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Horizon IT - Post Office - Public Enquiry


periodictabledancer

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periodictabledancer

Watch the last ten minutes of this.

This is a guy on oath swearing  a written report of conversations with one of his own direct reports did not happen. Who is lying ? You don't need to know the facts of the matter or have any knowledge. It is staggering. 

 

 

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periodictabledancer

Just pop down the Post Office and withdraw some cash - on your card that's supposed to a "paying-in card" only AND get a credit on your account.

This woman was robbed of £10K and the Post Office told the police she was the thief. 

 

 

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Footballfirst
36 minutes ago, periodictabledancer said:

Just pop down the Post Office and withdraw some cash - on your card that's supposed to a "paying-in card" only AND get a credit on your account.

This woman was robbed of £10K and the Post Office told the police she was the thief. 

 

 

Given the evidence sessions I've watched, I think that Heather Earley's experience was relatively common among the victims of this scandal, such is the contempt shown by those representing the Post Office. I include investigators, the criminal law team, their senior management, the PO executives and Fujitsu as showing that contempt.

 

Watch two 3 minutes slots from Thursday's hearing (from 2hr 15m and again from 2hr 45m to the end) and you will see what I mean, when former investigator Gary Thomas is confronted with his own email (from 2015). Please read what it said, despite all the Horizon issues that had become known by that time.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, Footballfirst said:

Given the evidence sessions I've watched, I think that Heather Earley's experience was relatively common among the victims of this scandal, such is the contempt shown by those representing the Post Office. I include investigators, the criminal law team, their senior management, the PO executives and Fujitsu as showing that contempt.

 

Watch two 3 minutes slots from Thursday's hearing (from 2hr 15m and again from 2hr 45m to the end) and you will see what I mean, when former investigator Gary Thomas is confronted with his own email (from 2015). Please read what it said, despite all the Horizon issues that had become known by that time.  

 

 

Thats absolutely astonishing.   Heather Earley sounded like an ideal person to run a PO branch, experienced in basic accounting, and regularly  informing her PO superiors of every issue she encountered but got zero engagement from them other than being told she had to make good the daily imbalance herself out of her own pocket.  £50k.   Even more astonishing is that the double  transactions being created by the woman using the dodgy card only seem to have been investigated and discovered by her alone.

 

I haven't been following the inquiry nearly as much as you FF, but it would be interesting to know how many PO head office senior managers have taken early retirement or left to go to another company in the last 6 years to try to escape any blame.  As you say, investigators like that Gary Thomas are a disgrace - they seem to have had zero intention of digging into the reasons for the discrepancies, and just picked the easiest culprits  i.e. the PO sub postmasters.

 

I take it the inquiry itself has no powers to bring criminal charges ?

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The inquiry might not have direct remit to recommend criminal investigation,  but when it reports and all the evidence is brought out,  it will be for wronged individuals to organise and seek criminal investigation and justice.  

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There are not many things that really irk me, but this whole debacle is one of them. People ruined by a system run by fat cats intent on protecting their own arses and who seem to be impervious to recriminations for ruining so many people's lives. Completely inadequate recompense to those who suffered, most of which has been swallowed up by the legal beaks. A fair justice system would have seen several long jail sentences for those involved in Post Office and Horizon management. It's an utter travesty.

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periodictabledancer
19 hours ago, Footballfirst said:

Given the evidence sessions I've watched, I think that Heather Earley's experience was relatively common among the victims of this scandal, such is the contempt shown by those representing the Post Office. I include investigators, the criminal law team, their senior management, the PO executives and Fujitsu as showing that contempt.

 

Watch two 3 minutes slots from Thursday's hearing (from 2hr 15m and again from 2hr 45m to the end) and you will see what I mean, when former investigator Gary Thomas is confronted with his own email (from 2015). Please read what it said, despite all the Horizon issues that had become known by that time.  

 

 

Gary Thomas started out trying to con the enquiry into think he was one of the good guys but that email was a helluva moment. He deserved to be in jail for what he's done. One of many. 

 

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Footballfirst
1 minute ago, periodictabledancer said:

Gary Thomas started out trying to con the enquiry into think he was one of the good guys but that email was a helluva moment. He deserved to be in jail for what he's done. One of many. 

 

I agree. He appeared to be one of the few witnesses who were contrite about their involvement in the prosecutions. However for him to have written what he did as late as 2015 tells you all you need to know about his state of mind.

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3 hours ago, redjambo said:

There are not many things that really irk me, but this whole debacle is one of them. People ruined by a system run by fat cats intent on protecting their own arses and who seem to be impervious to recriminations for ruining so many people's lives. Completely inadequate recompense to those who suffered, most of which has been swallowed up by the legal beaks. A fair justice system would have seen several long jail sentences for those involved in Post Office and Horizon management. It's an utter travesty.


This is where I am too Red. Every story I have heard has been about decent folk caught up in a Kafka-esque world. What shakes me as much though is the absence of decency, critical self reflection and the common sense consideration of asking "does this really make sense, does it pass the sniff test?", did it really make sense that hundreds of post master/mistress were systematically defrauding the system with near identical modus operandi? That lack of responsibility on behalf of the Post Office management reflects a set of priorities which does not come with a sufficient degree of personal and corporate responsibility.

