Key witnesses postponed after further late disclosure from Post Office
Evidence from Jarnail Singh and Gareth Jenkins to be rescheduled
Sir Wyn Williams has expressed his “considerable regret and frustration” this morning as he announced that planned evidence from former Post Office lawyer, Jarnail Singh, and former Fujitsu engineer, Gareth Jenkins, will have to be postponed due to further late disclosure from the Post Office.
Addressing the public hearing this morning, the Chair said it is likely the Inquiry will receive “hundreds” of documents in the next hours and days which are relevant to Mr Singh’s evidence, previously scheduled for 20 and 21 November.
He said “We had been promised by the Post Office that they would begin the disclosure of those documents, or disclosure of those documents would begin, rather, yesterday, but that has not occurred, and I am unclear as I speak, as to when disclosure will begin.
“Fairness demands that Mr Singh sees those documents before he gives evidence. Fairness also demands that Core Participants see those documents before Mr Singh gives evidence, and as I have said, the Inquiry is not yet in a position to process those documents, and disclose them to Mr Singh and Core Participants.”
In the case of Mr Jenkins, Sir Wyn said the Post Office has disclosed 3,045 new documents, and that the Inquiry will need to process those documents and then disclose them to Mr Jenkins and all other Core Participants.
The Chair noted the obvious importance of Mr Jenkins’ evidence to his Inquiry, and said “I cannot contemplate what has occurred so far recurring, namely that shortly before Mr Jenkins gives his evidence there is a flurry of activity which includes the late disclosure of documents.”
He therefore said it may be some months before Mr Jenkins appears to give evidence at this Inquiry: “That is a source of frustration to me. I'm sure it will be a source of frustration to many Core Participants, and perhaps a source of frustration to Mr Jenkins himself. But I think everyone who has followed this Inquiry will appreciate that it is crucial that Mr Jenkins' evidence is heard with the benefit of all documents which is relevant to that evidence.”
Sir Wyn said that it may be possible for the Inquiry to hear from other witnesses on the dates set aside between 30 November and 6 December for Mr Jenkins’ evidence.
The witness timetable will be kept updated, and new dates for oral evidence from Jarnail Singh and Gareth Jenkins will be announced in due course.
A full transcript of Sir Wyn’s announcement on this matter is available in the hearing transcript.