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

You know it's solid reporting when trial lawyers start quoting it

Autonomy trial 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 team had given two different explanations for why two former Autonomy C-suite execs suddenly weren't going to be giving evidence after all: so they say, one version as given to El Reg and another version to the court.

The two execs, former COO Andy Kanter and one-time chief marketer Nicole Eagan, "refused" to testify, as HPE lead barrister Laurence Rabinowitz said in court back in September. Being part of Lynch's C-suite at the time of the infamous Autonomy buyout, they could have shed more light on allegations that Lynch and co-defendant Sushovan Hussain deliberately duped HP managers into buying Autonomy under false pretences.

HPE, however, read The Register's report of their non-attendance in which Lynch's PR battalion put a very different spin on it.

As we reported at the time:

The Register understands that Lynch's camp have 'stood down' Eagan, Kanter and another witness, and that HPE has similarly decided not to cross-examine three more defence witnesses. Their witness statements will therefore be removed from the case file. We understand Lynch's position is that the events they were due to testify about were covered in great detail during his own marathon testimony in July.

A similar account appeared in the Daily Telegraph.

Behind the scenes, HPE's lawyers had been firing off furious letters to Lynch's lawyers asking why Eagan and Kanter weren't going to show up. Lynch's people told HPE's people that Kanter and Eagan had decided not to testify and that Lynch "will not seek to compel them to attend trial".

Both are outside the UK jurisdiction so cannot be forced to attend by HPE.

Evidently dischuffed with what they say is a mismatch between the court version and the version given to the press, HPE lawyers raged, in written closing arguments presented to the court today:

It thus appears that Dr Lynch would like to take the position publicly that he made the decision not to call Mr Kanter and Ms Eagan, presumably because of the PR implications of a refusal by these individuals to appear. Nevertheless, Dr Lynch wishes at the same time to adopt the stance in these proceedings that there has indeed been such a refusal. This is wholly unsatisfactory.

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.

The Register will continue to report from the Autonomy Trial, despite the 1,693 pages of closing legalese filed by Lynch's lawyers and 2,558 pages of closing arguments filed by HPE, which we are duty-bound to try to summarise in a readable way. Small wonder the case is costing £4m a month in legal fees alone. ®

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