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Horizon IT - Post Office - Public Enquiry


periodictabledancer

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Percival King

What should amaze me, but depressingly doesn't, is that it has taken a television drama to get the people who need to sit up, to actually sit up and, hopefully, do something. This shocking scandal has been in the public domain for over two years but only now does it seem to be getting the attention it should have had years ago. Yet another failure. Surely it can't take a television programme to stir our politicians and police????????,

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joondalupjambo

So if the Government were the "shareholders" in this debacle does that mean that some politicians were involved in deciding what was to happen, and that criminal prosecutions were to be pursued?  

 

Taking a big interest now might not just be about helping the poor victims.  Tracks might need to be covered and key people hidden.

  

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The Mighty Thor

I may have missed this in the thread but I'm not seeing much condemnation of Fujitsu or indeed any talk of absolutely rinsing them for supplying and then covering up a shit system?

 

This is the same Fujitsu that took the UK gov for £700 million over the aborted NHS IT system

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Footballfirst
40 minutes ago, joondalupjambo said:

So if the Government were the "shareholders" in this debacle does that mean that some politicians were involved in deciding what was to happen, and that criminal prosecutions were to be pursued?  

 

Taking a big interest now might not just be about helping the poor victims.  Tracks might need to be covered and key people hidden.

  

The government's position is that POL was operated at arms length and independent of government influence.  That is not quite true, as the government (UK Government Investments) as the only shareholder has had a Non Exec Director on the POL Board since POL split from the Royal Mail Group in 2012. The first was Susannah Storey (April 2012 to March 2014), second Richard Callard (March 2014 to March 2018), third Tom Cooper (March 2018 to May 2023). All three may well be in the frame for criticism with regard to how the Horizon scandal evolved to where we are today.

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periodictabledancer
13 minutes ago, The Mighty Thor said:

I may have missed this in the thread but I'm not seeing much condemnation of Fujitsu or indeed any talk of absolutely rinsing them for supplying and then covering up a shit system?

 

This is the same Fujitsu that took the UK gov for £700 million over the aborted NHS IT system

The accepted view seems to be that once the public enquiry has concluded there should be more evidence to aid prosecutions - 

Hopefully that will be aimed at three groups  : Post Office board and decision makers, the Fujitsu staff who lied and covered up and then the various lawyers who brought the prosecutions, both PO and external. 

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Footballfirst
23 minutes ago, The Mighty Thor said:

I may have missed this in the thread but I'm not seeing much condemnation of Fujitsu or indeed any talk of absolutely rinsing them for supplying and then covering up a shit system?

 

This is the same Fujitsu that took the UK gov for £700 million over the aborted NHS IT system

Fujitsu has sought to distance itself from POL with regard to prosecutions.  See the letter from Fujitsu to parliament's BEIS committee in 2020.

 

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/1620/documents/15461/default/

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joondalupjambo
44 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

The government's position is that POL was operated at arms length and independent of government influence.  That is not quite true, as the government (UK Government Investments) as the only shareholder has had a Non Exec Director on the POL Board since POL split from the Royal Mail Group in 2012. The first was Susannah Storey (April 2012 to March 2014), second Richard Callard (March 2014 to March 2018), third Tom Cooper (March 2018 to May 2023). All three may well be in the frame for criticism with regard to how the Horizon scandal evolved to where we are today.

Cheers FF.  

It is just that never seen a Government move so fast, albeit I can understand with the TV programme raising such a stir.  Politicians are always going to cover themselves first even though the chat is all about the poor innocents.  Sorry just my old, cynical age kicking in.

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Footballfirst
4 minutes ago, joondalupjambo said:

Cheers FF.  

It is just that never seen a Government move so fast, albeit I can understand with the TV programme raising such a stir.  Politicians are always going to cover themselves first even though the chat is all about the poor innocents.  Sorry just my old, cynical age kicking in.

There has been a good bit of wheeling and dealing going on in the background as both the government and POL sought to keep a lid on the issue, lest it be seen as a commercial failure and a vote loser if the issues became wider knowledge before the election.

 

The latest POL accounts of 2022/23 were issued in the middle of December. They revealed that the government has already set aside £233m for the Horizon Shortfall Scheme, £780m for overturned convictions and £116m in respect of Remediation for suspended postmasters.

 

The postmasters campaign has been gaining momentum since the 2019 (Bates) and 2021 (Hamilton) court cases (this thread is evidence of it) along with revelations coming out of the ongoing inquiry.  The dramatisation only accelerated the visibility of the scandal to the public.  That has forced the government's hand to get a grip on the issue.