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Has there been anything said,at the enquiry, about the role of George Thomson who was full time General Secy.of the Subpostmasters Federation?( seen the small piece in Private Eye)Has he been called?

 

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23 hours ago, periodictabledancer said:

Just pop down the Post Office and withdraw some cash - on your card that's supposed to a "paying-in card" only AND get a credit on your account.

This woman was robbed of £10K and the Post Office told the police she was the thief. 

 

 

 

This is rage inducing.

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Footballfirst
44 minutes ago, ehcaley said:

Has there been anything said,at the enquiry, about the role of George Thomson who was full time General Secy.of the Subpostmasters Federation?( seen the small piece in Private Eye)Has he been called?

He has not been listed to give evidence thus far, although there have been comments about the actions (lack of) by the Federation previously.

 

On the subject of POL or Fujitsu employees potentially facing criminal prosecution, that remains a possibility.  One of the key Fujitsu employees, Gareth Jenkins, has twice sought immunity from prosecution through his lawyers, and been refused on both occasions.  That may result in him refusing to answer some questions on the basis that he could incriminate himself. However, the chair of the inquiry in his response to the requests has intimated:

 

"I am also satisfied that there is a very considerable body of evidence which is available to the Inquiry about Mr Jenkins’ knowledge of and conduct and activities in the course of prosecutions against sub-postmasters (phase 4) and involvement with Second Sight and the conduct of the group litigation (phase 5)."

 

This body of evidence is quite independent of any evidence which Mr Jenkins may provide in response to the second Rule 9 request. I have already heard and seen a substantial amount of evidence in the phase 4 hearings which have taken place which provides insight into Mr Jenkins’ conduct, knowledge and activities relating to the issues which are being investigated in that phase. In addition, important evidence about his involvement in criminal proceedings against sub-postmasters will emerge in the case studies which will be investigated in November and December 2023. I am satisfied that significant evidence will be adduced about the involvement of Mr Jenkins (if any) with Second Sight and the role he played (behind the scenes) in the group litigation when phase 5 is under investigation in early 2024.

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Footballfirst

This whole debacle is based on an archaic arrangement with the Royal Mail/Post Office Ltd. That means the alleged victim is POL, the investigator is POL and the prosecutor is POL.  Spot the conflict of interest.

 

The POL is not unique in that regard as HMRC has similar powers which it exercises through their tribunals system. The armed forces also have those powers in addition to also acting as judge and jury.

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1 minute ago, Footballfirst said:

This whole debacle is based on an archaic arrangement with the Royal Mail/Post Office Ltd. That means the alleged victim is POL, the investigator is POL and the prosecutor is POL.  Spot the conflict of interest.

 

The POL is not unique in that regard as HMRC has similar powers which it exercises through their tribunals system. The armed forces also have those powers in addition to also acting as judge and jury.

Much the same in BT which of course was part of the PO.

 

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SectionDJambo
2 hours ago, RobboM said:


This is where I am too Red. Every story I have heard has been about decent folk caught up in a Kafka-esque world. What shakes me as much though is the absence of decency, critical self reflection and the common sense consideration of asking "does this really make sense, does it pass the sniff test?", did it really make sense that hundreds of post master/mistress were systematically defrauding the system with near identical modus operandi? That lack of responsibility on behalf of the Post Office management reflects a set of priorities which does not come with a sufficient degree of personal and corporate responsibility.

I think that I remember hearing that they told all of these unfortunate people that they were the only ones that had been caught "stealing" the money, when they knew fine that there were hundreds who had had problems and insisted that they were innocent.

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periodictabledancer
2 hours ago, ehcaley said:

Has there been anything said,at the enquiry, about the role of George Thomson who was full time General Secy.of the Subpostmasters Federation?( seen the small piece in Private Eye)Has he been called?

 

Thomson sold his soul to the devil and went before a House of Commons select committe hearing to play up the reliability  of Horizon. He was one of many who were conned by POL - but he was never techically qualified to know what they were talking about. He did that to protect the Federation of Subpostmasters (ie HIS position) : a staff federation (trade union) that was entirely funded by the Post Office !!!

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4 hours ago, periodictabledancer said:

Thomson sold his soul to the devil and went before a House of Commons select committe hearing to play up the reliability  of Horizon. He was one of many who were conned by POL - but he was never techically qualified to know what they were talking about. He did that to protect the Federation of Subpostmasters (ie HIS position) : a staff federation (trade union) that was entirely funded by the Post Office !!!

Thanks,interesting character.

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Footballfirst
16 minutes ago, ehcaley said:

Thanks,interesting character.

Here's an extract from the judgement in the Bates & Others v Post Office Limited case in 2019.

