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Jail them all

The Post Office chose not to investigate issues with its Horizon software five years before the witch-hunt ended over fears it would undermine prosecutions, documents reveal.

More than 700 sub-postmasters were wrongly prosecuted by the organisation for false accounting, theft and fraud between 1999 and 2015.

However, internal emails show Post Office lawyers talked about investigating issues with the Horizon software as far back as 2010, but did not take action over fears it would undermine prosecutions.

18 thoughts on “Jail them all”

  1. Reading some of the Enquiry testimony yesterday, it seems as if the Post Iffice unvestigators had implemented Two Fist Commit.

  2. I get the feeling that the next few months will test the inertia of the Blob that is the public sector. Can it remain undamaged or will the first slice of Blobness be sheared off?

  3. I do not know what Two Fist Commit means.

    Googling it suggested some very unsavoury sounding links which I hope my browser will not take note of,

  4. @Grist – nothing will change. Ever. The government is made of the same people who run the Civil Service, the media, the CBI, all the big charities, all of “civil society”…..they are all cut from the same cloth. Try and change one bit and the rest all scream together. They all worship the same bollocks – Net Zero, NHS, DEI etc

    How do we get all of them on to the B Ark?

  5. I’ve been sucked way too far. I’ve got to around 1999 so far. This is a explanation of a gem in last night’s reading:

    If a transaction update was interupted, if it was restarted it would reprocess the transactions, but using as the opening balance the balance from where the process was aborted. Eg
    Opening balance 1000
    credit 100 = 1100
    credit 200 = 1300
    debit 150 = 1150
    credit 100 = 1250
    *abort*
    restart
    Opening balance 1250
    credit 100 = 1350
    credit 200 = 1550
    debit 150 = 1400
    credit 100 = 1500
    [Charles Cipione, pg 152]

  6. jgh

    No surely not. If a transaction was interrupted, it didn’t happen.

    Does it mention how they qued e transactions ? By that, I mean is an icomplete transaction removed from the queue and then retried with a new queue number ?

  7. Crikey! If what jgh has posted was widespread there should have been some colossal (ie hard to explain) variances in the performance of some sub-post-offices.

  8. “nothing will change. Ever. The government is made of the same people who run the Civil Service, the media, the CBI, all the big charities, all of “civil society”…..they are all cut from the same cloth. Try and change one bit and the rest all scream together. They all worship the same bollocks – Net Zero, NHS, DEI etc”

    Precisely. Which is why nothing will be done about those responsible for the PO scandal. The State Blob will see any measures suggested against PO management as an existential threat to itself across the board. If the PO management can be put up against the metaphorical wall, then so can those of the NHS, local government, quangos, etc etc. So the Blob won’t allow it. It’ll prevaricate, do everything in its (considerable) power to delay, put up barriers, and ultimately the judiciary will used on to throw out any cases that actually make it to court as not provable. The judiciary know which side their bread is buttered, they can be relied on to never find against the State when its an existential threat.

  9. That the system process was a mess isn’t the worst part, that’s depressingly normal for IT projects. Ignore also the testing miss. A brief investigation should have found the error, given the number of cases.

    Pretend for a moment that the credits in jgh’s example were all pension payments.

    – The SPM appears to have pocketed 400 in fraudulent pension payments (partly covered by a duplicated debit)
    – Pension payments have been duplicated for 3 recipients
    Q1: does the system allow SPM to make additional payments of this sort?
    Q2: did the DWP pay double for these 3?

    Answers would be No (you would hope), and No

    SPM off the hook, then it’s just a case of working out the problem.

  10. Sadly, Jim is almost certainly right that nothing much will happen.

    However, if they really did avoid investigating Horizon in order not to undermine the cases they were prosecuting, isn’t that conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?

    Of course, actually finding who is culpable for that decision is where the blobfog will descend

  11. “However, if they really did avoid investigating Horizon in order not to undermine the cases they were prosecuting, isn’t that conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?”

    Thats pretty much the only line of attack that will have even a slight chance of success. Incompetence is not (sadly) a crime, so just going after people for producing a shit piece of software and then relying on its output won’t get anywhere. Knowing you may have f*cked up but doing nothing to check if you have, and continuing as if all was Ok could well be a crime. But proving all that in court is another thing to having a decent suspicion that X knew Y and did nothing about it.

  12. “It looks quite damming”

    Its damning in a TV documentary way. Yes the PO were staffed by a bunch of incompetent cunts who behaved appallingly. But is it damning in a ‘prove in court that defendant A categorically knew that Horizon was faulty but then instructed someone to say otherwise’ way?

    The problem is that the PO is stuffed with people who (a) knew something might be wrong and said so to their bosses, and (b) people who had (a) telling them something might be wrong, but were also being told by others it was fine. Then (c) people who were so far up the chain they never got to hear about (a) and just had people below them telling them everything was hunky dory. And (d) loads of people being instructed to do nasty things to postmasters, who would have had no clue that (a) existed.

    Its rather like the argument about how banks do or don’t create money. No one bank on its own can create money out of thin air, but the banking system as a whole does. Similarly my guess is that the PO most definitely as an organisation was indulging in criminal activities, but pinning them on any given individual or individuals will prove to be impossible.

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