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Police open criminal investigation into potential perjury by Fujitsu staff in Post Office IT trials

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TrueBlueTerrier
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Police open criminal investigation into potential perjury by Fujitsu staff in Post Office IT trials

Post by TrueBlueTerrier »

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The Metropolitan Police have opened a criminal investigation into Fujitsu staff who gave evidence in trials of subpostmasters wrongly prosecuted and even imprisoned for financial crimes.

Subpostmasters, who run and own Post Office branches, were blamed and punished for accounting shortfalls that were actually computer errors. The Horizon scandal, named after the computer system used in Post Office branches, has become one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in UK history with the government, as owner of the Post Office, also implicated.

In January, the director of public prosecutions (DPP) referred concerns passed to him by High Court judge Peter Fraser about the accuracy of evidence given by Fujitsu staff in criminal trials of subpostmasters, to the Metropolitan Police.

In April, the police force said it was assessing evidence before deciding whether to investigate further. It has now confirmed that this has moved to a criminal investigation.

“The contents of the letter [from the DPP] have been assessed and a criminal investigation has been opened,” said the Metropolitan Police in a statement. This could lead to criminal prosecutions for crimes such as perjury.

A Computer Weekly investigation in 2009 revealed that subpostmasters were being blamed for unexplained financial losses, which they claimed were caused by errors made by the Horizon system, supplied by Fujitsu. The Post Office denied this, and many subpostmasters were subsequently prosecuted for theft and false accounting, with prison sentences, community service, criminal records and heavy fines among the injustices they suffered as a result (see timeline of Computer Weekly articles about the scandal below).

The Post Office always maintained that the Horizon system did not have faults and that subpostmasters were responsible for accounting shortfalls. This stance was backed up by Fujitsu. But after examining the evidence in detail, Judge Fraser described this as “amounting to the 21st century equivalent of maintaining that the Earth is flat”.

It took a multimillion-pound High Court battle, in which staff at Fujitsu and the Post Office were questioned in detail, for subpostmastesr to prove there were serious problems with Horizon that were causing accounting shortfalls.

In 2018, a trial began with more than 500 former subpostmasters seeking justice. When the Post Office finally admitted defeat after spending over £100m defending the case, it agreed to pay £57.85m damages.

Before handing down his judgment at the second trial, Judge Fraser said he was referring information to the DPP because he had concerns over the accuracy of evidence given in court by Fujitsu in previous trials of subpostmasters.

“Based on the knowledge that I have gained both from conducting the trial and writing the Horizon issues judgment, I have very grave concerns regarding the veracity of evidence given by Fujitsu employees to other courts in previous proceedings about the known existence of bugs, errors and defects in the Horizon system,” said the judge.

“These previous proceedings include the High Court in at least one civil case brought by the Post Office against a subpostmaster and the Crown Court in a greater number of criminal cases, also brought by the Post Office against subpostmasters and subpostmistresses.”

In June this year, the Criminal Cases Review Commission sent 47 cases, in which subpostmasters were prosecuted as criminals based on Horizon data, to the Court of Appeal to be reviewed as potential miscarriages of justice. The Post Office said it will not contest 44 of the cases, which will be heard in the Court of appeal next week (18 November).

A Fujitsu spokesman said the IT supplier is fully cooperating with the investigation.
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Police open criminal investigation into potential perjury by Fujitsu staff in Post Office IT trials

Post by NWpostie »

They spent £100m defending it and paying £57.85m in damages, a lot of is going to swallowed up in legal costs if the postmaster's lawyer are not doing it pro bono,
The real cost for bankcruptancy, loss of homes, illegal prosecutions, loss of reputation, imprisonment, mental heath problems, suicide in some cases, the real cost of compensating each postmaster for this would easily top £700m, of the 500 there's more that haven't been able to join the class action, either too afraid and broken to do so.

It's a national scandal and disgrace to the name Royal Mail, had they been more honest and really investigated instead of allowing pride to get in the way, none of this would have happened.
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Police open criminal investigation into potential perjury by Fujitsu staff in Post Office IT trials

Post by wallan »

NWpostie wrote:They spent £100m defending it and paying £57.85m in damages, a lot of is going to swallowed up in legal costs if the postmaster's lawyer are not doing it pro bono,
The real cost for bankcruptancy, loss of homes, illegal prosecutions, loss of reputation, imprisonment, mental heath problems, suicide in some cases, the real cost of compensating each postmaster for this would easily top £700m, of the 500 there's more that haven't been able to join the class action, either too afraid and broken to do so.

It's a national scandal and disgrace to the name Royal Mail, had they been more honest and really investigated instead of allowing pride to get in the way, none of this would have happened.
Agree , but its the The Post Office NOT Royal Mail
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Police open criminal investigation into potential perjury by Fujitsu staff in Post Office IT trials

Post by NWpostie »

This event predated the splitting up of Royal Mail Group, after privatisation into different parts.

The system was first introduced in 1995 and not long after problems started to appear, it was raised by Alan Bates a sub postmaster in 2000 in Craig y Don, who later founded Justice for sub postmaster Alliance, it was investigated and nothing was found, I presume it was a whitewash exercise a second investigation forced the Post Office to admit there were problem in 2013, even then they still tried to obstruct the investigations by refusing to hand files over to an independent investigation, leading us to the situation today in the court class action by 500 former postmaster to force the hand of Post Office Ltd a state owned company.
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Re: Police open criminal investigation into potential perjury by Fujitsu staff in Post Office IT trials

Post by hans solo »

its looking like jail time coming for some
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