 

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2019/606.html#para574

 

576.          In about 2013 the Post Office commenced discussions with the NFSP in terms of its Network Transformation Programme which had started in pilot form in 2011. It wished to have the support of the NFSP to the revision of some of the terms, and in an e mail dated 2 August 2013 Mr George Thomson, the General Secretary of the NFSP, set out what he called the framework for a potential agreement. Part of this e mail - the Post Office being referred to as POL -  stated the following:

“POL and NFSP to sign a 15 year contract for the NFSP to represent all post office operators. This will include:

Financial agreement

£500k payment 2013-14

£1.25m payment 2014-15

£1.25m payment 2015-16

£2.5m payment 2017 onwards to 2028

This process allows for the drop off of our present membership fee, and facilitates the change from check off towards POL charging a fee from all agents which is passed directly to the NFSP.

Memorandum of Understanding to be worked on with rights and responsibilities on both sides.

If necessary, NFSP will drop Union badge to sign contract.

Please note - a signed agreement with the blood of both myself and Paula is necessary on the future of the NFSP before any agreement is granted on either NT and other points.”

(emphasis added)

 

577.          “Paula” is Paula Vennells, the Chief Executive of the Post Office. The sums represent amounts to be paid to the NFSP from the Post Office. The total amount identified in that e mail represents £30.5 million. Mr Beal explained that the compensation provision for SPMs under the 2011 NTP was based upon 18 months’ remuneration, and the e mail in question above was in respect of (inter alia) an increase of that to 26 months. He also accepted that the matters were linked in the negotiations between the Post Office and the NFSP. Rather curiously therefore, the e mail above demonstrates that the NFSP was only prepared to agree what amounted to an increase in its members’ potential compensation, if its own future was assured by the payment of substantial sums to it. I find that this shows that the NFSP put its own members’ interests well below its own, and I also find that the NFSP is not fully independent.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Tommy Brown

Looking forward to the drama documentary series starting tonight.

ITV 9pm

 

 

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Malinga the Swinga
1 hour ago, Tommy Brown said:

Looking forward to the drama documentary series starting tonight.

ITV 9pm

 

 

Very suspicious. Made by ITV, calling it a scandal, yet somehow, Adam Crozier, the head of the Royal Mail Group at the time several of the subpostmasters were charged, is not mentioned. 

It must be a coincidence that Crozier later left the Post Office and went onto work as CEO for ITV.

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Lone Striker

I "accidentally" watched the final episode of the drama tonight  on the STV player when I thought it was showing the first one.  Doh !!!  🙄

 

It focused on the  actual Bates v PO  case.  One of the aspects I wasn't aware of was that the PO tried to get the judge removed part way through the case on the basis that (in their opinion) he was showing bias towards the sub-postmaster witnesses at the expense of the PO witnesses.  

 

The final scene showed the shocking stats of  how many sub-postmasters had passed away before the first group got their convictions quashed. 

 

As a couple of posters said above, this is rage inducing to anyone with an ounce of humanity.   

 

So far, no senior  PO managers and no senior Fujitsu managers have been charged with what amounted to fraud on the part of Fujitsu and negligence on the part of the PO

 

 

 

 

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periodictabledancer
2 minutes ago, Lone Striker said:

I "accidentally" watched the final episode of the drama tonight  on the STV player when I thought it was showing the first one.  Doh !!!  🙄

 

It focused on the  actual Bates v PO  case.  One of the aspects I wasn't aware of was that the PO tried to get the judge removed part way through the case on the basis that (in their opinion) he was showing bias towards the sub-postmaster witnesses at the expense of the PO witnesses.  

 

The final scene showed the shocking stats of  how many sub-postmasters had passed away before the first group got their convictions quashed. 

 

As a couple of posters said above, this is rage inducing to anyone with an ounce of humanity.   

 

So far, no senior  PO managers and no senior Fujitsu managers have been charged with what amounted to fraud on the part of Fujitsu and negligence on the part of the PO

 

 

 

 

It's been said on Twitter that a senior KC is following the public enquiry with a view to compiling prosecutorial evidence.

In addition it's now been made public the two senior POL lawyers were recommended to be reported to the SRA (solicitors standards agency) with a view to disciplinary action. The SRA have said they are waiting for the public enquiry to finish first.

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Lone Striker
8 hours ago, periodictabledancer said:

It's been said on Twitter that a senior KC is following the public enquiry with a view to compiling prosecutorial evidence.

In addition it's now been made public the two senior POL lawyers were recommended to be reported to the SRA (solicitors standards agency) with a view to disciplinary action. The SRA have said they are waiting for the public enquiry to finish first.

Good 👍     It seems outrageous that "the system" has so far only put some innocent sub-postmasters in jail, while ignoring the possibility that corporate  negligence/fraud might be the  basis. The vast volume of phone calls from sub-postmasters to their PO managers about the daily account reconciliation problems seems to have been ignored or discredited somehow.

 

The concept that 900+   sub-postmasters  somehow all got together and shared some secret back-door method of defrauding the PO, without any one of them with a conscience  blowing the whistle  to the police or PO, is beyond belief in the first place.  Yet the legal system somehow believed the PO  "evidence" -  which seems likely to  have involved perjury by senior PO staff in court at some point.  Their only "get out" from that would be if Fujitsu provided false documentation to the PO regarding the scope and results of their system testing of the IT application.   In a court setting  doesn't that amount to perverting the course of justice. ?

