josephine Hamilton pleaded guilty
to 14 counts of false accounting.
There was no examination of the data
for bugs, errors or defects.
There was no proof of an actual loss
as opposed to
an Horizon-generated shortage.
Even more alarming,
Post Office Limited's
own investigator had reported
there was no evidence of theft.
We conclude Mrs Hamilton's
prosecution was unfair
and an affront to justice.
We allow her appeal.
We quash her convictions.
Notwithstanding his guilty plea,
Noel Thomas's conviction is unsafe.
We allow his appeal.
His prosecution was unfair
and an affront to justice.
In the case of Susan Rudkin,
we allow her appeal.
Her conviction is unsafe.
Very sadly,
three of the applicants -
Julian Wilson, Peter Holmes
and Dawn O'Connell -
have not lived to see the outcome
of their appeals.
'Did the Post Office
bosses go to prison too?'
'No. No, no.
'I've been to jail.
I know what it's like.
'It doesn't do any good.
'Hit them in their pockets.
Take their money off them.
'It's the only language
they'll understand!'
Good lad. On you go.
You should have gone down
for these appeals.
It's not about me.
Where's Jo?
There she is.
'Jo? What do you think
The Post Office should say?'
'Oh, I dunno. Erm
'We've waited so long for this day,
and some of us didn't make it.
'People have died, you know,
'and all we ever wanted
was for the truth to come out
'and for someone to listen.'
It didn't have to be like this.
All these good people,
their lives in ruins.
I mean, look at us.
Do we look like criminals?
Congratulations, Jo.
Not just unfair, but look at this!
"An affront to justice."
That's, like, twice as bad.
No, that's 100 times as bad.
Oh, you were like lambs
to the slaughter,
and they were villains and idiots.
Hey, you.
You make me cry, you're a bad man.
'Josephine Hamilton and others
versus the Post Office!
'Look, Alan!'
'Look what we did!
Look what you did!'
Come on! Yes! Yes!
It's jaw-droppingly significant.
The judges have not only ruled
that Jo and the others
were wrongfully convicted,
but even worse -
that the Post Office decision
to prosecute them was so wrong
that it amounts to an affront
to the conscience of the court.
This has to be
the widest miscarriage of justice
in British legal history.
I know what you're thinking.
Well, it's not over, is it?
Well, how about we
just allow ourselves to enjoy it?
- Alan?
- Er, just one email.
Minister of postal affairs.
Re legal costs
for our 555 claimants.
Total now due: £46,843,853.
Plus another month's interest at 8%.
Mounts up.
On what planet is the government
going to pay our legal costs?
They'll have to.
They own the Post Office.
Sole shareholder.
The only one.
The only one awkward enough
to sit at his computer,
making trouble for 20 years.
20 years so far.
Just think of it as a hobby
that got out of hand.
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