 

There is a statement scheduled to be given in Parliament at 6:15pm this evening.  I'd expect the government to announce an acceleration of appeals through the courts or for parliament to unilaterally overturn convictions.  I also expect some announcement on extending or speeding up the compensation schemes (due to end in August this year), perhaps with interim payments being made to certain groups.

 

Be wary of politicians claiming that they have already paid out many millions in compensation.  The bulk of that will be refunds of money taken from postmasters to cover shortfalls, i.e. cash that POL had unlawfully taken from the postmasters.

 

Recent documents I've seen suggest the the POL is still seeking to minimise compensation payments, e.g. £5,000 for "distress and inconvenience"

Image

Distress and Inconvenience of losing your job, your home, your savings, your self esteem, your isolation, your marriage etc.  I'm sure that Paula Vennels wouldn't get out of bed for a measly £5k a day, far less for years of hurt endured by postmasters.

 

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Jambo-Jimbo

In true political fashion Ed Davy has thrown everybody under the bus, he knew nothing about it, they all lied to him, everyone of them.

I honesty was waiting on him blaming postman pat and his cat, he'd have been as well to, he blamed everybody else.

 

If everybody lied to him, then the decent thing would be to name names to the Met when they come calling, won't be holding my breath though.

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The Mighty Thor
5 minutes ago, Jambo-Jimbo said:

In true political fashion Ed Davy has thrown everybody under the bus, he knew nothing about it, they all lied to him, everyone of them.

I honesty was waiting on him blaming postman pat and his cat, he'd have been as well to, he blamed everybody else.

 

If everybody lied to him, then the decent thing would be to name names to the Met when they come calling, won't be holding my breath though.

Davey is only one of a number of post office ministers since Horizon started. They're all culpable regardless of the colour of their rosettes. 

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Jambo-Jimbo
7 minutes ago, The Mighty Thor said:

Davey is only one of a number of post office ministers since Horizon started. They're all culpable regardless of the colour of their rosettes. 

 

Absolutely.

 

Labour, Tory/Lib Dem and then Tory governments were all in power during the Horizon debacle, none of them done anything to stop it.

 

And it's still going on, even today there are still problems with Horizon.

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Victorian

I think it would suit a lot of people for the blame to be attributed to a nebulous,  spider's web of multiple ministers and civil servants.  Without any one particular person being named as most culpable.  It would help in terms of the powers that be being allowed to avoid bringing personal action against the real culprits.  The executives at the Post Office.  

 

I think the political appetite will be to finally clear people from their prosecutions,  improve and accelerate compensation and to hope that it will be enough to close the book.  It should not end there.  The campaign must chase the corporate culprits until justice is served in full.

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The Mighty Thor
7 minutes ago, Jambo-Jimbo said:

 

Absolutely.

 

Labour, Tory/Lib Dem and then Tory governments were all in power during the Horizon debacle, none of them done anything to stop it.

 

And it's still going on, even today there are still problems with Horizon.

I heard that on LBC this morning.

A guy with post offices who is still getting discrepancies in 2024

 

Mind you, Rashid is on it now, must be a few votes to chase

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Jambo-Jimbo
Just now, The Mighty Thor said:

I heard that on LBC this morning.

A guy with post offices who is still getting discrepancies in 2024

 

Mind you, Rashid is on it now, must be a few votes to chase

 

My local postmistress said that she has had discrepancies, and calling the help line, total waste of time.

And she's not the only one, she said.

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Benny Klack

I’m actually embarrassed for Sunak - only speaking publicly about this now due to it getting headlines due to a tv programme. Desperately seeking votes - claiming he’s going to take away Vennells’ CBE - big deal, sure she’ll cope. How about acknowledging the fact the government did FA when hardworking honest folks were losing, homes, savings, their mental health etc.

 

We live in a corrupt country. 

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periodictabledancer
5 minutes ago, Benny Klack said:

I’m actually embarrassed for Sunak - only speaking publicly about this now due to it getting headlines due to a tv programme. Desperately seeking votes - claiming he’s going to take away Vennells’ CBE - big deal, sure she’ll cope. How about acknowledging the fact the government did FA when hardworking honest folks were losing, homes, savings, their mental health etc.

 

We live in a corrupt country. 

We live in a  country where "the law" is more important than justice.

The legal system is more concerned with due process than telling the government the reality  - there is no way these poor people will get their cases heard & overturned in their own lifetime because there is no capacity in the system to do so. 

