back to article Yes, I've been swotting up on court evidence in advance, says Autonomy founder Mike Lynch

Former Autonomy chief exec Mike Lynch sensationally admitted to London's High Court this afternoon that he has been reading courtroom evidence in advance of being questioned about it. Barrister Laurence Rabinowitz QC, counsel for HPE, was asking Lynch about the transcript of a phone conversation the ex-CEO had with an internal …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    And why not? Any time I went into the witness box I had my case file and would at least have read enough to remind myself what it was all about.

    1. Nick Kew

      HP are being most obliging, letting him have the evidence.

      I guess technically they're supposed to, and his being well-lawyered means they can't pull a fast one?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        They're supposed to because it's not a trial for murder, so each party gives its evidence over to the other and everyone knows what everyone has.

        Only in a murder trial do you have a last-minute proof that the prosecution keeps hidden until just the right time - twenty seconds before the commercial break.

        1. Peter Sommer

          There's no exception for murder trials! Relevant laws are Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act 1996 and 2003. Civil Procedure is in CPR 31.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Only in a murder trial do you have a last-minute proof that the prosecution keeps hidden until just the right time - twenty seconds before the commercial break."

          And that's only fictional murder trials.

          1. kain preacher

            Only in a murder trial do you have a last-minute proof that the prosecution keeps hidden until just the right time - twenty seconds before the commercial break.

            Wow, that would mean the US more enlighten. I doubt that the UK would let prosecutors withhold evidence till the last minute. Not even the US does that

        3. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Only in a murder trial do you have a last-minute proof that the prosecution keeps hidden until just the right time - twenty seconds before the commercial break.

          Ah... the Perry Mason defense method. And naturally, the real criminal is also revealed in those last few seconds.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      IANAL, but how else can you mount a defense if you're not presented with the evidence before the trial?

      1. Aqua Marina

        The US company think's in a US court, where fair rules don't apply and the foreigner is guilty by default.

        1. kain preacher

          "The US company think's in a US court, where fair rules don't apply and the foreigner is guilty by default."

          Um withholding evidence in the US is not even close to being legal. That will have the lawyers sanctioned. Possibly have your case dismissed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IANAL either, but as someone who's been a defendant in a Spanish trial I can say that not all judicial systems let you see the evidence before the trial. In fact, I was only allowed to see the detailed charges when they gave me a week's notice that they'd set a date for the hearing.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Yes, but the Spanish system of law is utterly different to ours.

          In our system (which I call our system, since this is being written in english, and basically every country using english as a native language uses common law and the adversarial system) each sides present all of their evidence, and then the prosecution tries to make the defendant look guilty, and the defendant tries to explain away the evidence to look innocent. The person with the argument that best convinces a Jury wins. The Judge then decides sentencing.

          In more continental systems of law such as the Napoleonic code (rebranded the code civil, Emperor Napoleon was not universally popular...) the Judge acts as an inquisitor who looks at the evidence and then decides what he thinks happened.

          Under the latter system, there is no point telling somebody what evidence you have against them as not knowing what evidence exists is an excellent incentive not to lie too much. (because if you get caught lying, but the Judge doesn't tell you that you've been caught lying then he's going to know that your a lying git and probably lying about other things too...)

    3. cpm86

      Yes, of course. A witness would expect to have access to the daily transcript and the trial bundle*. Coaching would be a different thing, as would contact with lawyers or others associated with the case whilst sworn in as a witness and it may be the cross examining barrister was hinting at this latter to make the witness uncomfortable.

      * Enough documents to sink an aircraft carrier in this case.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
        Unhappy

        "Enough documents to sink an aircraft carrier in this case."

        Given the present generation of our aircraft carriers that doesn't need to be a very big bundle.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conflicting business models

    "A surprised-sounded Rabinowitz replied: "So whilst the evidence is ongoing, you are being given documents which have been put on Magnum to review before you have given evidence?""

    You're supposed to pay expensive lawyers to tell you what to say on the stand, not actively follow the trial My Lynch...

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Devil

    All about priorities

    Now that my tit is in the wringer, I better at least figure out why! Damn, it was a GOOD ride while it lasted?

  4. Aqua Marina

    Full disclosure?

    Er, I thought this was the principle of full disclosure, i.e. the plaintiff legally has to hand over all evidence beforehand so the defence can er, mount a defence. Or is HPE's lawyer surprised that Lynch has actually read it because he didn't believe he would? I conclude from this that HPE's modus operandi is to never read any documents that are handed over to them. Explains a lot really including how they ended up here in the first place :p

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Full disclosure?

      Agreed - isn’t this (ironically) just due diligence by Lynch?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Full disclosure?

        And really diligent 'due dilligence' as well.

        HPE really do need to sharpen their game or they are going to lose big time. The question is... can they or more importntly do they know how.

      2. Psmo Silver badge

        Re: Full disclosure?

        Yes, but everyone knows that due diligence means not reading any of the freely available documents.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Full disclosure?

          due diligence means

          I got the impression it meant 'going with what the group or company proposed and not arguing it was a bad idea'.

          Proactive : Additionally also being (or giving the impression of being) really enthusiastically behind the idea.

      3. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Full disclosure?

        And whatever his faults may be, being stupid and not doing his homework are not amongst them.

    2. Nick Kew

      Re: Full disclosure?

