Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

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jimbob
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Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by jimbob » Sat May 27, 2023 7:21 am

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-65730464

Because of course they also used racial profiling as well
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Grumble » Sat May 27, 2023 8:03 am

jimbob wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 7:21 am
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-65730464

Because of course they also used racial profiling as well
The article doesn’t establish if the use of racial profiling made any outcomes worse for the victims, but we should find out.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Sciolus » Sat May 27, 2023 8:53 am

Wow. "Negroid"? This wasn't everyday* racial profiling in the "I bet some ethnic groups are more criminal than us whites" sense, whoever wrote and approved this is way down the eugenics rabbit-hole.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by EACLucifer » Sat May 27, 2023 9:09 am

Sciolus wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 8:53 am
Wow. "Negroid"? This wasn't everyday* racial profiling in the "I bet some ethnic groups are more criminal than us whites" sense, whoever wrote and approved this is way down the eugenics rabbit-hole.
Yeah, that's the kind of word one expects to see in the thirties, and even then, in the hands of those racist even by the low standards of that time.

I don't see any scenario in which someone was dividing people up into 'Chinese/Japanese types', 'Dark Skinned European Types' and 'Negroid Types' where they are not also subjecting them to racist treatment based on that categorisation.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by discovolante » Sat May 27, 2023 10:42 am

Describing it as a 'historic document' makes it sound absolutely ancient, from times past. Just say it's no longer in circulation or something ffs.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Fishnut » Sat May 27, 2023 1:10 pm

Holy f.ck

I didn't think the scandal could get worse but somehow they managed it. Negroid???? FFS who the f.ck is using that language in the 21st century?!

The use of the term 'historic' is definitely intentional and is a blatant attempt to make it seem like it's much older than it is. If I'm reading the article correctly the terms were used in guidance that was used between 2008 and 2011. That's 12 to 15 years ago. If your guidance is too young to vote, smoke, drink or have sex your guidance is not 'historic'.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Grumble » Sat May 27, 2023 1:45 pm

Was this scoring system inherited from Fujitsu when they bought the software off them and they didn’t bother to change it? It could be historic in that sense.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by discovolante » Sat May 27, 2023 3:39 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 1:10 pm
Holy f.ck

I didn't think the scandal could get worse but somehow they managed it. Negroid???? FFS who the f.ck is using that language in the 21st century?!

The use of the term 'historic' is definitely intentional and is a blatant attempt to make it seem like it's much older than it is. If I'm reading the article correctly the terms were used in guidance that was used between 2008 and 2011. That's 12 to 15 years ago. If your guidance is too young to vote, smoke, drink or have sex your guidance is not 'historic'.
Yep exactly. It's deceptive and an insult.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by snoozeofreason » Sat May 27, 2023 4:25 pm

It emerged recently that senior executives at the Post Office have been receiving bonuses for providing information required by Sir Wyn Williams's inquiry into the Horizon scandal. Presumably, the worse it gets, the more there is to inquire into, and the more scope there is for bonuses. So it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

It turns out that it is the Post Office themselves that decide whether the information required has been provided, so the bonuses are fairly achievable.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Grumble » Sat May 27, 2023 4:56 pm

snoozeofreason wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 4:25 pm
It emerged recently that senior executives at the Post Office have been receiving bonuses for providing information required by Sir Wyn Williams's inquiry into the Horizon scandal. Presumably, the worse it gets, the more there is to inquire into, and the more scope there is for bonuses. So it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

It turns out that it is the Post Office themselves that decide whether the information required has been provided, so the bonuses are fairly achievable.
I complied with the law all year at work, maybe I should get a bonus.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by jimbob » Sat May 27, 2023 5:17 pm

snoozeofreason wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 4:25 pm
It emerged recently that senior executives at the Post Office have been receiving bonuses for providing information required by Sir Wyn Williams's inquiry into the Horizon scandal. Presumably, the worse it gets, the more there is to inquire into, and the more scope there is for bonuses. So it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

It turns out that it is the Post Office themselves that decide whether the information required has been provided, so the bonuses are fairly achievable.
OK.

Yes and I followed some of the links in that post and it is even more shocking.

I didn't see if they had decided they had given all the relevant information to the inquiry before the FOI revealed the racist terms.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by snoozeofreason » Sat May 27, 2023 6:03 pm

Grumble wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 4:56 pm
I complied with the law all year at work, maybe I should get a bonus.
I think the mistake you are making is that you comply with the law all the time.

