Post Recount of job correct boss withheld particulars from statutory body reviewing miscarriages of justice

The Post Recount of job’s high lawyer held attend most significant files when requested by the criminal cases review price, combating wrongful convictions from being reviewed

Karl Flinders


Printed: 03 Would possibly possibly perchance presumably simply 2024 10: 30

The Post Recount of job general counsel didn’t present the Criminal Cases Evaluation Commission (CCRC) proof that could perchance well have identified the greatest miscarriage of justice years earlier.

In a 2014 response to a CCRC put a question to for an update on a Post Recount of job review of its like prosecution blueprint and processes, Chris Aujard, intervening time general council at the time, now not well-known particulars that could perchance well have raised severe concerns over the protection of Post Recount of job prosecutions.

In Would possibly possibly perchance presumably simply that Three hundred and sixty five days, the CCRC turned into chasing the Post Recount of job correct personnel for facts about the review of its prosecution blueprint and processes.

The review, applied by Brian Altman KC, adopted concerns being raised about the integrity of the Post Recount of job Horizon system after a report by honest forensic investigations firm Second Spy.

The following month, Aujard signed and accredited a letter providing an update to the CCRC, but didn’t consist of Altman’s findings, which printed severe flaws within the Post Recount of job’s prosecutions. These integrated the truth that the educated stumble on extinct in trials had been found by lawyers diminished in size by the Post Recount of job to have given misleading proof.

All the scheme by essentially the latest Post Recount of job Horizon scandal public inquiry listening to, Plant life Web page, a barrister representing victims of the scandal, referred to Aujard’s letter to the CCRC. The letter confirmed that Altman had executed his “review of the Post Recount of job’s blueprint and route of for reviewing previous/present prosecutions”.

Signed by Aujard, it stated: “As you can inquire of of, Mr Altman’s review turned into thorough, leading to an intensive report, and I am pleased to verify that general, his scrutinize turned into that the review (applied on behalf of the Post Recount of job by an external firm of criminal specialist solicitors) turned into fundamentally sound, and he did now not detect any systemic or most significant flaws within the review route of, or within the proof bobbing up from it.”

Small print now not well-known

However the letter didn’t present particulars of Altman’s findings of predominant flaws within the Post Recount of job’s prosecutions blueprint and processes. All the scheme by Web page’s questioning of Aujard, she stated: “[The letter] is devoid of any mention of then points that the CCRC in level of truth wished to grab about, isn’t it?”

It didn’t mention advice given in July 2013 by barrister Simon Clarke (Clarke Advice) that educated stumble on Gareth Jenkins of Fujitsu had given misleading proof in court trials, which turned into talked about over and over by Altman in his review, nor did it mention the controversial Seema Misra case, which turned into talked about 15 times within the Altman review, in accordance to Web page.

“You accredited that the contents of the Clarke advice turned into startling,” she stated. “There is nothing of that startling nature [in this letter] is there? This is mostly a bland, reassuring letter geared in opposition to making positive it would all correct sprint away. This is mostly a response that stated it’s peachy, everything is okay, isn’t it?”

Aujard stated the letter to the CCRC turned into in accordance to a particular put a question to made to his predecessor, Susan Crichton, which he picked up. “This is the advice I had at the time from Brian Altman KC and Cartwright King [solicitors],” he stated. “It mirrored the totality of my figuring out at the time.”

Paul Marshall, a barrister who represented the subpostmasters who efficiently overturned wrongful convictions by the Post Recount of job, stated: ” To philosophize [Aujard’s letter]  as ‘sanitised’ could perchance well be masterful understatement.”

“It’s miles telling that once at remaining the Court docket of Allure equipped a copy of the Clarke Advice to the CCRC in November 2020, the CCRC’s response turned into to elevate the chance that it could perchance well very well be equipped to the Metropolitan Police.”

It turned into nearly two years later, and following Second Spy’s plump Horizon investigation report – which integrated such criticisms because the Post Recount of job being too hasty to take correct action, reasonably than salvage to the bottom of the causes of unexplained accounting shortfalls – that the CCRC officially started reviewing subpostmasters’ claims of wrongful prosecution. It turned into nearly five extra years earlier than the first wrongful subpostmaster convictions were overturned.

Between 2000 and 2015, greater than 700 subpostmasters were convicted of crimes akin to fraud and theft, in accordance to proof from the Horizon retail and accounting system extinct in branches, which in 2019 turned into proved within the Excessive Court docket to be inclined to errors. Over 100 wrongful convictions have to this level been overturned, and the govt. has launched legislation to overturn the leisure.

The Post Recount of job scandal turned into first uncovered by Computer Weekly in 2009, revealing the tales of seven subpostmasters and the issues they suffered due to the accounting tool (gaze timeline of Computer Weekly articles under).

• Additionally read: What it’s vital to learn about the Horizon scandal

• Additionally stumble on: ITV’s documentary – Mr Bates vs The Post Recount of job: The particular account

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