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Legal privilege used to ‘cloak’ messages, admits key Post Office figure Angela van den Bogerd



Legal privilege used to 'cloak' messages, admits key Post Office figure Angela van den Bogerd

Probably the most senior former figures within the Put up Workplace has admitted that the organisation tried to ‘cloak’ data by utilizing authorized privilege on inner communications.

The Put up Workplace Inquiry at this time noticed recommendation from a lawyer in 2011 that, with litigation a risk, paperwork ought to be both marked as privileged and confidential or engineered in order that they might be.

An additional e-mail from Angela van den Bogerd, individuals companies director at Put up Workplace Ltd, appeared to inform colleagues to verify every thing was privileged due to this fact not disclosable. 

Inquiry counsel Jason Beer KC requested: ‘Did the Put up Workplace from no less than 2011 onwards search to make use of claims of authorized skilled privilege as a software to cloak communications in privateness?’ Bogerd replied: ‘I didn’t assume so on the time [but] from the data I’ve seen as a part of this course of then I feel there was an inclination to do this.’

The inquiry heard that 4 potential litigants had emerged in 2011 after the formation of the marketing campaign group Justice For Submasters Alliance.

Emily Springford, a principal lawyer in dispute decision with Royal Mail Group, emailed Bogerd saying {that a} doc could be deemed privileged provided that its ‘dominant function’ was to provide or obtain authorized recommendation. If the dominant function was to not acquire authorized recommendation, Springford continued, employees ought to ‘attempt to construction the doc in such a means that its dominant function will be mentioned to be proof gathering to be used within the litigation’.

Bogerd cascaded this data all the way down to colleagues, telling them to protect all paperwork and ‘mark communications in relation to those instances as legally privileged and confidential’.

Beer mentioned Bogerd’s diktat was ‘materially totally different’ from the preliminary recommendation from her lawyer and she or he was attempting to verify all paperwork couldn’t be disclosed even when they weren’t associated to authorized recommendation.

The inquiry went on to take a look at the difficulty of Horizon operator Fujitsu having distant entry to department accounts. If this risk was recognized, it’s now accepted that Horizon-related prosecutions could be basically flawed and unreliable.

Bogerd mentioned in her witness assertion that she had no information that distant entry was attainable earlier than 2011 or that Fujitsu may alter transaction knowledge.

The inquiry then noticed an e-mail despatched on to Bogerd by a Put up Workplace supervisor in December 2010 which mentioned that that they had ‘discovered this week that Fujitsu can truly put an entry right into a department remotely’. This was affecting as much as 60 branches. Bogerd mentioned she didn’t bear in mind receiving this e-mail and there was no file of her having replied.

Beer mentioned this advised that Put up Workplace managers handled such points ‘offline’ to keep away from leaving a paper path.

‘Not that I used to be conscious of,’ Bogerd instructed him.

The listening to continues.

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