      Yeah, but if you're not well-lawyered, that full disclosure might happen when the other side hands you a big wodge while you're waiting to go in to the court. Then the judge asks whether you've had the documents in advance, and the answer is yes. The fact that "in advance" was three minutes is irrelevant, and without being well-lawyered you're too bewildered to see what's going on until it's too late.

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: Full disclosure?

        "Three minutes in advance, yes Your Honor."

        1. The Mole

          Re: Full disclosure?

          "I don't know, Your Honour. I was just given this wodge of papers 3 minutes ago but I've not even had the chance to see if they are just takeaway menus"?

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: Full disclosure?

            Barristers are there to come up with an answer like that immediately, under pressure in court. They are specialists in presenting cases and thinking quickly, which is a different skill set to slowly thinking a problem through. That's why they have to be instructed by a solicitor.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Full disclosure?

      Must be rather embarrassing to discover that even in court Lynch's due diligence beats HPE's by a mile :)

    4. hplasm
      Happy

      Re: Full disclosure?

      "HPE's modus operandi is to never read any documents that are handed over to them."

      Judging by HP experience, each page would be in a separate large box...

    5. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Full disclosure?

      I can't help but think that the surprise in this case is something like the surprise that Sir Humphrey shows in one of the episodes of "Yes Minister" when Mr Hacker discovers a memo he's not supposed to have time to find in the middle of a bunch of stationary requisitions in one of the dozen or so boxes given to him to read in bed that evening.

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Full disclosure?

        Jim Hacker: I wonder why the Foreign Office didn't cover themselves.

        Israeli Ambassador: Maybe they did.

        Jim Hacker:They gave me several boxes tonight. I've been through them all except this one. I wonder if this could be it. ''Northern Indian Ocean Situation Report''. It's 138 pages - It must be it.

        Next day

        Sir Humphrey: May I inquire where the impulse for this little escapade came from?

        Jim Hacker: Of course you may - It came from Luke.

        Sir Humphrey: Luke!!!

        Luke [from the Foreign Office]: From me?

        Jim Hacker: It was you who put together that masterly Northern Indian Ocean Situation Report?

        Luke: Yes, but it argued for not doing anything.

        Jim Hacker: Come off it, Luke you can't fool me.

        Luke: What?!

        Jim Hacker: I can read between the lines.

        Some politicians have a feeling for foreign affairs. I knew you meant St George's needed support.

        Luke: Oh, yes - well, no, actually. Only in one paragraph on page 107.

        Jim Hacker: It was enough, I can take the hint.

        I'm giving you full credit, I told the Foreign Secretary it was your warning sparked it off.

        Luke: No, no, it wasn't! You haven't?!

        Jim Hacker: And I don't think I'm giving away any secrets when I say you are going to be rewarded.

        Luke: Rewarded?

        Jim Hacker: Ambassador at a very important embassy.

        Luke: Which embassy?

        Jim Hacker: Tel Aviv.

        Luke: Oh, my God! You can't send me to Israel. Think about my career.

        Jim Hacker: Don't be absurd, it's an honour - promotion.

        (c) Jay and Lynn

    6. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Full disclosure?

      Reminds me of a case a lawyer I sat next to on a flight in the US told me about. The case was about insurance on some pieces of very expensive farm machinery. The farmer had apparently read every word of the very lengthy contract document he'd been asked to sign. He was very clear on what certain terms and words meant. The lawyer said the judge was most impressed with how clued up the farmer was. In pre trial disclosure the insurers had provided a sh!tload of emails in what was a suspected attempt to swamp the farmer and his legal team. He'd also gone through those with the help of his lawyer and found relevant information. The insurers had lost the case.

  5. Alan Johnson

    Still very thin

    The nature of the supposed frauds continues to seem very minor at best. There is nothing wrong with a reciprocal purchase unless it was artifical and even if this was the case the effect is not to increase profitability but turnover and this would reduce margin which was supposedly what HP was concerned might be lowered with hardware sales. It all seems quite desperate barrel scrapping rather than a strong case.

    1. The Nazz

      Re: Still very thin

      Mostly agree with your comment re reciprocal purchases. Not sure though how "within two quarters of each others" fits in with the rules, especially if they fell either side of a "year end."

      Only being paid by a customer when they get paid by their own customers is also a standard business risk, many a small business (along a chain) goes under in such circumstances.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Pint

    The Errant Way to Go ...... of a Malicious Prosecution

    Fantastic commentary, El Reg/El Regers ....... Most Entertaining and Enlightening and EMPowering. Have a drink on me.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Pint

    The Errant Ways to Go ..... of a Malicious Prosecution

    Fantastic commentary, El Reg/El Regers ....... Most Entertaining and Enlightening and EMPowering. Have a drink on me.

    1. The Nazz

      Re: The Errant Ways to Go ..... of a Malicious Prosecution

      ha ha such clarity, you said it twice.

  8. Snowy
    Facepalm

    Sounds fine to me

    [quote]Prior to the revelation that Lynch had been doing the legal equivalent of reading his notes during a school exam, Rabinowitz had been cross-examining him about a deal Autonomy struck with Filetek in 2009. HPE alleges this deal was a fraudulent transaction designed to bulk up revenues in Autonomy's accounts.[/quote]

    Seeing that this is an open book exam having and HPE know you have them what is the problem?

    1. David 164

      Re: Sounds fine to me

      The problem is that Lynch actually spent the time reading the notes. The HPE lawyers clearly skip the part about getting to know your enemy before entering into battle with them.

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