back to article HPE to Mike Lynch: You told either El Reg or High Court the right version of why former Autonomy execs won't testify

The Autonomy trial has resumed – with The Register being furiously quoted in legal arguments as Britain's biggest fraud trial begins slowly rolling towards its close. Among the thousands of pages of closing arguments being heard by Mr Justice Hildyard in the High Court's Chancery Division, HPE's lawyers complained that Lynch's …

  1. Imhotep Silver badge

    Someone Might Have Said

    The statements the HPE lawyers are referring to do not appear to be attributed to Mr Lynch.

    They are also pretty vague: the reporter's "understand" something to be true. No one can be held responsible for someone else's understanding. Their position would be stronger if the articles cited here contained actual quotes by a specific individual.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: Someone Might Have Said

      ... the reporter's "understand" something to be true.

      That's journo-speak for; "I have this directly from a source, but off the record".

  2. Donn Bly

    If you read both statements, and don't read INTO them, you will find that they are not exactly contradictory. Is it possible that HPE's lawyer has been smoking something that they shouldn't? Perhaps the same substance that HP's board was smoking when they even considered the acquisition without doing due diligence?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or that HPE's lawyers managed to make a huge mistake and are hoping for a miracle to give them a second chance.

      The competence of HPE's lawyers is not Mr Lynch's responsibility. This is becoming a common theme...

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        I think the term is "a Hail Mary pass".

        Next up, HPE's lawyers will bring up the subject of wookiees on Endor.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "If you read both statements, and don't read INTO them, you will find that they are not exactly contradictory."

      Lawyers have their own legal definitions of words which may be different from those used by humans.

  3. tekHedd

    Privilege

    He... just can't be bothered to testify? The VPs answer to a different standard, don't they? I don't care if he's testified 10 times already, if it was *me* telling the court "no, I'm not doing that" how long do you think I'd be walking around free?

    1. The First Dave

      Re: Privilege

      For a criminal trial or a civil one?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privilege

      My understanding is that the VP's only needed to appear if one of the two sides specifically named them as witnesses.

      When only Mr Lynch's side named them and then subsequently released them from appearing, they are no longer required to appear. If HP had also named them, I believe they would have had to appear.

      I suspect this was an oversight on HPE's lawyers part but am happy to be corrected.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: Privilege

        I suspect this was an oversight on HPE's lawyers

        I can see certain pattern emerging ...

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Privilege

        I agree, this sounds like sour grapes from HPE as they wanted these witnesses to testify.

        In civil cases, to prevent the trial going on and on forever, often a judge will limit the number of witnesses both the plaintiffs and defendants can call. For example, the judge may say that each side is allowed to call 10 witnesses (usually excluding the defendants themselves from the number of allowed witnesses if they choose to testify).

        So, it sounds like HPE decided to not call these witnesses and used their allotment to call other witnesses instead, because they could question these ones under cross-examination as the opposing sides witnesses, thus not using up their witness allotment on them but still being able to use them, having their cake and eating it.

        But now, the defence has decided to not call them, thus potentially harming the prosecutions case. Very nice tactics from the defence if that is indeed the case, and a total balls-up, a miscalculation, from the plaintiffs. HPE lawyers have no-one but themselves to blame. They took a gamble to be able to, effectively, have more than their allotment of witnesses, and they failed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Privilege

          "But now, the defence has decided to not call them, thus potentially harming the prosecutions case."

          While HPE's lawyers are making it sound like this harms their case, I can't help feeling that it would have been a fishing expedition rather than having any solid evidence. If there was evidence, it would have likely been shown already.

          I'm not so sure it was a gamble as a last chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Instead they get to watch the big fish swim away....

    3. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Privilege

      just can't be bothered to testify

      Mike has >11 billion reasons NOT to testify.

      how long do you think I'd be walking around free

      Ecuador embassy has a recently-vacated space where he can seek "sanctuary". (For a fee, of course.)

    4. AdamWill

      Re: Privilege

      "Both are outside the UK jurisdiction so cannot be forced to attend by HPE," quoth the article. (as another commenter points out, since this is a civil case, there's no criminal justice interest in using the power of the criminal law and/or the Crown to compel anyone to appear either).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £4m a month

    Rumpole would only do criminal (with the odd divorce) defence, strange fellow turning down all that civil cash but an excellent character none the less.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: £4m a month

      Can web sites specify the types of ads displayed? Could ElReg specify law firm ads for Autonomy articles?

      I'm wishing for the laughs as law firms either try to show how they are just as good as the big firms, or try desperately to differentiate from those bozos

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: £4m a month

      Reading about the thousands of pages of closing statements I can't help feeling that Rumpole's closing speech might have been as short as 5 minutes and not longer than half an hour unless he was up to something that needed an adjournment.

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Happy

    Oh dear HP...

    HP must be utterly desperate if they are having to quote the pirate ship El Reg during closing statements*.

    * - actually, we love you really. Top reporting on this case over the year BTW.

    (do you think I got away with it?)

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear HP...

      Biting the hand that bites the hand that feeds IT?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Oh dear HP...

        groklaw got there first

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: groklaw got there first

          The sort of detailed analysis that PJ did on Groklaw on these complex legal cases is sorely missed.