In addition the compensation is being managed by the very organisation which put the victimes in jail & ruined their lives and who employs lawyers to continue their adversrial approach to the whole process. It's one scandal compounded by even more. 

 

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SectionDJambo

I can’t get my head round the fact that, as far as I know, the Post Office still haven’t returned all of the money they screwed out of those poor people under the guise of repaying money they were wrongfully accused of stealing. What justification do the Post Office have for those funds not being returned the day after their convictions were overturned?

This country has gone to the dogs. Corporate greed and bullying has been allowed to become the norm since the millennium.

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periodictabledancer
11 minutes ago, periodictabledancer said:

We live in a  country where "the law" is more important than justice.

The legal system is more concerned with due process than telling the government the reality  - there is no way these poor people will get their cases heard & overturned in their own lifetime because there is no capacity in the system to do so. 

In addition the compensation is being managed by the very organisation which put the victimes in jail & ruined their lives and who employs lawyers to continue their adversrial approach to the whole process. It's one scandal compounded by even more. 

 

Here's what Frank Field sais in 2000 - 24 years ago, before any of the current known prosecutions had even started :

 

However, I have a tale to tell about the state of the project that I inherited. I did not merely talk to colleagues and read the papers; I visited the project partners. Had it been my responsibility to do so, I would have sacked the members of the Post Office board, who were appalling people. They were short-sighted and partisan. They were genuinely unwilling to enter into a discussion that I was trying to have on how to secure the long-term future of sub-post offices. They thought themselves smart; they thought themselves clever. They doubtless accepted their fine salaries, but I doubt whether they served post offices or sub-post offices well, and I am disappointed that many of them are still in post today. Perhaps someone else will deal with them.

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Der Kaiser

Just finally got round to watching this. Really enjoyed it.

 

I've found myself at 2 points in my life being accused of fraud.

 

1 was Jobseekers to the value of £450.

2 was Child Benefit for just under £4000

 

The Jobseekers I knew I was right and they were wrong. And I shouted and shouted for weeks before finally someone different looked closely at the details i provided and saw they had made a mistake.

 

2nd the Government just kept sending me letters asking for money or a payment plan. I kept asking for a breakdown and they never provided it. Just threatening letters. I said I would agree a plan if they would just show me the numbers. Nearly 2 years later they said they decided the matter was closed with no explanation. 

 

Sorry, not an attempt to derail but the feeling of knowing you've done nothing wrong but having a much more powerful organisation looming over you and calling you a liar and a thief is utterly sickening.

 

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WorldChampions1902

Tory MP Brendan Clark just being interviewed on C4 news, reiterating that there has to be “consequences” for Fujitsu, if allegations of perjury and cover-up are proven.

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Victorian

It's a notably unified,  collegiate,  cooperative mood across the parties.  The minister seems like a very sensible,  purposeful man.  It sounds like there is highly urgent work being done to expore what can be done to work in and around the legal system to immediately exonerate the innocent.  

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periodictabledancer
5 minutes ago, Victorian said:

It's a notably unified,  collegiate,  cooperative mood across the parties.  The minister seems like a very sensible,  purposeful man.  It sounds like there is highly urgent work being done to expore what can be done to work in and around the legal system to immediately exonerate the innocent.  

No party can fingerpoint over this (unusually , and thankfully) : they're all guilty so they damn well should sit down and bring this to a dignified end. 

The only way to get the convictions overturned timeously is to either throw massive resources (and not just money) into the legal system or create an act of parliament to exonerate all the victims. 

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Victorian
1 minute ago, periodictabledancer said:

No party can fingerpoint over this (unusually , and thankfully) : they're all guilty so they damn well should sit down and bring this to a dignified end. 

The only way to get the convictions overturned timeously is to either throw massive resources (and not just money) into the legal system or create an act of parliament to exonerate all the victims. 

 

The minister did say that work is being done in the legal field to identify all viable options.  It sounds like they are working to determine if there are any barriers in the way of legislation on that score.

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The Mighty Thor

Here's where I'm at. 

Overturn all convictions of postmasters

Prosecution of POL staff implicated with jail time. 

Hunting Fujitsu like a rabid dog for every single penny it costs to repay every penny stolen, interest and damages to every one of the postmasters implicated. 

 

 

 

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Victorian

Barry Gardiner pointed out that the maximum sentence for malfeasance can be life imprisonment.  The minister didn't disagree.  I'll believe it when I see it but,  right now,  the minister is saying that individuals may well face prosecutions.

