A Week in the Post Office Scandal: Distorting Justice and Disrespecting Parliament

The Post Office has faced numerous accusations and demands in recent weeks, including perverting the course of justice and contempt of Parliament. There have been calls for the Post Office to pay victims more quickly and accusations that it is still not being transparent. These issues have been widely reported in the media, particularly since the airing of ITV’s drama on the scandal. Last week, the Parliamentary select committee heard testimony on financial redress for subpostmasters and there were damning comments made by KC Edward Henry during the public inquiry into the scandal. A dispute between the Post Office and its former chairman, Henry Staunton, overshadowed details of slow payments to victims, which were revealed in a Department for Business and Trade committee meeting. This dispute led to questions about the honesty of Post Office boss Nick Read, who denied considering resignation during the committee hearing. However, former chairman Henry Staunton claimed that Read had threatened to resign if his demands for a pay rise were rejected. The committee now requires copies of documents that allegedly prove Read’s statements to be false, which could be considered contempt of Parliament. During the hearing, Read also exaggerated the Post Office’s efforts to investigate potential wrongful convictions and sanctions of subpostmasters using the Capture system. However, it was revealed that the Post Office had not contacted affected individuals, despite claiming to have done so. Accusations of contempt of Parliament were then overshadowed by allegations that the Post Office conspired to pervert the course of justice, as stated in KC’s closing statement for the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry. These allegations were made before the select committee could address the slowness of financial redress. Witnesses at the committee hearing highlighted the complexity and unfairness of the redress schemes for former subpostmasters and called for a legally binding deadline for payments and the reopening of settlements agreed without legal representation. There were also calls for Horizon IT supplier Fujitsu to contribute to the compensation costs, which are estimated to exceed £1bn. The treatment of subpostmasters by the Post Office has generated public disgust, further amplified by The Times revealing that the Post Office has spent more on legal fees related to the scandal than on compensating the victims. This scandal was first exposed by Computer Weekly in 2009, and the media has continued to cover the stories of subpostmasters affected by the Horizon system.

Unlock your business potential with our expert guidance. Get in touch now!