Possibly not enough

Paula Vennells, the former chief executive of the Post Office, could be stripped of her CBE under Government plans to launch a review into honours awarded to people embroiled in the Horizon subpostmasters scandal.

The Telegraph has been told that ministers are looking at launching a review into the scandal, which is expected to involve a list of names of figures involved being compiled, along with an assessment of the level of their involvement.

Sources said Mr Johnson and Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, were “very exercised” about the scandal, which is considered the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British history.

Possibly we might run with the idea of substantial jail time. To, you know, encourage other civil servants – or even corporate executives – to exercise their duty of care in the future?

25 thoughts on “Possibly not enough”

  1. Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice? Not my field, but could they get a charge to stick?

  2. A bloody good birching first would help, then confiscation of her assets and those of the other bastards implicated. The assets are, to an extent, the proceeds of crime.

  3. Would there not be a civil case for damages? It would be good to see them stripped of ever penny they own.

  4. A civil case would be good, but they may have indemnity or insurance. An arrest, surrender of passport and years and years of weekly bail hearings would be a start.

  5. The overwhelming power of the civil service cabal will ensure that her gong and pension remain in situ.

    Lessons will of course be learned and ADDITIONAL resources expended to ensure it never happens again until the next time it does.

  6. When, or if, it is decided that someone should take the blame, just remember that responsibility is like water. It tends to find the lowest possible level.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    The overwhelming power of the civil service cabal will ensure that her gong and pension remain in situ.

    Indeed, they will fight tooth and nail to ensure a precedent isn’t set.

  8. Ain’t going to happen. Buckland? Wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. Like most of the Conservatives, talks a good “tough on crime” game, but fails to deliver.

  9. “ministers are looking at launching a review” of possible terms of reference governing the breadth and depth of the remit of such a committee, with a view to establishing, in the fullness of time, and taking into account all the possible ramifications in re the grade, rank and influence of the respondents, an exploratory sub-committee of suitably qualified personnel to carry out the investigation.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    I heard a similar story attributed to Theodoric the Great. A woman complained to him that a couple of judges had taken years over her simple case. Theodoric ordered them to settle the case and when they had done so he had them executed.

    They didn’t tell us what the the equivalent of pour encourager les autres was in bastardised Latin/Goth.

  11. . . . the precedent of Admiral Byng.

    So the real guilty parties are going to get off? Who’s the scapegoat?

  12. A Government source said: “These honours are often dished out to people in the public sector simply for doing their jobs, even when they are completely hopeless [at] them.”

    Maybe stop doing that.

  13. Fujitsu shouldn’t be off the hook for the system either. From what I’ve read it seems the system didn’t implement one of the crucial features of a database – an update should happen in full or not at all – the ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, durability) property. Transactions partially completed in communication failures leading to an inconsistency in accounting entries between the sub-postmaster syatem and the central Post Office system. That is an unforgivable design flaw.

    Of course the Post Office people who continued with prosecutions knowing of the flaw should really be flung into the worst Category A prison & forgotten.

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    “A government source said…….”

    Projection 1.01

    There’s a code to this:

    “A government source said…….” PPS or Spad

    “A senior government source said…….” Minister / Whip

    “A very senior government source said…….” Cabinet minister / Chief Whip

  15. Reading the judgments on the wiki page, it is clear that the PO was using its size and muscle to try to obscure the truth until very recently. The PO wants the taxpayer to pay for the costs of their criminality. Reading over the reports and various inquiries, it was clear that the litigation team at the Post Office was something of a black box and the management chose not to check what was going on. Given the size of the losses inflicted on taxpayers, there are good reasons to think we should pursue civil claims against the former management and criminal claims against those who engaged in malicious prosecution. The Post Office should be told that if they want to get taxpayer money, it will be contingent on pursuing claims against the management who caused the losses. There should also be an audit of DBEIS and an investigation of whether the civil servants in Whitehall knew anything about this calamity. Obviously, those with oversight of the PO within the department should be reprimanded and shipped off to the DVLA.

  16. TG
    It seems as if Fujitsu failed to implement one of the most fundamental protocols of DB management : Two ohase commit. They also did not seem to have used a transaction monitor that would have prevented exactly this kind of error.

    My late missus would in her grave at such a heresy.

  17. It is unbelievable how obvious a mistake it was and how long they took to correct it.
    There’s a lot of people who should be done for perjury as the testimony that the system couldn’t possibly make this type of mistake was instrumental in the convictions.

  18. @BniC

    They operated in a parallel universe. Read the brief descriptions of the judgments here:


    Initially the PO wanted all the evidence dismissed because it didn’t help them (judgement 2)
    Then they lost (judgment 3) and their witnesses were found to be unreliable.
    Before J3 was even given the PO decided to ask the judge to recuse himself mainly because he did not agree with the PO. The judge told them they were morons. (Judgment 4).
    The PO appeals. The CoA says the judge was right and the PO are morons. recusal appeal fails.
    The PO wants leave to appeal the judgment for the same reasons as their desire to have the evidence dismissed (J2) and because they don’t like the judge (J4). Judge says no, you cannot appeal. The CoA agrees with the judge.

    This is two years ago. And now the morons want the taxpayers to pay. The only way these idiots should get the money is after we prosecute their in house lawyers for malicious prosecution and after the idiots have purged their own ranks of the idiots involved and gone after them for civil damages. Gross negligence does not even begin to cover this.

  19. Who would have guessed that Jack Straw’s wife would be involved too? So Labour Party folk were up to their necks in it. Christ on a bike!

  20. @BniC, true, but surely perjury would only apply to PO/Fujitsu employees who gave evidence in court or made statements. It would not cover the senior management.

    The PO’s legal team should certainly be investigated for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and it is difficult to believe that senior management were not aware of what was happening.

  21. @Sam Jones

    This letter from Paula Vennells to the BEIS committee shows that the board trusted their internal lawyers and that they are isolated from responsibility here


    26-32 of her points.

    The problem for Vennells is that the legal strategy pursued by the PO in the group litigation started during her tenure as CEO. Which was to claim that any evidence they did not like should be excluded and to brazen their way through. Given the amounts being spent, this should have been a senior executive decision and given their comprehensive loss at trial, serious doubts have to be raised about whether the money was well spent.

    The correct strategy will be to go after the idiots at BEIS who were meant to be overseeing the PO, which should lead to some swift buck passing downwards. Any taxpayer funding for the PO should be contingent on a full disclosure of all internal discussion about the court case so that any guilty parties can be pursued for civil damages. And a full disclosure of what the internal prosecution unit knew and when.

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