Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

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Sciolus
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Sciolus » Thu Jan 04, 2024 7:50 pm

Where did the money go? No-one knows, and it's probably impossible to know. Most likely into the PO's slush fund, but the accounting system is so screwed up the money may simply have evaporated.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Tessa K » Fri Jan 05, 2024 7:26 pm


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snoozeofreason
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by snoozeofreason » Fri Jan 05, 2024 11:54 pm

Just in case people were unaware of it, the Horizon Public Inquiry has a YouTube channel at

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgijUpaux8X4Nvjx3TmrHhg/videos

Hearings are streamed with a three-minute delay and available to watch whenever you wish afterwards. I am just a few minutes into Jamail Singh's evidence (day 92) and it's already interesting (in a sense of the word "interesting" that does not flatter him).

The schedule of upcoming hearings can be found here

https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/phase-4-hearing-schedule

It looks as if the coming month will see evidence from Fujitsu engineers and PO legal staff who may have awkward questions to answer.
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Tessa K
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Tessa K » Sat Jan 06, 2024 8:27 am

Fifty more cases since the TV drama aired and the Met are investigating

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-67899189

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by bjn » Sat Jan 06, 2024 10:21 am

The Met has started a criminal investigation into the Horizon scandal.
The Post Office is under criminal investigation over “potential fraud offences” committed during the Horizon scandal, the Metropolitan police have confirmed for the first time.
About time.


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... ting-fraud

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by IvanV » Sun Jan 07, 2024 11:49 am

bjn wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2024 10:21 am
The Met has started a criminal investigation into the Horizon scandal.
The Post Office is under criminal investigation over “potential fraud offences” committed during the Horizon scandal, the Metropolitan police have confirmed for the first time.
About time.
At the BBC link Tess provided, we read that they opened that investigation 4 years ago. And have only interviewed 2 people under caution in that time.

So about time they got on with it. But having actually initiated it 4 years ago, their failure to get on with it until now is potentially another scandal. It really makes you wonder if there is some deeper corruption here.

Another interesting little-known nugget mentioned in Tess's BBC article is
Some 54 cases have resulted in convictions being upheld, people being refused permission to appeal, or people withdrawing from the process, according to the Post Office.
It seems likely that some people found guilty of fraud were actually guilty of fraud. There was, after all, a steady stream of fraud convictions before the Horizon scandal, and that might be expected to continue. And we know it is in general very difficult for the wrongfully convicted to get justice, so you do wonder whether some of those 54 are compounded injustices.

But it is of course a greater evil that the innocent were found guilty. So it is good now to read Sunak and the justice minister saying that they are looking at ways to vacate all the convictions from the Horizon period, on such grounds. But I kind of fear they'll say that, and then, like many of the occasional good things our present government says, they never act on them. They are only looking at it...

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Tessa K » Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:15 pm

IvanV wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2024 11:49 am
bjn wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2024 10:21 am
The Met has started a criminal investigation into the Horizon scandal.
The Post Office is under criminal investigation over “potential fraud offences” committed during the Horizon scandal, the Metropolitan police have confirmed for the first time.
About time.
At the BBC link Tess provided, we read that they opened that investigation 4 years ago. And have only interviewed 2 people under caution in that time.

So about time they got on with it. But having actually initiated it 4 years ago, their failure to get on with it until now is potentially another scandal. It really makes you wonder if there is some deeper corruption here.

Another interesting little-known nugget mentioned in Tess's BBC article is
Some 54 cases have resulted in convictions being upheld, people being refused permission to appeal, or people withdrawing from the process, according to the Post Office.
It seems likely that some people found guilty of fraud were actually guilty of fraud. There was, after all, a steady stream of fraud convictions before the Horizon scandal, and that might be expected to continue. And we know it is in general very difficult for the wrongfully convicted to get justice, so you do wonder whether some of those 54 are compounded injustices.

But it is of course a greater evil that the innocent were found guilty. So it is good now to read Sunak and the justice minister saying that they are looking at ways to vacate all the convictions from the Horizon period, on such grounds. But I kind of fear they'll say that, and then, like many of the occasional good things our present government says, they never act on them. They are only looking at it...
No one calls me Tess and lives.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by IvanV » Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:30 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:15 pm
No one calls me Tess and lives.
I'm dead.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by nekomatic » Sun Jan 07, 2024 3:36 pm

IvanV wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2024 11:49 am
It really makes you wonder if there is some deeper corruption here.
I reproduce without comment:
c52d3143-3be8-49af-b1d2-8682baadb758.png
c52d3143-3be8-49af-b1d2-8682baadb758.png (406.4 KiB) Viewed 4778 times
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Grumble » Tue Jan 09, 2024 6:19 am

The sudden uptick in interest from the government shows the power TV still has. There was nothing new shown as far as I’m aware, and it’s nearly 3 years since the first acquittals. But dramatising the true story and getting it in front of eyeballs has had the desired effect.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Tessa K » Tue Jan 09, 2024 8:09 am

Trial by media is generally considered a bad thing but in this case the court of ITV may be a force for good.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by IvanV » Tue Jan 09, 2024 10:05 am

Joshua Rozenberg just published an opinion, where he summarises his conclusions, disappointingly, as follows:
The ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office has captured the attention of politicians much more effectively than the careful and methodical work of Sir Wyn Williams’s public inquiry. But I would be surprised if ministers pre-empt the former judge’s work by taking the radical steps that some are now calling for. It seems even less likely that there will be any prosecutions before Williams has finished taking evidence.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Martin Y » Tue Jan 09, 2024 10:33 am

It's really a striking lesson in the power dramas can wield, at least to make politicians look serious and declare that something must be done (even if they then do f.ck all when the noise dies down).