          1. theblackhand

            Re: groklaw got there first

            The SCO case was very different to this one - there was significant amounts of legal and contractual documentation to analyse and summarise while this case is very much summarising the case and trying to give the audience a feel for the case.

            Horses for courses, but I've certainly enjoyed ElRegs presentation of the material along with the comments. Compared to more mainstream sources, the writing style and IT angle is very much appreciated.

  6. Mark192 Bronze badge

    "It is relatively unusual for lawyers in an English civil court case to quote press reports about the case itself in support of their legal arguments. Nonetheless, it's nice to see readers paying attention."

    :-)

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Just in case HPE and their lawyers are also desperately dredging the comments:

      They're incompetent, this case has only served to highlight their stupidity, and I hope their shareholders take it out of their hides.

      I look forward to Hussain being released and restitution made to him. Which would free up a prison cell for a more deserving (HPE) exec.

      1. Mark Exclamation

        Upvoted. I seriously hope HPE lose this case, and have to pay Lynch's costs.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I look forward to Hussain being released and restitution made to him."

        Different jurisdiction. OTOH it wouldn't look good for the criminal conviction if HPE failed against the supposedly less less stringent standard of balance of probabilities that applies in civil cases.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "It is relatively unusual for lawyers in an English civil court case to quote press reports about the case itself in support of their legal arguments. Nonetheless, it's nice to see readers paying attention."

      Does that mean El Reg is now on a par with Private Eye? ;-)

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        You have to admit that Private Eye has the better cartoons, but El Reg beats PE hands down when it comes to PlayMobil reconstructions.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          I think El Reg has the edge (just?) on PEye on technical news, although the Post Office Scandal has been well covered by the latter.

  7. chuBb. Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    Perhaps its the time of the year but...

    ... I have only just noticed how much mike lynch looks like mr blobby....

    1. Imhotep Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps its the time of the year but...

      Next HPE stratagem: "Your honor, just look at him. Look at him. Is that the face of an honest man? Would you want this man for a brother-in-law?" That might sway me, if an actual burden of proof wasn't required.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps its the time of the year but...

      ... I have only just noticed how much mike lynch looks like mr blobby....

      What, pink with yellow spots?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps its the time of the year but...

        Amazing what a bit of makeup can do when when slapped on for a picture.

  8. DavCrav Silver badge

    So, what those two statements say is: "We were going to call them, but they didn't fancy it. We cannot force them to, so we decided not to press the issue."

    That's not remotely contradictory.

  9. macjules Silver badge

    deliberately duped HP managers into buying Autonomy under false pretences

    Bless. Xerox, please take note.

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: deliberately duped HP managers into buying Autonomy under false pretences

      HP does not equal HPE.

  10. PhilipN Silver badge

    Struggling..

    ... they are.

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    "£4m month"

    Sweet.

    And by the number of pages HPE' lawyers have put in you can bet that item is going to be seriously large*

    *How much of it is relevant of course is another matter. No one would include the menu for each restaurant they had a lunch time meeting at, would they?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lawyers gonna lawyer and get new cars and bigger houses

  13. Giovani Tapini Silver badge
    Angel

    I'm glad for El Reg

    Clearly a bastion of truth and quality investigative journalism that has not been recognised in the lofty highbrow circles of court proceedings until now.

    It is however probably fortunate the lawers were not quoting from the "What would Paris do" angle.

    I am sure now this has happened, many doors of power will swing languorously open, with expensive and antique sounding creaking iron hinge noises, and the backlit silhouette of the power brokers will beckon you in.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: I'm glad for El Reg

      and the backlit silhouette of the power brokers will beckon you in.

      "It's a trap!"

  14. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    If you tell lies, you have to remember what you said, as the smallest detail will most definitely trip you up.

    Telling the truth does not require you to remember what you've said. (Although you will need to remember what happened, and tell it like it was).

  15. 2Nick3

    HPE trying to help HP

    "...despite the 1,693 pages of closing legalese filed by Lynch's lawyers and 2,558 pages of closing arguments filed by HPE..."

    I'm picturing dozens of lawyers printing out copies of these documents to review and annotate, all on HP printers. The ink/toner costs should help HP fight off the Xerox hostile takeover!

  16. stewwy

    I like our legal system, it at least tries to give a fair trial.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
  17. Alan Johnson

    As often HPs arguments seem rather desperate. The reality is that there may be more than one reason why the witnesses did not appear. It ciould be that they were naturally reluctant to appear facing potentially hostile questioningand the defence believed that their testimony was not as useful as they originally felt given the progress of the trial. The final decision could take both factors into account. COmplaining that the defence did nto call witnesses that HP wanted the defence to call and then complaining about the reasons just seems ridiculous. The defence does not have to give any reasons for not callingg a witness to testify.

    The impression is once again of clutching at straws hoping that a witness would under questionning say something that can turn a failing case around. That maybe why the defence did not call them, feeling that they are winning and therefore reducing the chance of anything unexpected happening.

    I am no expert but does throing this sort of thing out rather than focussing on the core of a case do anything but annoy the judge?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020