Will things ever be the same again? It’s the final (Poplar Papers) countdown.

Tomorrow Wednesday 4th of December 2019, the case of Mark Edmunds for unfair dismissal against the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH), aka The Poplar Papers, resumes at the East London Employment Tribunal.

Kerfuffle City

It’s the final countdown according to Europe – and these rockers don’t mean Brexit!

As one (or the other one) of LW’s readers may recall there was a major legal kerfuffle during the first part of the case which was all about the evidence bundle which supports and is referenced by Mark Edmunds witness statement.

Without access to this evidence bundle it is not possible for the media to properly report on this case.

The contents of the evidence bundle are – we think because we have not seen it – lots of LBTH Council documents which residents have paid numerous council officers to produce.

The media wanted it.

The Council did not want us to have it.

Then the Council said the media could have it as long as we paid a lot of money for the Council to redact (edit) it.

Saywhatnow?

Quite why LBTH want to be in control of redacting 2,000 pages of documents about numerous allegations of corruption in, er, LBTH is not much of a puzzle to be honest.

Marking their own homework

As the witness statement of Mark Edmunds makes multiple allegations that both elected councillors and council officers of both the Rahman and Biggs administrations went to some lengths to stop him getting to the truth the media thought this was akin to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) Council being allowed to mark their own homework.

Which may not be ideal in the circumstances to say the least, especially with the long history of corruption in the Town Hall.

On 28th of October we sent a quite long and detailed email to LBTH explaining why the media would only accept an un-redacted version of the 2,000 page evidence bundle and various related issues.

As promised we published the letter for borough residents to read and over 300 have done so.

But answer from LBTH Legal to our letter came there none. Strange ‘cos lots of other people thought it was interesting.

It was also odd because the employment tribunal judge had made it absolutely clear that he expected the evidence bundle issue sorted before the case resumed on 4th December.

In our experience of how courts work if a judge says jump you jump and wait to be told when to come down.

So we waited a bit more. Then a little bit more. We sent another email on 24 November which you can read here (PDF) and finally on 28 November got a response to this email from LBTH Legal which you can read here(PDF) – less than a week before the resumption of the case.

LBTH Legal said they had never got our main email of the 28th of October.

Seriously? Time to panic.

Now as is the habit of LW when we have an important job to do we make sure we assign the best person for the task. In this case the Wapping Mole was in charge of all emails. Had it been a mistake to entrust a mole with sending this super important email?

No. In fact quite the opposite.

Firstly Moley checked that that particular email to LBTH Legal (and the Clerk of the Court of course) was in the ‘Sent’ folder of his Mole Mail. Here is a screen grab.

Screen grab of email to LBTH Legal sent on 28 October in Sent mail folder

Now if you look at the grab carefully you will notice that in the BCC field of the email there is an address ‘Basecamp’. Myself and the other journalists working on this case use a project management system called Basecamp to keep track of documents and emails. (Basecamp is a great piece of software that I have been using for years and highly recommend it. Oh and the basic version is free!)

One of the many useful features of this piece of software is that it has an email archive facility. This means that every time any of us media types send an email to anyone we simply add the Basecamp email archive address to the BCC field and a copy of the email is automatically added to the email archive for this project on the Basecamp server, so providing an audit trail. Like this:

Screen grab of Basecamp email archive showing email to LBTH Legal sent on 28 October in Sent mail folder

You can see that on Monday 28th October 2019 a copy of the email sent to LBTH Legal is securely lodged in our email archive for audit purposes.

Therefore Moley can prove that the email of the 28th was sent to LBTH Legal. Maybe it got stuck in their junk mail folder? If it did that’s a shame but not our fault.

We sent LBTH Legal an email in response saying just that and you can read that email here (PDF).

And Moley is still awaiting their reply.

So it seems that you dear readers have been far more up to date on this issue than LBTH Legal have been.

It’s the final countdown. Maybe.

For some reason Moley has had what the Germans call an ‘earworm’ in his head for the last couple of months which he just cannot get rid of. Moley thought he would share it with you and see if it sticks in your head too.


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