I was struck especially in the scene where Angela (boo, hiss) visits the grieving widow and promises support. We viewers knew she was the villain, and we were loaded with expectation that she was going to do or say something callous or evil. So I found myself watching the actresses face and listening intently to her words for any trace of insincerity or malice, even though I realised this was an actor giving a performance and whatever nuance was in there was put there deliberately. In the end she played the scene completely neutrally, saying the right sympathetic things without showing any signs of being emotionally overcome. And the nation's viewers now have in their heads the idea that is literally what happened.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Tessa K » Tue Jan 09, 2024 12:00 pm

Private Eye has made a full report free and downloadable

https://www.private-eye.co.uk/special-r ... n-the-post

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by tenchboy » Tue Jan 09, 2024 1:11 pm

CBE is going back: praps that £5million payoff should go the same way
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Tessa K » Tue Jan 09, 2024 1:25 pm

Isn't she also some sort of vicar? Will she hand in her dog collar too?

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by tenchboy » Tue Jan 09, 2024 1:39 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2024 1:25 pm
Isn't she also some sort of vicar? Will she hand in her dog collar too?
Some sort of vicar.
I like that.
Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells was shortlisted to be Bishop of London in 2017, sources have told the BBC.

The Rev Paula Vennells is an ordained Anglican priest but does not hold a senior position in the Church of England.
By yer BBC
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by TimW » Tue Jan 09, 2024 1:39 pm

Paula Vennels wrote:I am truly sorry for the devastation caused to the sub-postmasters and their families, whose lives were torn apart by being wrongly accused and wrongly prosecuted as a result of the Horizon system.
Oh look, it was down to somebody else. (As was her huge income.)

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Jan 09, 2024 2:10 pm

Mistakes were made (but not by me)
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Grumble » Tue Jan 09, 2024 2:27 pm

Never admit liability. This was the first and most urgent command of the system.
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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by noggins » Tue Jan 09, 2024 3:04 pm

Paula Vennels Conscience, Allegedly wrote:I am truly sorry for the devastation caused to the sub-postmasters and their families, whose lives were torn apart by being fraudently accused and maliciously prosecuted as a result of archaic legalities, institutional incompetence, and corporate gangsterism.
EFA

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by IvanV » Tue Jan 09, 2024 5:10 pm

TimW wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2024 1:39 pm
Paula Vennels wrote:I am truly sorry for the devastation caused to the sub-postmasters and their families, whose lives were torn apart by being wrongly accused and wrongly prosecuted as a result of the Horizon system.
Oh look, it was down to somebody else. (As was her huge income.)
She blamed a piece of software, rather than any individual. But that assignment of responsibility she gives is transparently untrue. She must know perfectly well that the Horizon system did not cause these unlawful prosecutions. For that is what was found in court. It was as a result of the knowing, deliberate and criminal actions of individuals, who knew that Horizon's records were fault.

So to phrase it quite untruthfully like that is still refusing to accept or plainly state what she knows actually happened.

The Rev Vennells resigned from all ecclesiastical and church administrative duties in 2021, a few days after convictions were formally quashed. She no longer has a licence to act as a minister. (I seem to have got timelines a bit wrong in an earlier post, repeating errors in an article I read, where I said quashing happened in 2019.) Even that seems late. The Care Quality Commission were already asking about her fitness to act as chairman of Imperial College NHS Trust as early as mid 2020, and the Trust itself investigating the process that led to her appointment.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Sciolus » Tue Jan 09, 2024 8:34 pm

If she were genuinely sorry, I can think of a few concrete actions she could take to help make amends. I look forward to hearing of them.

In the meantime, let's remember that she was in charge during the some of the most vicious and legally-abusive stages of its defence against Bates et al, as it used measures with no legal merit to exhaust the energy and finances of the claimants. In particular, Vennells was on the board and "updated on the discussions" when it decided to try to have the managing judge, Mr Justice Fraser, recuse himself on the grounds his judgment was biased -- an attempt described by the Court of Appeal as “misconceived”, “fatally flawed”, “untenable” and “absurd”.

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Martin Y » Tue Jan 09, 2024 9:35 pm

Well of course she was genuinely sorry. In one of the very few unredacted lines from those PO board meeting minutes it says "Apologies:
Tim Franklin, Paula Vennells.

What could be clearer or more sincere?

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Re: Post office Horizon scandal just got worse

Post by Sciolus » Tue Jan 09, 2024 10:22 pm

Just to be clear, those highly-redacted minutes were provided in response to an FOI request for the minutes of the board meeting where the decision to pursue the Fraser recusal action were taken. So that's what they were talking about, even though none of it appears in the document. Also, Vennells had announced her resignation from the PO before that meeting, but she still appears to have been in post (I can't find her actual leaving date anywhere).

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