Post Office Scandal Compensation & Accountability

Post Office Scandal Compensation & Accountability

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Christopher Head started this petition to BEIS (Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) (HM Government) and

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The Post Office Horizon scandal.  The Post Office which is a government and public owned company has been proven in the High Court to be hiding information regarding the robustness of its IT equipment, treating its staff in 'capricious, arbitrary ways which would not be unfamiliar to a mid-Victorian factory Owner and then seeking to cover it up either with government help or through total incompetence.  The government had a duty to get it resolved as mentioned in National Audit Office and Internal Cross Party government documents regarding ‘Arms length businesses’ controlled by government for which Post Office is one of them.

There are over 550 claimants who completed costly litigation, 2500 who have now joined the Historical Shortfall scheme and over 730 potential wrongful convictions taking this scandal to over 3500 people.  Lives were destroyed, businesses lost, homes repossessed, bankruptcies, false imprisonment, families destroyed, health issues and suicides, all down to a total cover up of the truth.  (We now know that close to 900 private prosecutions were carried out by Post Office Ltd since Horizon came on the scene in 1999 and up to 736 maybe unsafe.

I was one of these claimants and due to lack of government intervention for which they were responsible for doing we had to find third party funding to bring this to a head.  This means under UK law the cost of funding cannot be recovered from the Post Office and it is estimated claimants will not even recover a tiny fraction of losses incurred.  Those who made the decisions including directors, management and the chairman remain running this business.  The EX CEO Paula Vennells who decided to resign days before the first substantial judgement was released by the High Court has since been awarded a CBE, a position in the cabinet office of government and also chairs one of the largest NHS Groups (Imperial NHS).  The support of MP's is growing in recent weeks across both sides of the house.  

We have due to the petition, convictions being overturned and a strong voice in the House of Commons got our statutory inquiry to ensure ALL those responsible are held to account and all those who suffered are compensated for losses that they had no control over due to a failing IT system , draconian unfair contracts and horrific actions by Post Office Ltd. 

The Post Office continued to fight the litigation even though days before they responded to the claimants pre-court action letter they held a board meeting where they approved a document that stated their Horizon IT system was 'not fit for purpose'.  They then proceeded to spend over 100 million pounds of taxpayer cash telling the court Horizon was definitely robust, this alone proves they were willing to cover up the truth.  It was later found that in April 2021 at the Court of Appeal Post Office had withheld key documents from the earlier High Court litigation which showed they knew back in 2013 there were potential problems with Horizon and some of the expert witnesses may have given false evidence. Here is an extract of the judgement handed down on the 16th December 2019 :-

“The IT Strategy, which is referred to in this Update Decision Paper, and outlined that “the IT [Horizon] was not fit for purpose” and which was approved in July 2016 by the Post Office Board is, in my judgment, entirely consistent with my conclusions on the evidence. It is not, however, consistent with the Post Office’s response to the claimants’ pre-action letter, or the Defence in the group litigation, or the evidence adduced by the Post Office in the Horizon Issues trial. The Post Office’s solicitors’ response to the pre-action letter is dated 28 July 2016, very lengthy, and states that “the investigations to date have consistently pointed towards human error or dishonest conduct in branches as the most likely cause of shortfalls.” [H 954]

All this was a complete lie and they were willing to allow Postmasters to lose their livelihoods, their families, some their dignity and others their lives whilst at the same time blowing through millions in taxpayer cash to do so.

We are  now calling on this government to provide ALL victims of this scandal with the FULL and FAIR compensation they are entitled to.  This involves ensuring that all those affected are returned to the position they would have been in had they not encountered the Horizon scandal and compensated for the pain, trauma and suffering they have through including their families.  

We are now also calling for the immediate resignation of Post Office Chairman Tim Parker who is also the Chairman of Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal service, which is a conflict of interest.  Tim Parker has now resided over the disastrous civil litigation where the Post Office was heavily criticised by Justice Fraser, then he oversaw the attempted recusal application of Justice Fraser which was again heavily criticised by Court of Appeal Lord Justice Coulson, and now finally he has overseen the latest Court of Appeal decision.  The judgement described as the most devastating judgment ever handed down by this court.  Over all of this he has allowed the Post Office to burn through over £100 million of taxpayer cash as well as recruiting several legal firms to attempt to defend themselves.  His position is now untenable.

Your signature will help us put the pressure on government and the relevant ministers so those that have suffered enormously over a 20 year period can get the answers, accountability and justice they rightly deserve and finally move on with their lives.  

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