Post Office Horizon inquiry marred by disclosure failings

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Post Office Horizon inquiry marred by disclosure failings

Post by TrueBlueTerrier » ... -failings/

The statutory inquiry into the UK’s biggest ever miscarriage of justice is facing delays due to the failure of the Post Office to disclose evidence.

Key witnesses who were due to address the inquiry this week have now been delayed, as the Post Office has not yet disclosed documents, or has disclosed thousands of pages of evidence without enough time for witnesses to review them.

The inquiry is currently addressing how former sub postmasters were convicted, including hearing evidence fron lawyers who prosecuted the criminal cases against them.

Warwick Tatford, a barrister instructed by the Post Office in the criminal trial against two former sub postmasters, has apologised to those he prosecuted. He told the inquiry ‘I feel ashamed that I was part of this’.

One of those prosecuted by Tatford was Semma Misra, she was pregnant with her second child when she was handed a 15 month prison sentence for false accounting. Warwick Tatford addressed her as he gave evidence: ‘I can see Mrs Misra and I’m very sorry’.

Tatford said in his evidence that he had received disclosures from the Post Office that indicated the reliability of the Horizon system but they ‘didn’t go far enough’. The inquiry heard that it was on account of disclosure issues that Seema Misra didn’t receive a fair trial and was ultimately wrongfully imprisoned.

Another senior lawyer for the Post Office, Jarnail Singh, was due to give evidence this week. Postponing this session, the inquiry’s chair Wyn Williams, said: ‘I have reached the decision that [Jarnail Singh] giving evidence next week is not possible because there is every likelihood that the Post Office will in the course of the next either hours or days disclose many documents which are relevant to him.’

He said that it would be impossible for Singh to review all of these documents before giving evidence this week.

Fujitsu IT Executive, Gareth Jenkins, was due to give evidence from the 30 November, however Wyn Williams announced this would now be delayed for several months. He said: ‘Due to the obvious importance of Mr Jenkins’ evidence to my inquiry I have decided there should be a substantial period of time which should now elapse before I schedule Mr Jenkins.’ He added that this decision was made with ‘considerable regret and frustration’.

Jenkins was first due to give evidence in July but this was delayed due to the disclosure of thousands of relevant documents by the Post Office just hours before the session was due to start.

Gareth Jenkins is currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for perjury in relation to evidence he gave in trials against several wrongfully convicted sub postmasters.

The inquiry continues this week.
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