Nathan Skinner Independent trial told of faults in claims process

There were few signs of a speedy resolution as the Indie trial entered its third week.

Progress dragged on with evidence from four more prosecution witnesses and cross examination by defence counsel.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the accused, who sit apart in the court rarely acknowledging one another, are fighting separate battles rather than a united defence.

The week began with the conclusion of evidence from former Independent manager Michael Watts.

Next, former claims manager Susan McCall— who was visibly nervous, but nonetheless resolute in the face of cross examination— asserted that ex-group chairman Michael Bright knew that claims deficits weren’t being processed properly.

The third witness, Independent director Colin Hawes recalled a meeting with one of the defendants, former deputy managing director Philip Condon. At a Leadenhall market meeting the witness alleged that Condon pleaded with him not to resign.

Hawes also testified that fellow defendant and former finance director Dennis Lomas had told him not to offer up information freely to the company’s auditors.

Lomas’s counsel, cross examining for the first time, parried by arguing that there was no mention of this in Hawes’ original interview transcripts.

To the delight of a jaded looking jury, Judge Rivlin then adjourned the court early on Friday.

When the trial resumed late on Monday, the court heard its first testimony from former group claims manager Patricia Clarkson, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses.

Clarkson, in grey suit and glasses, chose to sit and deliver her account to the jury. She asserted that all claims and reserving information was available to the “senior executive management” who maintained ultimate control over the reigns of power.

During brief stints of cross examination, Bright’s counsel argued that claims data was not manipulated to skew company finances but rather more innocently to present a better picture to the former chairman who was troubled by what he saw as over reserving.

The trial continues.