Sky reporting Post Office Horizon IT inquiry to be made statutory at the request of existing inquiry chair. Massive victory for campaigning Subpostmasters.…

(h/t @chrish9070)

Reaction to follow.

@chrish9070 Lord Arbuthnot, who has campaigned for Subpostmasters more than a decade has reacted to saying: "Excellent news, but until there is proper compensation and the Government accepts that the settlement agreement was unfairly forced on the subpostmasters, we cannot rest."
The Post Office CEO is meeting MPs at 4pm today and a statement to the House is expected from the Postal Services minister @scullyp tomorrow.
This is (if it happens) a major victory for Subpostmasters and MPs who have been campaigning for a statutory inquiry since the High Court judgments were handed down in 2019.
A statutory inquiry gives Sir Wyn Williams (current inquiry chair) powers to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath AND to force the release of documents… BUT… he will still be constrained by the SCOPE of the inquiry which will be set by the government.
Kevan Jones MP - another long term campaigner says:

“If the inquiry is going to be put on a statutory footing then that is welcome, but it should have been done when it was announced months ago. It’s just added to the anguish for the victims...
… it is a major victory and full credit to the tenacity and determination of the Subpostmasters.”

He added: “It’s quite clear to me there’s been a deliberate cover-up throughout this and those responsible for it need to be brought to account. Post Office knew...
…. back in 2011 what the problem was. Major questions need to be asked not only why the Post Office covered it up, but then spent hundreds of millions of pounds of public money defending the indefensible, when they knew they were in the wrong."
Mr Jones says: “the key thing now is we’ve got to get all the facts on the table, that’s documents… that’s individuals who took decisions. They’ve got to be able to get the truth out there and then the government have to compensate people and in certain cases consideration...
… of criminal prosecution against people.”

Well this has just all stepped up a gear, hasn’t it? Am available if anyone wants broadcast comment this afternoon. DM me.
Just had a statement through from @ChiOnwurah the shadow postal services minister:

"We are pleased that the Government has finally, after dragging their feet, conceded the need for a statutory...
@ChiOnwurah … inquiry following pressure from the postmasters, Labour and just about everyone horrified by the enormity of this miscarriage of justice.”

She adds:

"This is a step forward, but the long delay has caused further suffering to the many victims and their families...

… Crucially the Government must now address the limited remit of the inquiry which does not cover compensation or the accountability of managers in this scandal.”

The Post Office is currently refusing to comment. I have been promised a statement from the government...
… asap.

Chris Head (@chrish9070), who took a petition to Downing Street in February last year demanding a statutory inquiry says:

"Todays news is very welcome, it should not have ever come to this. The minister could have announced this last year...
@chrish9070 … so these people could be on their way to justice much sooner. We must ensure now that consultation is given on the terms of reference so that no stone is left unturned. It appears the pressure & dialogue with ministers has with ministers has worked...
… with many thanks to all the MP’s, Lords & press that have really upped the anti since the CofA decisions a few weeks ago.

I also hope Nick Read will share the thoughts of my meeting with the government on behalf of everyone & sanction further/full compensation for everyone."
Full round up of reaction to here:…

including government quote.


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More from @nickwallis

18 May
Round up of reaction to reports that government will tomorrow announce Post Office Horizon IT inquiry will be put on a statutory footing, allowing cross-examination of witnesses on oath and subpoena-ing of documents.…
BEIS (govt) statement:

"All parties are committed to cooperating with the independent inquiry underway, which is continuing to make progress under the chairmanship of Sir Wyn Williams….
… We continue to engage with relevant parties on all options available to ensure we get to the bottom of where mistakes were made, and to ensure something like this cannot happen again...
Read 19 tweets
14 May
Good morning. Three weeks to the day after the amazing scenes outside the Court of Appeal where 39 Subpostmaster convictions were quashed, we are at Southwark Crown Court for two more cases to be decided.
Thread follows.
Parmod Kalia and Teju Adedayo are hoping to get their convictions quashed. My live-tweeting summarises and describes what is happening, it is not verbatim unless it is in “diret quotes.”

PO barrister on her feet setting out the case:
Parmod Kalia pleaded guilty on 17 Dec 2001 Bromley to one charge of theft of £22k. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Teju (Tara) Adedayo on 19 Jan 2006 pleaded guilty to 3 charges of false accounting to £52k with 10 further offences of false accounting...
Read 15 tweets
12 May
It's #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. Two years ago this week, whilst it was at the High Court spending tens of millions of pounds trying to deny Subpostmasters justice, the Post Office released a self-satisfied tweet announcing it had signed up to the #TimetoChange pledge to...
... support its employees mental health. This provoked a strong reaction from Subpostmasters who hold the Post Office responsible for completely trashing their mental health. It certainly got me thinking. I had never really focused on the mental health trauma suffered...
... by Subpostmasters before, so i started asking around to see if any Subpostmaster would be willing to let me tell their stories. Many did, including Nicki Arch who was prosecuted nearly 20 years ago and suffered a breakdown, Wendy Buffrey who had a complete...
Read 7 tweets
8 May
For almost the complete duration of her tenure as Post Office Chief Executive, Paula Vennells and the Post Office board kept information about possible (many now either likely or certain) miscarriages of justice from MPs, campaigners and the courts. In 2015 she told...
... Parliament that the Post Offict had done an investigation and such miscarriages of justice had been surfaced. Also in 2015 the Post Office told Panorama remote access to its Horizon computer system was impossible, a direct untruth. The Post Office, through their...
... Director of Communications Mark Davies (former Spad to Jack Straw) put pressure on media outlets to drop the story. He was good at his job and very successful. Some editors didn't want to run the story, prolonging the agony for victims. Alice Perkins (wife of Jack Straw)...
Read 13 tweets
7 May
Blog post containing calls for a police investigation from a Tory peer updated with this from a leading Subpostmasters’ barrister:

"The Post Office knew from not later than 2013 that its systems were unreliable and...
…. that the Horizon system had the propensity to cause shortfalls not apparent to a Post Office branch terminal operator and that accordingly its evidence to the court in many cases was incomplete and misleading...
… That being so, why did the Post Office adopt the policy of denial...? Who devised that policy of denial and who implemented it?

Once those questions are addressed...
Read 5 tweets
7 May
Holy Moly - Post Office are contacting 540 criminalised Subpostmasters and others whose convictions might be unsafe. Given it prosecuted 736 and 45 have already had their convictions overturned we’re now into slam dunk biggest potential miscarriage of justice ever.
The Post Office legal team in 2013/4 need to be looking at themselves, including Chris Aujard, Rodric Williams (still at the PO) and Jarnail Singh. The CK Sift Review produced clear evidence of a couple of dozen potentially unsafe prosecutions in 2014.
That information was kept SECRET from MPs and the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance. As I said a couple of days back - had that information been given to MPs and campaigners, then hundreds more prosecuted Subpostmasters would at least...
Read 11 tweets

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