 

   A couple of recent articles relating to barristers who prosecuted sub-postmasters -

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-67433026

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-67358541

 

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periodictabledancer
3 hours ago, Lone Striker said:

Good 👍     It seems outrageous that "the system" has so far only put some innocent sub-postmasters in jail, while ignoring the possibility that corporate  negligence/fraud might be the  basis. The vast volume of phone calls from sub-postmasters to their PO managers about the daily account reconciliation problems seems to have been ignored or discredited somehow.

 

The concept that 900+   sub-postmasters  somehow all got together and shared some secret back-door method of defrauding the PO, without any one of them with a conscience  blowing the whistle  to the police or PO, is beyond belief in the first place.  Yet the legal system somehow believed the PO  "evidence" -  which seems likely to  have involved perjury by senior PO staff in court at some point.  Their only "get out" from that would be if Fujitsu provided false documentation to the PO regarding the scope and results of their system testing of the IT application.   In a court setting  doesn't that amount to perverting the course of justice. ?

 

   A couple of recent articles relating to barristers who prosecuted sub-postmasters -

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-67433026

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-67358541

 

There's two maybe three scandals at play here : the IT system which was riddled with faults (including the backdoor access for Fujitsu) , the disgraceful conduct of POL and it's imvestigators/auditors and IMO, the worst of all, was the behaviour of numerous parties in the English legal system who could've stepped in at any time and brought the whole episode to a halt. 

The TV series is concentrating only on the IT system.

 

What likely won't come out in the TV show is that POL was able to hide behind a legal ruling that anything arising from a computer system was deemed to be 100% correct unless it could be shown it was not.  POL used that - and the contractual obligation on postmasters to have to repay any shortfall - to obliterate anyone who refused to comply. 

 

What Fujitsu did was disgraceful (and I know from personal experience what their people & their "culture" was like) - in particular Gareth Jenkins , who will be giving eveidence to the enquiry fairly soon and who has been refused to right to speak on the grounds of self - incrimination. 

POL relied on him in numerous court cases - he was their expert witness - but it turns out his evidence was woefully wrong/inadequate and POL had NEVER properly briefed him on his responsibilities to the court. Their lawyers didn't have a clue what they were supposed to be doing (their head lawyer was running a conveyancing business when he was supposed to be working full time for POL). In terms of getting the evidence - this is proving to be nigh on impossible as POL  has consistently failed to disclose relevant material to the enquiry : it turns out they appointed consultants to do this who have been in open conflict with another party about the terms of search criteria to be applied when searching for material. POL have known about the conflict (resulting in numerous failings) but did nothing about it and  never told the enquiry. 

 

It seems pretty clear to me Vennells - when she eventually appears - will be the the "golden child" for any future prosecutions as it's cystal clear she tried to knowingly mislead the parliamentary committe on the  matter of backdoor system access by asking others how she could effectively lie to them. 

 

And one other thing that came out in the public enquiry recently is that a procurator fiscal thew a case out in Scotland because  the "evidence" from POL did not meet the required standards ( the same evidence which had been so successful in England). I'm not sure the enquiry actually understood the significance of the evidence they had until it was publicly disclosed. Quite a moment. 

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Footballfirst
21 minutes ago, periodictabledancer said:

There's two maybe three scandals at play here : the IT system which was riddled with faults (including the backdoor access for Fujitsu) , the disgraceful conduct of POL and it's imvestigators/auditors and IMO, the worst of all, was the behaviour of numerous parties in the English legal system who could've stepped in at any time and brought the whole episode to a halt. 

The TV series is concentrating only on the IT system.

 

What likely won't come out in the TV show is that POL was able to hide behind a legal ruling that anything arising from a computer system was deemed to be 100% correct unless it could be shown it was not.  POL used that - and the contractual obligation on postmasters to have to repay any shortfall - to obliterate anyone who refused to comply. 

 

What Fujitsu did was disgraceful (and I know from personal experience what their people & their "culture" was like) - in particular Gareth Jenkins , who will be giving eveidence to the enquiry fairly soon and who has been refused to right to speak on the grounds of self - incrimination. 

POL relied on him in numerous court cases - he was their expert witness - but it turns out his evidence was woefully wrong/inadequate and POL had NEVER properly briefed him on his responsibilities to the court. Their lawyers didn't have a clue what they were supposed to be doing (their head lawyer was running a conveyancing business when he was supposed to be working full time for POL). In terms of getting the evidence - this is proving to be nigh on impossible as POL  has consistently failed to disclose relevant material to the enquiry : it turns out they appointed consultants to do this who have been in open conflict with another party about the terms of search criteria to be applied when searching for material. POL have known about the conflict (resulting in numerous failings) but did nothing about it and  never told the enquiry. 

 

It seems pretty clear to me Vennells - when she eventually appears - will be the the "golden child" for any future prosecutions as it's cystal clear she tried to knowingly mislead the parliamentary committe on the  matter of backdoor system access by asking others how she could effectively lie to them. 

