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16.36 And that's a wrap for today. Williams is given the usual message about not discussing his evidence overnight and he'll be back tomorrow. Could be a difficult day for him, as three lots of lawyers representing different sub-postmasters have been given 45 minutes each to question.

We'll be back tomorrow with all the updates.

16.22 An internal email is then shown to the inquiry from 2016, in which Williams says the CCRC is 'jumping down a rabbit hole they are being directed to' by the likes of Computer Weekly, which was reporting on Horizon failings.


Beer asks if this is another sign of the 'siege mentality' of the Post Office, where challenges are met with hostility and must be fended off.


Williams replies: 'I think that is maybe overstating it but there is probably something in that - I think that is fair.'

16.21 Beer takes Williams through his notes of a 2015 meeting with the Criminal Case Review Commission, which was looking at Horizon convictions. None of the previous advice about bugs in the system were shared with the CCRC. Beer asks why this information was not volunteered: Williams says the Post Office provided all the information asked for.

15.57 Earlier in the day the inquiry saw an email written by Rodric Williams in which he warned that former Bridlington sub-postmaster Lee Castleton (pictured below) may seek to re-litigate his defeat in the High Court if the Post Office looked again at his case.


Williams wrote that ‘we can set out a stall where we portray him as someone who wants £5.2m after providing inadequate services for all of 9 months.’


Castleton told me during the break that he believes Williams should be immediately removed from his role on the Post Office’s compensation scheme.


Lee Castleton

Lee Castleton

Source: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

15.51  Inquiry is going through a handwritten note from Williams after a meeting with external lawyer Martin Smith. They discussed that evidence relied on for criminal prosecutions may not have been reliable and that expert witness Gareth Jenkins had continued to sign witness statements denying the presence of bugs in Horizon, even when there was knowledge of bugs.

15.09 Jason Beer KC suggests the Post Office did nothing after the Second Sight report to share this information with convicted defendants, and nobody investigated whether this was new information. He says the Post Office had now 'entered into cover-up mode'. Williams says this is not necessarily true.

15.00 The Post Office continued to take the line that Horizon was reliable and robust after the Second Sight report, the inquiry hears.

Jason Beer KC asks what feedback was given to [Horizon] designer Fujistu. Williams asks if he can pause to take advice. Beer says: 'No, just answer the question.'

Jason Beer KC

Jason Beer KC

Source: Post Office Inquiry

14.57 Inquiry is going into detail about the Second Sight report and the three bugs that were identified. Williams says there were no efforts in the Post Office that he knew of to find out whether these bugs affected any convictions which had been based on the Horizon system.

 14.19 We're back after lunch (the Pret over the road is doing very well from this inquiry). Williams is asked by Beer if there are extra duties on a public body such as the Post Office to act correctly.

Williams says: 'There was that sense the Post Office, because we were in the communities the length and breadth of the nation it was important to be doing the right thing.

'I don't think we could act in the way that big oil [firms] might... it is part of the fabric of society and as a consequence it couldn't plough on and be damned.'

13.08 Final issue before lunch is the discussions around the Second Sight accountants report into errors with the Horizon system. Williams emailed media lawyers days before the report was due out saying the Post Office might need to consider 'possible defamation issues'.


Beer asks tongue in cheek if this approach was part of the Post Office's open and transparent approach to the Second Sight review. 


'I don't think so no,' Williams replies.

12.55 Further discussion now on Williams' attitude to sub-postmasters as they raised complaints and concerns about the Horizon system. In particular Tim McCormack, who Williams said in one email was a 'bluffer who keeps expecting us to march to his tune'.

Beers asks Williams if he feels he acted appropriately at all times. The solicitor responds: 'I certainly tried to. There is a possibility I didn't.'

12.43 The inquiry hears that in 2019, just a few weeks before the Bates judgment in which hundreds of sub-postmasters were successful, Williams was asked for his advice on what to do about the discovery of thousands of faults with the Horizon system. The solicitor said: ‘The key risk of reviewing the [records of bugs] is that claimants have not asked for them yet. By reviewing them we are doing claimants’ work for them.’ 

