Police investigating possible perjury by ex-Fujitsu employees during the trials of subpostmasters wrongly convicted of theft and fraud have interviewed a former subpostmaster witness.
almost This is two years after he started his investigationThe Metropolitan Police interviewed a former subpostmaster who was blamed for unexplained accounting deficiencies which were later proved to be due to a fault in the Fujitsu-supplied Horizon system, which has been used in post office branches since 1999 to automate accounts.
According to a source, the former subpostmaster – a key witness – has been interviewed in recent days.
Ian Ross, Director of Tartan Forensics, a Former police officer And an expert enlisted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said: ‘This is an investigation into alleged perjury, the source of the information is a High Court judge, not some backstreet informant, but the Metropolitan Police dragged it out for two years. . There is nothing ‘complicated’ about it. So is this update progress? Can’t believe it.”
Subpostmasters, who run and own post office branches, were blamed and punished for accounting deficiencies that were actually computer errors. The Horizon scandal, named after the computer system used in the Post Office branch, became the biggest miscarriage of justice in UK history. The Post Office has always denied that Horizon could be responsible for the shortages, and subpostmasters and their families have had their lives turned upside down, financially ruined with criminal prosecutions for hundreds and many more.
More than 700 subpostmasters were convicted of crimes based on Horizon data as evidence. There are more than 80 of them So far the wrongful conviction has been overturnedWith many more expected to follow.
Evidence given by former Fujitsu workers, who acted as expert witnesses for the Post Office during the subpostmaster trial, raised concerns for Judge Peter Fraser during a High Court group litigation order (GLO) in which subpostmasters were held responsible for unexplained damage caused by computer errors – for which they were convicted and sentenced. is given
The GLO, which began in 2018, saw 555 former subpostmasters testify that the Horizon error caused unexplained harm, which the Post Office vehemently denied for nearly two decades.
Transfer before that Judgment in the second trial In December 2019, Fraser said he was referring the information to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) because he had concerns about the accuracy of evidence given to the court by Fujitsu in previous trials of subpostmasters.
Fraser said: “Based on the knowledge I have gained through both conducting the trial and writing the Horizon Issue judgment, I have very serious concerns about the veracity of evidence given to other courts by Fujitsu employees in previous proceedings about the known existence of bugs. , Errors and Errors in the Horizon System.”
In January 2020, DPP Referring to Fraser’s concern Regarding the accuracy of the evidence given by Fujitsu employees to the police. In November 2020, the Metropolitan Police launched a criminal investigation. Gareth Jenkins and Anne Chambers Former Fujitsu employees under investigation for possible perjury.
More revelations have since come about what the Post Office knew about the reliability of the evidence. In March 2021, during a Court of Appeal hearing where 42 former subpostmasters sought to plead guilty, it was revealed that a lawyer working for the Post Office It said one of its expert witnesses had misled the court in the trial of subpostmasters Prosecuted for financial crimes.
The advice, provided by a lawyer contracted by the Post Office in 2013, said Witness from Fujitsu, Gareth Jenkins, should not be used again. Called The Clarke Advice, it was given to the Post Office in 2013 by Simon Clarke of Cartwright King, who worked for it.
Computer Weekly first reported problems with the system in 2009, when it The story of a group of subpostmasters has come to light (See timeline of articles below).