Publish Space of job ‘lied’ to subpostmasters when pressured to satisfy them, says feeble federation handbook

Publish Space of job executives safe been pressured to satisfy subpostmasters to focus on an unexplained error of their division, then misled the division managers over a ways away entry

Karl Flinders


Published: 26 Apr 2024 10: 45

A feeble subpostmaster pressured senior Publish Space of job executives to satisfy him to focus on his unexplained shortfall, however they then “lied” to him regarding the flexibility to remotely entry and manipulate division accounts, says feeble subpostmaster handbook.

At some stage in questioning of feeble Publish Space of job senior executive Angela van den Bogerd over her records of a ways away entry, the Publish Space of job Horizon scandal inquiry used to be drawn to the dispute between the Publish Space of job and feeble subpostmasters Val Athwall and his wife Rachpal Athwall.

When investigating an unexplained shortfall at their division in Ferndown, Dorset, the subpostmasters suspected that their accounts had been changed thru a ways away entry to Horizon.

In 2011, Mr Athwall demanded a gathering with a senior Publish Space of job executive, however used to be refused until he pressured the Publish Space of job’s hand, based entirely on Designate Baker, a feeble National Federation of Subpostmasters handbook.

Baker, who represented Athwall, acknowledged: “We fully bought the assembly because Mr Athwall closed his division [in protest] with a load of passport capabilities locked within the trusty. Potentialities safe been in horror they’d safe their commute plans ruined.

“Publish Space of job head of retail Kevin Gilliland phoned me at dwelling unhurried on a Friday night to beg me to fetch the subpostmaster to initiate the passport capabilities.”

A gathering took repute in 2011 and Athwall pressed the executives – Gilliland, Van den Bogerd and Publish Space of job auditor Helen Rose – on a ways away entry.

They instructed him that the Publish Space of job can even no longer remotely entry subpostmaster accounts, however failed to portray him that Fujitsu, which equipped the Horizon device, can even.

Baker, who later became chair of the subpostmaster division of the Communications Workers Union, acknowledged he left the assembly “feeling very uneasy”.

“I felt they had lied to us, however I couldn’t existing in any other case. Figuring out what I know now, I agree with we safe been lied to by Publish Space of job’s Gilliland, Van den Bogerd and Helen Rose, who safe been all at this assembly.” He added that he believes they fabricated documents that safe been proven to them to him and Mr Athwal.

In his feature as a subpostmaster and union handbook, over time Baker has been a vocal campaigner for justice for subpostmasters plagued by Horizon errors. He used to be described by High Court judge Peter Fraser as “redoubtable” in his High Court judgment after a courtroom war between subpostmasters and the Publish Space of job in 2019.

Notes from the recorded assembly, printed within the listening to, existing Athwall repeatedly asked whether or no longer the Publish Space of job can even remotely entry and perform modifications to Horizon. The Publish Space of job acknowledged it couldn’t, however failed to existing that Fujitsu can even originate every these objects. Van den Bogerd herself reassured Athwal that it used to be no longer probably.

At some stage within the inquiry listening to, the omission used to be described as  an “wrong acknowledge” by inquiry barrister Inquiry KC Jason Beer.

Van den Bogerd instructed the inquiry the acknowledge used to be precise because he asked if the Publish Space of job can even entry the accounts, no longer Fujitsu.  

Beer KC acknowledged the Publish Space of job used to be no longer start about Fujitsu’s entry. “Reach on, are you asserting that what you acknowledged general there might be precise? It used to be wrong by no longer being a elephantine memoir, wasn’t it?”

He acknowledged the starting up and transparent thing to negate would be, “Nobody within the Publish Space of job can entry [accounts], however we safe discovered out that folks in Fujitsu can.”

Van den Bogerd acknowledged that she had fully stepped into the conversation between Mr Athwal and Gilliland to restful things down as they safe been getting heated, alongside with: “But what I acknowledged used to be precise because nobody at Publish Space of job had entry.”

Van den Bogerd is a central pick within the Publish Space of job Horizon scandal. At some stage in a 2019 High Court trial the do subpostmasters safe been suing the Publish Space of job, High Court judge Peter Fraser criticised Van der Bogerd’s proof for the Publish Space of job’s defence, asserting she sought to lie to him. 

An inquiry listening to on 25 April 2024 heard proof that she moreover misled the High Court when she claimed the important thing she knew of the flexibility for subpostmaster accounts accessed and changed to be by IT seller Fujitsu used to be in 2018. However the inquiry used to be proven proof that she used to be instructed this used to be the case in three separate emails produce 2010, 2011 and 2014.

Final year, the public inquiry used to be instructed Fujitsu had no adjust over its workers in a single of its tech toughen groups accessing Publish Space of job division accounts remotely to perform modifications without the subpostmasters’ records.

The Publish Space of job scandal used to be first exposed by Computer Weekly in 2009, revealing the experiences of seven subpostmasters and the issues they suffered due to accounting device (gaze timeline of Computer Weekly articles regarding the scandal under).

Also learn: What it might per chance be mandatory to know regarding the Horizon scandal

Also take into memoir: ITV’s documentary – Mr Bates vs The Publish Space of job: The true legend

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