 

And one other thing that came out in the public enquiry recently is that a procurator fiscal thew a case out in Scotland because  the "evidence" from POL did not meet the required standards ( the same evidence which had been so successful in England). I'm not sure the enquiry actually understood the significance of the evidence they had until it was publicly disclosed. Quite a moment. 

I've now watched all four episodes of the ITV dramatisation and, if anything, it has made me angrier than I was beforehand, despite having read all the court judgements (Bates & others v POL and Hamilton & others v POL) and having watched some of the testimony to the current Inquiry.  The series brought home the personal impacts of the scandal which affected all the victims of the conspiracy between POL, Fujitsu and the Government (as "owner" of POL and guardian of the justice system).

 

I think the scandal has a few years to run if we are to see justice for all those affected. The timing and weight of justice to be brought to bear on those ultimately responsible may depend on the willingness of the next government to do the right thing.

 

Labour has made noises about further actions following the Covid inquiry. I'd like to see them make the same commitment following the Horizon inquiry.

Edited by Footballfirst
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Lone Striker
18 minutes ago, periodictabledancer said:

There's two maybe three scandals at play here : the IT system which was riddled with faults (including the backdoor access for Fujitsu) , the disgraceful conduct of POL and it's imvestigators/auditors and IMO, the worst of all, was the behaviour of numerous parties in the English legal system who could've stepped in at any time and brought the whole episode to a halt. 

The TV series is concentrating only on the IT system.

 

What likely won't come out in the TV show is that POL was able to hide behind a legal ruling that anything arising from a computer system was deemed to be 100% correct unless it could be shown it was not.  POL used that - and the contractual obligation on postmasters to have to repay any shortfall - to obliterate anyone who refused to comply. 

 

What Fujitsu did was disgraceful (and I know from personal experience what their people & their "culture" was like) - in particular Gareth Jenkins , who will be giving eveidence to the enquiry fairly soon and who has been refused to right to speak on the grounds of self - incrimination. 

POL relied on him in numerous court cases - he was their expert witness - but it turns out his evidence was woefully wrong/inadequate and POL had NEVER properly briefed him on his responsibilities to the court. Their lawyers didn't have a clue what they were supposed to be doing (their head lawyer was running a conveyancing business when he was supposed to be working full time for POL). In terms of getting the evidence - this is proving to be nigh on impossible as POL  has consistently failed to disclose relevant material to the enquiry : it turns out they appointed consultants to do this who have been in open conflict with another party about the terms of search criteria to be applied when searching for material. POL have known about the conflict (resulting in numerous failings) but did nothing about it and  never told the enquiry. 

 

It seems pretty clear to me Vennells - when she eventually appears - will be the the "golden child" for any future prosecutions as it's cystal clear she tried to knowingly mislead the parliamentary committe on the  matter of backdoor system access by asking others how she could effectively lie to them. 

 

And one other thing that came out in the public enquiry recently is that a procurator fiscal thew a case out in Scotland because  the "evidence" from POL did not meet the required standards ( the same evidence which had been so successful in England). I'm not sure the enquiry actually understood the significance of the evidence they had until it was publicly disclosed. Quite a moment. 

Thanks for that detailed info, some of which  I wasn't aware of.   Your last paragraph is particularly interesting.   Kudos to our  PF for demanding a higher level of evidence than the English equivalent.  

 

From afar, the whole scandal seems to revolve around a belief  that modern-day tech/computerisation/outsourcing/management standards etc  will  have  reached such a  maturity level that the probability of mistakes/errors are now so miniscule that the first suspicion must be that something/someone  else is to blame for the financial irregularities.   Fujitsu would certainly peddle this line of thinking, and  the PO management  probably  jumped at the idea of   "case solved" without digging any further.  

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Footballfirst
2 hours ago, Lone Striker said:

Thanks for that detailed info, some of which  I wasn't aware of.   Your last paragraph is particularly interesting.   Kudos to our  PF for demanding a higher level of evidence than the English equivalent.  

From "The National" at the beginning of December.

 

In Scotland, different rules hold. Here, the Crown Office and Procurator ­Fiscal Service have a monopoly over ­criminal prosecutions. Here, there’s no legal ­presumption computer evidence is valid. Here, corroboration is needed to convict.

 

Did having independent prosecutors make any difference to Scots postmasters who fell under suspicion? Did distinctive Scottish rules of evidence act as any ­safeguard against miscarriages of justice?

 

Last week turned up the first scrap of evidence suggesting it might have done so. They were blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ­moments. First, counsel to the inquiry took a Post Office witness through a case outcome report they received from Scotland in December 2012. The allegation was “identified criminal loss” at a branch of the Post Office in the Gorbals. The supposedly “missing” funds amounted to £34,179. 

 

The disposal noted that the procurator fiscal “has decided not to proceed” explaining that “Angus Crawford PF cited issues with Horizon for not proceeding with this case.” This is the first evidence we’ve seen that Scottish prosecution authorities were alive to the reliability issues with Horizon as early as 2012.

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Lone Striker
19 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

From "The National" at the beginning of December.