 12.01 The inquiry hears that there is no record of Williams disagreeing with Prime's approach on disclosure which he says is 'regrettable'. He tells the inquiry the email is 'inconsistent' with his other dealings with Womble Bond Dickinson. 

Post Office Inquiry chair Sir Wyn Williams intervenes to ask whether Williams as a solicitor should have responded to tell Prime not to withhold documents. Williams responds: 'Sitting here that is what I would like to say I did, but I didnt.'

11.55 Inquiry sees an email from 2016 from Womble Bond Dickinson lawyer Amy Prime to Williams. In it, she states that claimant lawyers have asked for Post Office guidance documents.


She writes: 'For now, we'll do what we can to avoid disclosure of these guidelines and try to do so in a way that looks legitimate. However, we are ultimately withholding a key document and this may attract some criticism from Freeths.'

PO inquiry email - WBD lawyer

Email (2016) from Womble Bond Dickinson lawyer Amy Prime to Williams

Source: Post Office Inquiry

 11.39 The inquiry takes a break. Several former sub-postmasters are here, including Janet Skinner and Lee Castleton. Speaking to them there is little surprise at the evidence that has come out this morning. Asking one if they are confident about Williams being responsible for compensation payments to victims, she says: 'You mean us rats'?

11.37 The inquiry hears that Williams emailed in response to a BBC enquiry about Horizon by pointing out the BBC seems to have a relationship with the Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance, adding 'I smell a rat.'

11.12 Another internal email exchange, this time between Williams and Patrick Bourke, the Post Office head of government affairs, is brought up on screen. This is again discussing enquiries from Nick Wallis.

Bourke: This is clutching at straws. 
Williams: I swear you are the only person more cynical than me. 
Bourke: I take that as a badge of honour (signed off with a smiley face emoji)

Beer asks whether this shows that Post Office staff saw complaints as a joke. Williams denies this. The solicitor adds: 'When you are working under pressure sometimes you write an email that when you look at it nine years later you regret. Emails exchanged between two colleagues from time to time occur. Beer asks whether Williams would categorise this as 'bantz'. He replies: 'I would say yes.'

11.06 The inquiry continues to examine Williams' role in advising the Post Office PR team in 2014 and 2015, particularly in relation to enquiries about whether sub-postmasters were happy with Horizon by journalist Nick Wallis.


At one point, Williams emails to say: 'This is puerile'. In another, he warns against catering to the 'whims' of sub-postmasters and that they are welcome to leave if they don't like Horizon.

10.48 Williams' full written witness statement has now been published by the inquiry. It can be found here.

10.41 Williams wrote a further internal email about the PR strategy where he said: 'We don't need to do research on Horizon. It is the system we provide to [sub-postmasters] and require them to use. If [they] don't they can choose not to provide services for us. We are not required to bespoke our accounting system to the whims of each individual.'

10.34 The inquiry is shown an email exchange in December 2014 after journalist Nick Wallis had asked questions about Horizon ahead of the story being covered on BBC's The One Show.

Williams responds to the Post Office PR team that 'this is getting ridiculous, we are being asked to address an ever-expanding range of serious issues on a piecemeal basis with constantly shifting goal-posts in an attempt to get Nick Wallis a story which is "news".'

10.28 It's rather tense as Beer questions Williams about the Post Office's media strategy. Williams asks Beer what he means by referring to the word 'strategy' and Beer offers a definition, before pointing out that Williams himself uses the term in his own witness statement.

10.25 Williams is asked first of all by inquiry counsel Jason Beer KC about his role in advising the Post Office in relation to the 600 sub-postmasters suspended between 2013 and 2018. The solicitor says a group in the Post Office would contact him from time to time for his advice and support on a case they were looking at.

He admits not making it clear to Post Office executives that his background was in litigation rather than criminal law. 'I don't recall expressly putting that disclaimer on things,' he says.

Rodric Williams PO inquiry

Rodric Williams at this morning's inquiry

Source: Post Office Inquiry

Welcome to our live coverage of the Post Office Inquiry, and the first time in Phase Five that we have heard from a lawyer witness. New Zealander Rodric Williams, who was admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2002, joined the organisation in 2012.