“Important witness” removed from timetable after refusing to co-operate with Inquiry

Inquiry also confirms timetable changes following the government’s announcement of a General Election


Chair of the Inquiry Sir Wyn Williams has issued a statement regarding former Post Office General Counsel Jane MacLeod, confirming that she has been removed from the timetable as she “will not co-operate with the Inquiry by providing oral evidence”.


Ms MacLeod was initially due to give evidence on 3 and 4 June 2024. She was removed from the timetable after refusing to attend to give oral evidence or give evidence remotely. 


In his statement, Sir Wyn outlined that after Ms MacLeod provided a written witness statement, her legal representative told the Inquiry that they considered her statement to be the best evidence that she could offer and that she was “questioning…whether she would be able to assist the Inquiry further” by providing oral evidence. 


The Inquiry has carefully considered the legal options available, but the Chair said today that he considers that there are no adequate means of compelling Ms MacLeod to attend under the Inquiries Act 2005, due to her being resident in Australia.


Sir Wyn confirmed that the Inquiry will continue to investigate Ms MacLeod’s involvement in the scandal and her witness statement has been read into the record. 


In his statement, Sir Wyn said: “I have received a considerable amount of disclosure on the issues that are relevant to Ms MacLeod. I shall be able to compare what Ms MacLeod says in her witness statement alongside the extensive contemporaneous documentation I have received. 


“Whilst it would have been greatly preferable to hear from Ms MacLeod, I do not consider that her absence prevents me from establishing the facts of her involvement in the matters relevant to the Terms of Reference.”


Lead Counsel to the Inquiry Jason Beer KC addressed this in the hearing of 17 May 2024. He said: “We’re not going to hear from her. She lives abroad, and won’t cooperate.”


In a separate update, Sir Wyn confirmed that the Inquiry will not sit on 4 and 5 July 2024 following the Government’s announcement of a General Election. 


The witnesses due to attend on these days will be re-listed, with further updates provided in due course.