Although we don't own a dog, Mrs Snooze and I quite like watching dog training programmes on the TV. I am put in mind here of a situation where a family reward the dog for getting down off the table when asked, only to find that it keeps jumping up on the table so that it can get the reward for jumping down again. You need to be more like that dog. Or maybe people who set bonuses need to watch more dog training programmes.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by sTeamTraen » Sat May 27, 2023 9:15 pm

Grumble wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 1:45 pm
Was this scoring system inherited from Fujitsu when they bought the software off them and they didn’t bother to change it? It could be historic in that sense.
I don't think the document is anything to do with the software as such. It's a set of instructions for people investigating alleged fraud (which, we now know, was overwhelmingly the result of software glitches) to classify the alleged perpetrators into ethnic groups. The even more horrific implication is that the high-ups at the PO thought that they were going to find something useful from this, e.g. that "negroid" sub-postmasters were criming more.

During the period in question, the "Group network director" was Paula Vennells, who was later made CEO. I don't know for sure if the "network" that the "Group network director" is in charge of "directing" is the network of sub-post-offices, but that doesn't seem an excessive stretch. Certainly I think she might be, as the police say, "a person we would like to speak to in connection with our inquiries".
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Grumble » Sat May 27, 2023 9:53 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 9:15 pm
Grumble wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 1:45 pm
Was this scoring system inherited from Fujitsu when they bought the software off them and they didn’t bother to change it? It could be historic in that sense.
I don't think the document is anything to do with the software as such. It's a set of instructions for people investigating alleged fraud (which, we now know, was overwhelmingly the result of software glitches) to classify the alleged perpetrators into ethnic groups. The even more horrific implication is that the high-ups at the PO thought that they were going to find something useful from this, e.g. that "negroid" sub-postmasters were criming more.

During the period in question, the "Group network director" was Paula Vennells, who was later made CEO. I don't know for sure if the "network" that the "Group network director" is in charge of "directing" is the network of sub-post-offices, but that doesn't seem an excessive stretch. Certainly I think she might be, as the police say, "a person we would like to speak to in connection with our inquiries".
As long as she’s given proper remuneration for helping police with their enquiries I’m sure that will be fine
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by WFJ » Sun May 28, 2023 12:49 pm

discovolante wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 10:42 am
Describing it as a 'historic document' makes it sound absolutely ancient, from times past. Just say it's no longer in circulation or something ffs.
I assume they meant to write historical, although everything to do with Horizon was a historic f.ck-up.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Al Capone Junior » Mon May 29, 2023 11:34 pm

EACLucifer wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 9:09 am
Sciolus wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 8:53 am
Wow. "Negroid"? This wasn't everyday* racial profiling in the "I bet some ethnic groups are more criminal than us whites" sense, whoever wrote and approved this is way down the eugenics rabbit-hole.
Yeah, that's the kind of word one expects to see in the thirties, and even then, in the hands of those racist even by the low standards of that time.

I don't see any scenario in which someone was dividing people up into 'Chinese/Japanese types', 'Dark Skinned European Types' and 'Negroid Types' where they are not also subjecting them to racist treatment based on that categorisation.
STOP, STOP. FACTS MAY MAKE WHITE PEOPLE FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE. THEREFORE THEY CAN NO LONGER BE DISCUSSED, AND IN FACT MUST BE PURGED FROM THE RECORD AND REPLACED WITH A MORE FLUFFY STORY WHERE WHITE PEOPLE ARE INHERENTLY GOOD AND PURE AND WHOLESOME. LIKE JESUS WOULD WANT.

(Sigh)

Unfortunately, this is the new American way.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Tessa K » Tue May 30, 2023 10:03 am

What are dark skinned Europeans anyway?

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Opti » Tue May 30, 2023 10:39 am

Tessa K wrote:
Tue May 30, 2023 10:03 am
What are dark skinned Europeans anyway?
Well, Pepa my Spanish next door neighbour between June and October came round yesterday to tidy her house. She was paler than me and ddb.
After her first week here on the beach she will look distinctly Moorish. Southern European people seem to be very efficient at melanin production.
That's about it.
Time for a big fat one.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by snoozeofreason » Mon Jun 05, 2023 7:10 pm

Article in The Times by the excellent Dan Neidle explaining how the Post Office is still playing hardball with sub-postmasters, and doing everything it can to limit the amount of compensation that they end up getting through the PO's current compensation scheme.

Unfortunately the article is paywalled*, but the nub of it is that: The process of claiming is legally complicated, and the Post Office offers virtually no legal support to claimants; It fails to tell them that they can claim for loss of reputation, or request punitive damages; It gives them the false impression that they cannot discuss their compensation with others (Neidle has referred the PO's lawyers to the Solicitors' Regulation Authority over this); It fails to account for tax, which can swallow up a substantial part of any award; And it generally uses any trick available to minimise the extent of the losses claimants have incurred.

The result is that the average compensation award is a paltry £32,000, which is hardly a just recompense for getting caught up in the worst wrongful conviction scandal of recent times.

And to that you can add the fact that, as IvanV pointed out in the Criminal Barristers thread, recent changes to the law make it almost impossible for wrongfully imprisoned sub-postmasters to claim compensation from the government for wrongfully imprisoning them.

