Former Post Office lawyer: It 'defies belief' people weren't told of Horizon problems

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Former Post Office lawyer: It 'defies belief' people weren't told of Horizon problems

Post by TrueBlueTerrier » ... -problems/

A former Post Office lawyer involved in the prosecution that led to a sub-postmaster being jailed has said it 'defies belief' she and others weren't told of problems with the Horizon computer system.

Giving evidence at the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry, Debbie Stapel said had she known at the time of the bugs, errors and defects in the system there would have been no basis for the prosecution of Carl Page, who was jailed for two years in 2007 for theft.

He was a sub-postmaster (SPM) at Anson Street, Rugeley, but his conviction was quashed in April 2021, along with that of Tracy Felstead, from Telford.

Between 2000 and 2014, more than 700 SPMs were falsely prosecuted based on information from the Horizon computer system, installed and maintained by Fujitsu

In her witness statement to the second week of the enquiry Mrs Stapel said: "I was not aware of any issues impacting Horizon at the time that I had conduct of Post Office Limited (POL) cases.

“I trusted within the Post Office that if I asked for evidence to be obtained it would be obtained,” she told the inquiry into the scandal, often described as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history.

"Had I been aware that there were bugs, defects or any faults in Horizon then clearly a challenge to the integrity of the company in one case would be relevant to other ongoing or future cases.

"Save for the prosecution of Carl Page l did not advise on POL cases from 2006 onwards.

"It is now clear that Horizon was not the robust system it was held out to be, but at the time I thought I was being advised completely and POL said it could be relied on to provide evidence on how many problems there were with the computer system and subsequently of similar cases to that of Carl Page.

"In my view no proceedings should have been started unless the Post Office were able to prove that those bugs, defects or faults could not have impacted on the operation of Horizon, i.e. that the evidence being relied on was reliable.

"If I had been on the jury and knew of such glaring errors and glitches with the system I wouldn't have been moved to convict and it defies belief that people internal and otherwise weren't told.

"Many people have suffered as a result of that and I am sorry for them."
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