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...
… The inquiry will also assess whether lessons have been learned and concrete changes have taken place or are underway at Post Office Ltd.”

Quick precis for anyone new to this:

In 2019 two HUGE High Court judgments (in terms of length, intellectual endeavour, and impact) were handed down in a stunning victory for 555 Subpostmasters, led by Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance founder Alan Bates...
… the judgments exposed the appalling behaviour of the Post Office in sacking, prosecuting and criminalising its own Subpostmasters on IT evidence the judge found to be demonstrably shaky. It’s since emerged the Post Office prosecuted 736 people over a 14 year period...
…using evidence from its Horizon IT system, and as many as 700 of those prosecutions could be unsafe.

45 Subpostmasters have already had their convictions quashed, during that process at the Court of Appeal...
… it became apparent that in 2013/4, the Post Office board was made aware some of its prosecutions might be unsafe. The Post Office kept this information secret, delaying access to justice for the vast majority of people whose convictions might be unsafe...
Lord Arbuthnot has already called for a police investigation into the cover-up.

No Post Office executive has given an interview over what happened over the last 8 years. In 2015, the Post Office CEO Paula Vennells said their internal investigations had NOT...
… found any miscarriages of justice (when it was pretty clear they had) and then last year even AFTER the High Court judgments, Ms Vennells failed to disclose the existence of the 2013/4 Post Office investigations.
Williams may also want to ask Angela van den Bogerd from the Post Office and Andy Dunks from Fujitsu why they tried to mislead a High Court judge, and there is also the thorny issue of the ongoing police investigation into two former Fujitsu staff who gave evidence to the Crown
… and High Court about Horizon’s robustness.

Then there is the role of the government in all this. Which civil servant was signing off the Post Office’s attempts to deny justice to the Subpostmasters. Why were they doing it? What were they telling their ministers?
Lord Arbuthnot and Lord Falconer swant to know what Alex Chisholm (currently Chief Operating Officer for the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office) was telling the Post Office and his ministers whilst he was the Chief Accounting Officer at BEIS...
… also what were the roles of Susanah Storey (govt rep on the board of the Post Office during the cover-up - now top civil servant at DCMS) and Richard Callard (her successor on the PO board - still at UKGI)...
… basically the Post Office and government were made aware at the highest level that something very serious had gone wrong and instead of coming clean, they tried to bury it, which had the VERY VERY serious effect of denying wrongly criminalised Subpostmasters justice...
… I am very surprised that there are people in government and the Post Office who seemed to make a conscious (and possibly unlawful) decision that it was better potential miscarriages of justice were kept hidden than bring it into the open and deal with it. On a personal...
… integrity level, surely that’s unconscionable.

As a result of tomorrow’s likely announcement there’s a slightly better chance we might one day get to the truth.

Right. I have a secret email to write to my subscribers. Please buy a pre-sale copy of my book if you can...
… you get an invitation to the secret email list for free and my publisher is donating 10% of revenue to a fund to help hard-done-by Subpostmasters and their families:
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More from @nickwallis

18 May
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.
Read 17 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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