Neidle's suggestion is that the current Post Office compensation scheme should be allowed to run its course (most of the claims that could be made already have been made), then a quango should be set up to proactively examine every possible claim and ensure that the claimants are awarded something that more adequately reflects the ordeal they have been put through. It's difficult to see what argument could be made against that idea.

* I'd be happy to copy and paste all or part of the article into this thread, but I am not sure what our rules about that are.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Fishnut » Mon Jun 05, 2023 7:52 pm

Here's an archived version of the article.

The TL:DR seems to be, f.ck the Post Office. They are doing everything in their power to prevent people get the compensation they deserve for having their lives - and often their health - ruined because of their f.ck-up. As seems to be so often the case, people are getting screwed twice over - first with the initial wrongdoing, and again when they try to get reparations.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by snoozeofreason » Thu Jun 29, 2023 2:02 pm

Dan Neidle has referred both the Post Office's in-house lawyers and their external lawyers, Herbert Smith Freehills, to the Solicitors' Regulation Authority for attempting to mislead sub-postmasters into believing that offers of compensation were confidential. It appears that they marked such letters as "Without Prejudice", which is a fairly common practice, but then told them that "Without Prejudice" meant that the offers could not be discussed with others, which not true (it just means that the letters would not be admissable as evidence).

Either the POs lawyers didn't know what "Without Prejudice" means, which would imply an astonishing lack of competence, or they were deliberately misleading people who they knew they had falsely accused of criminal activity, which is worse.

Latest episode of The Great Post Office Trial on BBC Sounds is also worth a listen
In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. The human body was knocked up pretty late on the Friday afternoon, with a deadline looming. How well do you expect it to work?

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by noggins » Sun Jul 02, 2023 3:00 pm

What actually is the legal implication of a significant error like that in a lawyer’s letter

Is it

i) alls fair in love and war and litigation

ii) alls fair but normally it would be counterproductive to the case and the firms reputation in general to allow such a mistake or such a lie to be sent out.

ii) alls fair in normal litigation, but not when its the State

iii) some sanction against the law firm for their incompetence or dishonesty

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by IvanV » Sun Jul 02, 2023 3:35 pm

noggins wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2023 3:00 pm
What actually is the legal implication of a significant error like that in a lawyer’s letter

Is it

i) alls fair in love and war and litigation

ii) alls fair but normally it would be counterproductive to the case and the firms reputation in general to allow such a mistake or such a lie to be sent out.

ii) alls fair in normal litigation, but not when its the State

iii) some sanction against the law firm for their incompetence or dishonesty
There was a case recently where a law firm did get sanctioned for telling lies like this. I think it may have got a strict telling off. The Law Society also sent out a general, um, "reminder" that this wasn't acceptable. But it got into the news because it was exceptional. Law firms have got away with it forever. If complaints about it got to the Law Society, it seems they didn't go very far.

So it is unacceptable for anyone to behave like this. I think it is especially unacceptable for the state to behave like this. For the state to have the power to write the law, and then to try and kid you out of respecting its own laws, is completely unacceptable.

I realise some law is common law, and is not written by the state. But the state can replace common law with statute law if it thinks it ought to be different, and increasingly our law is statute law.

But the reality is that both private individuals and the state try it on, and sadly getting sanctioned for it is so rare it is news when it happens. And the practical sanction is of such insignificance I don't think it is going to change behaviour until lawyers start getting, at the very least, struck off for it.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by discovolante » Sun Jul 02, 2023 3:43 pm

noggins wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2023 3:00 pm
What actually is the legal implication of a significant error like that in a lawyer’s letter

Is it

i) alls fair in love and war and litigation

ii) alls fair but normally it would be counterproductive to the case and the firms reputation in general to allow such a mistake or such a lie to be sent out.

ii) alls fair in normal litigation, but not when its the State

iii) some sanction against the law firm for their incompetence or dishonesty
It certainly isn't all fair, it's a breach of professional obligations and they *should* be sanctioned by the regulator. Which is the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales, not the Law Society, which is more like a trade body (although the Law Society of Scotland is the regulator for Scottish solicitors, as Scotland hasn't separated out the two roles in the same way).
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Jul 03, 2023 12:17 am

noggins wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2023 3:00 pm
What actually is the legal implication of a significant error like that in a lawyer’s letter
It depends on how wilful and egregious it is. For example, ACS:Law sent lots of people claims that they were infringing copyright by downloading stuff and demanding payments. The demands were unfounded, so the solicitor behind it, Andrew Jonathan Crossley, was suspended from practising law for two years, ordered to pay costs of £76,326.55. When he was again allowed to practice, he was still prevented from owning or running a law firm for a further three years. So the SRA does have teeth.

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