 

In Scotland, different rules hold. Here, the Crown Office and Procurator ­Fiscal Service have a monopoly over ­criminal prosecutions. Here, there’s no legal ­presumption computer evidence is valid. Here, corroboration is needed to convict.

 

Did having independent prosecutors make any difference to Scots postmasters who fell under suspicion? Did distinctive Scottish rules of evidence act as any ­safeguard against miscarriages of justice?

 

Last week turned up the first scrap of evidence suggesting it might have done so. They were blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ­moments. First, counsel to the inquiry took a Post Office witness through a case outcome report they received from Scotland in December 2012. The allegation was “identified criminal loss” at a branch of the Post Office in the Gorbals. The supposedly “missing” funds amounted to £34,179. 

 

The disposal noted that the procurator fiscal “has decided not to proceed” explaining that “Angus Crawford PF cited issues with Horizon for not proceeding with this case.” This is the first evidence we’ve seen that Scottish prosecution authorities were alive to the reliability issues with Horizon as early as 2012.

Good find there. FF - thanks.   In regard to that important last paragraph,  the common-sense approach by Scotland's  PF really shows up the trigger-happy approach by the  English prosecuting lawyers to either ignore or play down the possibility that the reliability of a brand new IT system might be a factor in these cases.

 

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Footballfirst
19 minutes ago, Lone Striker said:

Good find there. FF - thanks.   In regard to that important last paragraph,  the common-sense approach by Scotland's  PF really shows up the trigger-happy approach by the  English prosecuting lawyers to either ignore or play down the possibility that the reliability of a brand new IT system might be a factor in these cases.

 

The final decision on proceeding with prosecutions lay with the POL. Thereafter they employed external counsel to act on their behalf in court.

 

While the external counsel was able to offer their opinion on the likely success of the case, they were frequently denied disclosure of information by POL and Fujitsu in the same way as the defendants' rights were routinely ignored.

 

One of the counsels employed by POL, Warwick Tatford, apologised to the Inquiry. 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-67433026

 

A barrister who acted for the Post Office in the criminal trial of two wrongly convicted sub-postmasters over the Horizon IT scandal has apologised for his role in their convictions.

 

"I feel ashamed that I was part of this" said barrister, Warwick Tatford.

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Lone Striker
21 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

The final decision on proceeding with prosecutions lay with the POL. Thereafter they employed external counsel to act on their behalf in court.

 

While the external counsel was able to offer their opinion on the likely success of the case, they were frequently denied disclosure of information by POL and Fujitsu in the same way as the defendants' rights were routinely ignored.

 

One of the counsels employed by POL, Warwick Tatford, apologised to the Inquiry. 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-67433026

 

A barrister who acted for the Post Office in the criminal trial of two wrongly convicted sub-postmasters over the Horizon IT scandal has apologised for his role in their convictions.

 

"I feel ashamed that I was part of this" said barrister, Warwick Tatford.

 

Ahh, I'd forgotten about the role of Government in ring-fencing their agencies (such as POL) as gate-keepers of such decisions.   

Where do you see this going now ?  Is it largely dependant on outcomes from the public Inquiry ?

 

Morally, many senior people at the PO and Fujitsu  ought to be spending lengthy sentences at His Majesty's pleasure.

 

 

 

 

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Footballfirst
1 minute ago, Lone Striker said:

 

Ahh, I'd forgotten about the role of Government in ring-fencing their agencies (such as POL) as gate-keepers of such decisions.   

Where do you see this going now ?  Is it largely dependant on outcomes from the public Inquiry ?

 

Morally, many senior people at the PO and Fujitsu  ought to be spending lengthy sentences at His Majesty's pleasure.

As I said earlier, I think that it will depend on the next government as to what happens after the inquiry. There are certainly a number of people who should be put on trial for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, at a minimum.

 

The compensation issue hasn't gone away. There have been a number of issues that have cropped up with the various schemes. Some have seen large tax liabilities incurred, others are still part of bankruptcy proceedings, meaning that their assets (compensation payments) can be used to pay off their creditors.  I know that steps are in hand to resolve the two examples I've given, but there are still a good number of former postmasters who have still to register for compensation, despite the deadline for applications having been extended.

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periodictabledancer
1 hour ago, Footballfirst said:

From "The National" at the beginning of December.

 

In Scotland, different rules hold. Here, the Crown Office and Procurator ­Fiscal Service have a monopoly over ­criminal prosecutions. Here, there’s no legal ­presumption computer evidence is valid. Here, corroboration is needed to convict.

 

Did having independent prosecutors make any difference to Scots postmasters who fell under suspicion? Did distinctive Scottish rules of evidence act as any ­safeguard against miscarriages of justice?

 

Last week turned up the first scrap of evidence suggesting it might have done so. They were blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ­moments. First, counsel to the inquiry took a Post Office witness through a case outcome report they received from Scotland in December 2012. The allegation was “identified criminal loss” at a branch of the Post Office in the Gorbals. The supposedly “missing” funds amounted to £34,179. 