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Footballfirst

It's good to see parliament united in their desire to reach a satisfactory solution and accountability for all.

 

It is however notable that, while the MPs are keen to hold POL and Fujitsu accountable, no-one has yet asked who knew what and when within government between 1999 and today.

 

Edit: Just heard one Tory MP touch on the topic.

 

Edited by Footballfirst
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The Mighty Thor
21 minutes ago, Victorian said:

Barry Gardiner pointed out that the maximum sentence for malfeasance can be life imprisonment.  The minister didn't disagree.  I'll believe it when I see it but,  right now,  the minister is saying that individuals may well face prosecutions.

Furthermore I'd be digging into which Post Office minister knew what and when and if these individuals knew of or ignored wrongdoing then I'd prosecute them too.

 

As a side line Ed Davey is toast. 

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The Mighty Thor
5 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

It's good to see parliament united in their desire to reach a satisfactory solution and accountability for all.

 

It is however notable that, while the MPs are keen to hold POL and Fujitsu accountable, no-one has yet asked who knew what and when within government between 1999 and today.

It shouldn't be too hard.

 

Start with who proposed Paula Vennells for a CBE and follow the trail of crumbs from there. 

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Victorian

If the Post Office participated in criminal activities,  it would be reasonable to assume that they would not have gone out of their way to keep the government minister abreast of each corporate decision and action.  I think it's reasonable to give each minister the benefit of doubt,  for now.   That's not to say that they didn't know that something worrying was likely to be taking place.

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Footballfirst

I wonder what effect this evening's proceedings in parliament will have on future hearings in the Horizon inquiry, specifically in respect of highlighting the likelihood of future criminal prosecutions.  Six Fujitsu employees (current and former) are due to give evidence next week.  Will they refuse to answer questions through the fear of self incrimination 

 

Edited by Footballfirst
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Footballfirst
20 minutes ago, Victorian said:

If the Post Office participated in criminal activities,  it would be reasonable to assume that they would not have gone out of their way to keep the government minister abreast of each corporate decision and action.  I think it's reasonable to give each minister the benefit of doubt,  for now.   That's not to say that they didn't know that something worrying was likely to be taking place.

The Tory press rounded on Ed Davey over the weekend, but he was the minister responsible for only two years during the period (2010-12). Others held the same role. The government also had a representative on the POL Board, so should have been party to the strategic decisions.

Edited by Footballfirst
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The Mighty Thor
34 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

It's good to see parliament united in their desire to reach a satisfactory solution and accountability for all.

 

It is however notable that, while the MPs are keen to hold POL and Fujitsu accountable, no-one has yet asked who knew what and when within government between 1999 and today.

 

Edit: Just heard one Tory MP touch on the topic.

 

Patel raised it.

 

Screenshot_20240108_210503_BBCNews.thumb.jpg.17815071ee4e7b9d51490b8b07b4b58f.jpg

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Victorian
3 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

The Tory press rounded on Ed Davey over the weekend, but he was the minister responsible for only two years during the period (2010-12). Others held the same role. The government also had a representative on the POL Board, so should have been party to some of the decision making.

 

Hopefully will all become known out of the inquiry.  But I tend to think the type of decisions / policies to participate in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and all of the resultant consequences would have been 'off piste'.  Or indeed any decisions to turn a blind eye to the activities of other,  less senior executives and managers,  investigators,  et al.  

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Day@theraces
8 hours ago, Percival King said:

What should amaze me, but depressingly doesn't, is that it has taken a television drama to get the people who need to sit up, to actually sit up and, hopefully, do something. This shocking scandal has been in the public domain for over two years but only now does it seem to be getting the attention it should have had years ago. Yet another failure. Surely it can't take a television programme to stir our politicians and police????????,

 

So true, but it got a lot of people who wouldn't have known about it or cared about it to take notice because it's on the telly. Probably why something seems to be getting down about the scandal.

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ri Alban

Keir Starmer about to blamed for this, by the right and their media.

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manaliveits105

But that is the kind of shit that starts if you have a Labour Government in power though ::troll::

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ri Alban

They need to be careful, that the innocent on the other side of this(PO) don't become the victims.

 

You know what we're like with things. Get rid of Saddam, and in comes ISIS. 

Edited by ri Alban
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Joey J J Jr Shabadoo
5 hours ago, ri Alban said:

Keir Starmer about to blamed for this, by the right and their media.

I think he's more preoccupied with Mandelson still pulling the strings at Labour, despite the Epstein links. Didn't take him long to disown Corbyn.

