KC names Post Plight of job workers he believes conspired to pervert the direction of justice

Main KC names Post Plight of job workers he believes perverted the direction of justice when crushing subpostmasters in court docket

Karl Flinders


Printed: 01 Mar 2024 10: 00

Post Plight of job workers “suppressed” and “withheld” evidence that would perchance perchance presumably have supported the case of a subpostmaster who they situation out to crush to situation an instance to others.

In his closing assertion of half four of the statutory public inquiry into the Post Plight of job Horizon scandal, Edward Henry KC, representing victims of the scandal on behalf of solicitors Hodge, Jones & Allen Henry, referred to the civil case in opposition to Lee Castleton in 2006.

When Castleton’s branch in Bridlington showed a lack of £26,000 that he would perchance perchance now no longer repeat, the Post Plight of job demanded that Castleton covered the shortfall. He became once so inquisitive about the debt that he refused to pay it again, and determined to head to court docket to contest the Post Plight of job’s insistence that he must restful pay.

The Post Plight of job took Castleton to the Excessive Court docket to glean smartly the phantom losses and spent round £300,000 doing so. Castleton represented himself and the ponder dominated that the debt became once true, now no longer illusory as Castleton argued. Post Plight of job witnesses in his case acknowledged there became once no evidence of any difficulty with the machine and that they had been unable to establish any basis upon which the Horizon machine would perchance perchance need caused Castleton’s losses.

He became once made bankrupt and he and his family suffered coarse hardship and mental health points. Castleton became once among the first seven aged subpostmasters to contact Laptop Weekly about the complications in 2008.

In his half four closing written assertion, Henry acknowledged Castleton “became once destined to turn out to be a victim in Post Plight of job’s ruthless dedication to operate a precedent”.

The components became once to establish his “head on a spike”, in step with one criminal official – a mode to discourage other challenges to the Horizon machine on fable of the Post Plight of job knew that its technique to prosecute subpostmasters to glean smartly unexplained shortfalls would fail if errors had been broadly recognized.

Post Plight of job lawyers and investigators knew that there had been errors and deliberately withheld evidence of them that had been printed in a outdated civil motion in 2001, relating to a branch in Cleveleys, Lancashire.

In 2001, the Post Plight of job became once suing the subpostmaster, Julie Wolstenholme, for the return of tools feeble in the branch after her contract became once terminated, nevertheless she acknowledged her employment became once terminated unlawfully in a counterclaim that raised questions about the reliability of the Horizon computer machine feeble in branches.

The counterclaim, made by the subpostmaster who had suffered essential complications with the Horizon machine, became once for damages connected to unfair dismissal. It stated that it became once an “implied term” in her contract with the Post Plight of job that the computer machine equipped by them would be fit for reason and that “the [Post Office] is in breach of this term in that the computer machine equipped became once unfit for reason and [it] did no longer glean definite that the machine became once working adequately”.

In a answer in court docket documents, the Post Plight of job acknowledged: “It is denied that the acknowledged computer machine became once unfit for its reason and it’s averred that the identical labored adequately.”

Nevertheless a portray collectively commissioned by every events in the mosey-up to the court docket listening to raised major questions about the Horizon machine.

Jason Coyne, then of Most efficient Prepare Team, became once an self reliant IT professional appointed by every events to analyze the machine. He became once finest given glean entry to to logs of helpdesk calls made by Wolstenholme to try to establish if computer errors had been causing her complications.

In his portray, Coyne acknowledged 63 of the calls had been “without doubt” connected to machine failures, either hardware, tool or interfaces, and finest 13 of the calls he checked out “would perchance perchance or must restful” had been regarded as as Wolstenholme requesting support or guidance.

Coyne wrote it became once “in most cases completely glaring” that there had to be a technical difficulty that must be checked out, at the side of: “There consistently appears to be like to be, internal Fujitsu and/or Post Plight of job, a reluctance to ever in actuality preserve the prognosis of the divulge and to search round for at it.”

The Post Plight of job’s lawyers tried to glean him to swap his evidence – when he refused, they dropped the case, paid off the subpostnaster and made her mark a non-disclosure settlement. Read right here for more about how Coyne outsmarted the Post Plight of job to glean to the truth after inspection “insanity”.

At some level of a ingredient four listening to Mandy Talbot, a Post Plight of job criminal official engaged on the case in opposition to Castleton at the time, acknowledged that she didn’t mediate evidence about computer complications in Coyne’s portray became once connected in Castleton’s case about alleged complications with Horizon, and Post Plight of job’s denial of them, claiming she idea the Cleveleys branch became once an “isolated case”.

Henry acknowledged Post Plight of job correct and investigations workers at the time – Keith Baines, Mandy Talbot, Tony Utting, Graham Ward, Rod Ismay and others – collectively conspired to pervert the direction of justice by pursuing a debt bid on behalf of the Post Plight of job in opposition to Castleton.

He added that workers at Fujitsu “conspired collectively, and with others, to pervert the direction of justice by distorting and concealing evidence connected to the bid being introduced by the Post Plight of job in opposition to Castleton”.

Fujitsu’s most modern head of Europe admitted in a fresh inquiry listening to that the IT firm missed an different to hold motion and forestall subpostmasters from being wrongly convicted for financial crimes.

Henry wrote that aged Fujitsu tech professional Anne Chambers dedicated perjury when testifying in the court docket case, by “agreeing now to no longer mention the Identified Error Log, and obscuring the ability for there to had been errors in [Castleton’s branch] accounts”. Chambers is currently under investigation, for ability perjury, by the Metropolitan Police, along with aged Fujitsu tech boss Gareth Jenkins. More details about the known error logs, first printed by Laptop Weekly, can even be came across right here.

Final month, in his closing remarks for half four, Tim Moloney KC, furthermore representing subpostmasters, on behalf of Hudgell’s Solicitors, described the repulsive revelations of the inquiry half, which has exposed the malpractice of Post Plight of job and external lawyers, as smartly as investigators. He acknowledged: “It is finest when the tide goes out that it’s doubtless you’ll perchance well note who has been swimming bare.”

Moloney acknowledged there would possibly perchance be ample evidence for a criminal investigation into the Post Plight of job workers all in favour of prosecutions.

Sam Stein, a KC representing aged subpostmasters for Howe & Co solicitors, acknowledged that half four of the inquiry has printed many old and most modern workers to be “liars and amnesiacs” with a disdain for subpostmasters. He described the witnesses as “a rogues’ gallery”.

Laptop Weekly first exposed the scandal in 2009, revealing the tales of seven subpostmasters and the complications they suffered on fable of the Horizon machine (note timeline under of all Laptop Weekly articles about the scandal).

Additionally be taught: What it’s doubtless you’ll perchance well presumably like to know about the Horizon scandal.

Additionally explore: ITV’s Post Plight of job scandal documentary – Mr Bates vs The Post Plight of job: The insist sage.

Read more on IT for presidency and public sector

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