 

The disposal noted that the procurator fiscal “has decided not to proceed” explaining that “Angus Crawford PF cited issues with Horizon for not proceeding with this case.” This is the first evidence we’ve seen that Scottish prosecution authorities were alive to the reliability issues with Horizon as early as 2012.

POL tried to disguise/hide that outcome (IMO) : if you recall the relatively recent revelation at the enquiry when the lead counsel had to tease out who "PF" was. POL minutes made it  look like a decision had been made by a person called "PF" but the counsel presumably knew exatctly WHAT "PF" was and the POL witness had to admit it. 

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WorldChampions1902
On 01/01/2024 at 18:57, Malinga the Swinga said:

Very suspicious. Made by ITV, calling it a scandal, yet somehow, Adam Crozier, the head of the Royal Mail Group at the time several of the subpostmasters were charged, is not mentioned. 

It must be a coincidence that Crozier later left the Post Office and went onto work as CEO for ITV.

There is all sorts of serious underhand s**t ongoing around this utterly tragic debacle. All of which needs to be called out.

 

I visited Edinburgh a few weeks ago to attend a football reunion with lads I played with in the 70’s and 80’s, two of whom had made the trip from Oz. One of my former team mates family owned a substantial Sub-Post Office in an area I won’t mention. It had been owned by his grandparents, parents and ultimately himself (but now sold). That night, he asked me what I knew about the PO IT system which I refused to be drawn on. The conversation then developed and he told me that even though he had now closed the business, the PO had been in touch to offer him a “settlement”. No doubt he also had to sign a NDA. That’s all he would say, other than he had had a “few issues” with the IT system. That tells me that the PO are being proactive in shutting down any future litigation, on the basis of what is now unfolding.

 

What is getting into the public domain is to be welcomed, but we are not getting and will never get the full story.

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periodictabledancer
5 hours ago, Lone Striker said:

 

Ahh, I'd forgotten about the role of Government in ring-fencing their agencies (such as POL) as gate-keepers of such decisions.   

Where do you see this going now ?  Is it largely dependant on outcomes from the public Inquiry ?

 

Morally, many senior people at the PO and Fujitsu  ought to be spending lengthy sentences at His Majesty's pleasure.

 

 

 

 

The big hitters like Vennells and Gareth Jenkins (Fujitsu) have yet to testify. There's probably another 18 months still to run at the  public enquiry so any criminal investigations (if there ever are any) are still a long way off. The enquiry has got to the truth because witnesses were compelled under oath when testifying, but it's far from the whole truth.

I think it'll start with Singh and the other senior lawyer who will face an SRA misconduct panel (Singh has retired anyway , so no loss to him if he's struck off- which he should be).

 

Hopefully Vennells and some other senior directors will also be next  - they derserve to be.

 

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Mikey1874

Ed Davey Lib Dem leader painting himself as a victim today.

 

But he was in charge of this in Government at the time. Introduced Horizon. Could actually have done something but didn't. 

 

I gather he's been one of the main targets by Private Eye. 

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Footballfirst

When the inquiry resumes next Thursday (11th), there is another PO investigator up first. On 12th there is a another discussion on POL's disclosure obligations.  The following week 16th-19th sees six Fujitsu employees due to give evidence, although not Gareth Jenkins as yet. 

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periodictabledancer
4 hours ago, Mikey1874 said:

Ed Davey Lib Dem leader painting himself as a victim today.

 

But he was in charge of this in Government at the time. Introduced Horizon. Could actually have done something but didn't. 

 

I gather he's been one of the main targets by Private Eye. 

Not only did he do the square root of feck all when in charge (and then have the brass neck to blame civil servants for not telling him) he took the thirty pieces of silver from the very legal firm that screwed over the post masters.

And when he was found out he justified it by saying he didn't take any money in relation to the Horizon scandal.

Another one who should be in jail for negligence. 

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periodictabledancer
3 hours ago, Footballfirst said:

When the inquiry resumes next Thursday (11th), there is another PO investigator up first. On 12th there is a another discussion on POL's disclosure obligations.  The following week 16th-19th sees six Fujitsu employees due to give evidence, although not Gareth Jenkins as yet. 

Got any names/roles ? 

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Footballfirst
1 minute ago, periodictabledancer said:

Got any names/roles ? 

Thursday 11 January

Stephen Bradshaw (Post Office investigator)

Friday 12 January

Post Office Limited disclosure hearing

 

Tuesday 16 January

Rajbinder Sangha (née Bains) (Release Management Coordinator, Fujitsu Services Limited; former member of Fujitsu’s Fraud and Litigation Support Office)

Wednesday 17 January

John Simpkins (Team Leader within Fujitsu Software Support Centre)

Gerald Barnes (Software Developer, Fujitsu)

Thursday 18 January

Peter Sewell (former Project Manager and Operations Team Manager, Post Office Account Security Team, Fujitsu)

Donna Munro (former Systems Management Centre Team Leader and Security Operations Manager, Fujitsu)

Friday 19 January

William Paul Patterson (Director of Fujitsu Services Limited)
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periodictabledancer
16 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:
Thursday 11 January

Stephen Bradshaw (Post Office investigator)

Friday 12 January

Post Office Limited disclosure hearing

 