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periodictabledancer
5 hours ago, ri Alban said:

Keir Starmer about to blamed for this, by the right and their media.

The amount of crayon eating Muppets on Twitter right now is quite worrying. No concern for SPMs but obsessing over Starmers (non) involvement in the whole thing. What is it with these loony right wingers ? 

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Footballfirst
3 hours ago, manaliveits105 said:

But that is the kind of shit that starts if you have a Labour Government in power though ::troll::

It seems it actually started with the Horizon Pilot Scheme in 1995.  Tory government in power, comrade.  Now the Tories having to clear up a mess of their own making  ::troll::

 

It's incredible how the Tories are framing this as positive government getting a grip of the situation and it sorting out. What's the rush now for a government that was happy to dither and dally over the last few years? It can't be that the genie is out of the bottle following the TV drama and there are votes at stake.

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Mikey1874
14 hours ago, Victorian said:

It's a notably unified,  collegiate,  cooperative mood across the parties.  The minister seems like a very sensible,  purposeful man.  It sounds like there is highly urgent work being done to expore what can be done to work in and around the legal system to immediately exonerate the innocent.  

 

Pretty unified

 

 

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Victorian
10 minutes ago, Mikey1874 said:

 

Pretty unified

 

 

 

Didn't know about that.  It seems Kafkaesque,  which is typical of current day Britain.

 

In law you're innocent until proved guilty.  When you're on trial there is no burden to prove innocence.  When you're convicted you're guilty in the eyes of the law.  But when your conviction is overturned,  you are legally innocent.  But must prove innocence to be compensated.

 

:rofl:

 

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manaliveits105
38 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

It seems it actually started with the Horizon Pilot Scheme in 1995.  Tory government in power, comrade.  Now the Tories having to clear up a mess of their own making  ::troll::

 

It's incredible how the Tories are framing this as positive government getting a grip of the situation and it sorting out. What's the rush now for a government that was happy to dither and dally over the last few years? It can't be that the genie is out of the bottle following the TV drama and there are votes at stake.

Only a pilot - wasn't  launched until 1999 under Labour Governance 

Tories sorting it out now though which is  a good thing 

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Footballfirst
5 minutes ago, manaliveits105 said:

Only a pilot - wasn't  launched until 1999 under Labour Governance 

Tories sorting it out now though which is  a good thing 

Prosecutions started during the the Pilot, comrade.

 

Kevan Jones, the Labour MP who is a member of the Horizon compensation advisory board, said he was told by Post Office managers that the Horizon pilot scheme was rolled out to 300 branches in 1995.

“I have met one of the post office managers who was pursued by the Post Office after taking part in the pilot and then accused of mishandling money. There were protests that the system was faulty and the protests were ignored. They were obviously not a crook and should never have been prosecuted,” said Jones.

Jones said he believed there may be dozens more victims of the pilot scheme and said the Post Office should have disclosed the existence of the pilot years ago. “Amid the controversy and scandal over the Horizon system, no one from the Post Office thought to mention that they had this pilot scheme which also resulted in prosecutions.

“The question we have to ask is how many more have been prosecuted and how many more lives have been ruined. It’s what we have come to expect from the Post Office – they hide the truth and the sub postmasters take the blame.”

Edited by Footballfirst
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periodictabledancer
38 minutes ago, Victorian said:

 

Didn't know about that.  It seems Kafkaesque,  which is typical of current day Britain.

And then 

In law you're innocent until proved guilty.  When you're on trial there is no burden to prove innocence.  When you're convicted you're guilty in the eyes of the law.  But when your conviction is overturned,  you are legally innocent.  But must prove innocence to be compensated.

 

:rofl:

 

And have the cost of your prison stay deducted from any compensation. 

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periodictabledancer
14 hours ago, Victorian said:

 

Hopefully will all become known out of the inquiry.  But I tend to think the type of decisions / policies to participate in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and all of the resultant consequences would have been 'off piste'.  Or indeed any decisions to turn a blind eye to the activities of other,  less senior executives and managers,  investigators,  et al.  

No one is exempt from scrutiny , from board level down to the lowest employee. Directors, heads of department, "investigators", lawyers, heads of legal : they've all been hauled in to explain themselves and as testimony reveals more of the PO structure and people name names , even more will be hauled in.

 

The main problem is that PO staff in the main are refusing to talk/are still very hostile to being asked to explain themselves to the point a lot of senior PO staff have literally become total amnesiacs. 

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