Post Office Horizon IT investigation: Paula Vennells to be questioned by lawyers representing victims – live | Horizon Post Office Scandal

Key events

Nick Walliswho has been writing about the Post Office Horizon IT scandal for many years and who runs the Post Office Scandal blog, wrote a short article last night pointing out two groups of people who are excluded from the Post Office Horizon system breaches bill that it only needs royal assent to become law in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Firstly, Scottish subpostmasters are not included. Those prosecuted under Scottish law will not have their convictions overturned at Westminster.

Secondly, and somewhat more complex, are those who have already He appealed his conviction and failed to have it overturned in court. Wallis’ details on these cases are worth reading.


Paula Vennells has arrived at Aldwych House in London for today’s hearing. It is scheduled to begin at 9:45 a.m.

Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells arrives to give evidence at the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry at Aldwych House on May 24. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

As a reminder, the investigation is being carried out because more than 700 subpostmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office and handed down criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015 during a period when Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon computer system was known to have bugs, some of which made it appear as though money was missing from their branches.

Hundreds of deputy principals are still waiting for compensation for the damage caused to their lives and reputations.

In parliament last night, MPs agreed to amendments made in the House of Lords to the Post Office Crimes (Horizon System) Bill, which will overturn hundreds of convictions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland without postmasters having to go through the appeals court. Now only royal consent is required for its implementation.


Once again, members of the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA) have gathered ahead of the hearing in London with their protest banner detailing their demands, which include “identifying and holding accountable the individuals responsible.”

Members of the Justice For Subpostmaster Alliance (JFSA) protest outside Aldwych House in central London on May 24. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

During yesterday’s session, Paula Vennells admitted that she was “possibly” hoping that a mediation plan with the subpostmasters would “minimize compensation.”

Vennells accepted that an email he sent in August 2013 in which he said “the hope of mediation was to avoid or minimize compensation” sounded as if subpostmasters would only be welcomed into the scheme if they agreed to receive a “pat on the back.” the head and a symbolic payment.”

PA Media reports that he told the Horizon IT inquiry he did not believe the mediation scheme, set up for people who believed they had been unfairly prosecuted by the Post Office, was to pay “substantial figures”.

In 2011, in an email he sent, he stated his “goal” that all press “should be scoured for negative comments and refuted.” He made the comments after being notified about a Private Eye article about the Horizon IT system and criticism from subpostmasters.

The inquiry also heard that the former chief executive followed a “grossly inappropriate” suggestion not to review all of the deputy postmaster’s prosecutions after her communications boss said it would end up on “front page news”.

The public gallery at the inquiry, made up mainly of subpostmasters, complained loudly after Vennells said he could not remember whether he had followed the “PR’s advice” to review past prosecutions. Senior counsel Jason Beer KC told Vennells that in his witness statement he said he was being denied legal advice, but that he appeared to receive legal advice from PR and IT heads.


Our chief reporter, Dan Boffey, was watching yesterday’s session. Here is her report.


Welcome and opening summary…

Former Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells will face a third day of questioning in London today under the Post Office Horizon IT investigation.

Unlike the previous two days, when she was questioned by the investigation’s lead lawyer, Jason Beer KC, today she will be questioned directly by legal teams representing some of the victims of the scandal, which has been described as “the largest series of illicit cases.” convictions in British legal history” by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9.45am and you can watch it here. The transmission is delayed by three minutes.


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