Tuesday 16 January

Rajbinder Sangha (née Bains) (Release Management Coordinator, Fujitsu Services Limited; former member of Fujitsu’s Fraud and Litigation Support Office)

Wednesday 17 January

John Simpkins (Team Leader within Fujitsu Software Support Centre)

Gerald Barnes (Software Developer, Fujitsu)

Thursday 18 January

Peter Sewell (former Project Manager and Operations Team Manager, Post Office Account Security Team, Fujitsu)

Donna Munro (former Systems Management Centre Team Leader and Security Operations Manager, Fujitsu)

Friday 19 January

William Paul Patterson (Director of Fujitsu Services Limited)

:thumb:

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periodictabledancer
4 hours ago, Mikey1874 said:

Ed Davey Lib Dem leader painting himself as a victim today.

 

But he was in charge of this in Government at the time. Introduced Horizon. Could actually have done something but didn't. 

 

I gather he's been one of the main targets by Private Eye. 

Ed Davey refused to even meet Alan Bates ...

 

Image

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Auld Reekin'
On 18/09/2023 at 21:44, Malinga the Swinga said:

It would be nice to think first part would happen but the contract will be watertight in their favour. Testing should have taken care of this but it has obviously failed.

As for head folk taking blame, not a cat in hell's chance. It will be a corporate team decision made under best endeavours with no responsibility attached to any individual.

 

 

As it so often does, when the time allocated to it in IT projects is cut-back alarmingly, due to delays and problems with earlier stages of the project. Add to this the common situation where this work is sub-contracted offshore - to "save" money, of course, in spite of the many risks associated with doing this - often making verification that it has been carried out properly and in accordance with the testing plan and documentation much more difficult than it would be had it been carried out "in house".

 

Testing should be an absolutely key part of any project and should be given equal priority and importance as analysis, coding, and implementation, but all too often is treated as the poor relation. 

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Lone Striker
15 hours ago, periodictabledancer said:

https://www.postofficetrial.com/2021/04/vennells-career-ends-in-ignomy.html

 

worth a bookmark and a few reads over lunches.

Wow.  Didn't realise that Vennells was a  Rev. too.     Her CV suggests she's made a career out of being a professional "boardroom surfer".  These types know how to  talk a good game, but leave the awkward stuff for others to sort out.   Then move on  when the going gets tough, safe in the knowledge that some other big company will hire you because of your "boardroom experience".  Being on several boards at the same time give these people plenty cover too - one day a week here, 2 days a month there, etc. Always busy. Diary full. Allegedly.

 

One of the articles linked with this one mentions the business equivalent of the FOH mantra (fan owned, not fan run)  as an excuse for why Government depts were abdicating any responsibility for the PO decision-making around Horizon.  

 

 

Edited by Lone Striker
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periodictabledancer
7 minutes ago, Lone Striker said:

Wow.  Didn't realise that Vennells was a  Rev. too.     Her CV suggests she's made a career out of being a professional "boardroom surfer".  These types know how to  talk a good game, but leave the awkward stuff for others to sort out.   Then move on  when the going gets tough, safe in the knowledge that some other big company will hire you because of your "boardroom experience".  Being on several boards at the same time give these people plenty cover too - one day a week here, 2 days a month there, etc. Always busy. Diary full. Allegedly.

 

One of the articles linked with this one mentions the business equivalent of the FOH mantra (fan owned, not fan run)  as an excuse for why Government depts were abdicating any responsibility for the PO decision-making around Horizon.  

 

 

On the upside- she was emptied from every job/directorship she held after leaving the Post Office.

She's a total pariah now. 

 

Re your last para - since the ITV programme was aired numerous figures incuding several MPs have been outed (and their letters of refusal put on social media) as having been approached but washing their hands of the problem.

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periodictabledancer

https://www.postofficetrial.com/2021/04/page-and-marshall-in-clear.html

How the Post Office disgracefully tried to end the careers of two lawyers who had done them so much damage in getting reviews of the malicious prosecutions brought by the PO.

 

A couple of things to note :

 

Flora Page (one of the two in question) can now be seen daily at the public enquiry tearing apart various PO staff for their disgraceful conduct.

 

Altman - who brought this particular  case forward on behalf of PO (and who has attempted a cynical &  hypocritical  "gamekeeper, now poacher" approach in the face of mounting public anger ) - will shortly face Page and Henry at the enquiry. He is going to get torn to shreds. 

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Tommy Brown
1 hour ago, Lone Striker said:

Wow.  Didn't realise that Vennells was a  Rev. too. 

Episode 3 last night had her delivering a sermon in the pulpit.

Turned to Mrs B, saying that it was like badly written drama that would never happen in real life.

 

Really want see a good few in the Dock for this.

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Lone Striker
12 minutes ago, Tommy Brown said:

Episode 3 last night had her delivering a sermon in the pulpit.

Turned to Mrs B, saying that it was like badly written drama that would never happen in real life.

 

Really want see a good few in the Dock for this.

👍 Absolutely.      Documentary on the scandal is tonight on STV at   11.10 pm

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