HomeIndices AnalysisPost Office accused of lawyer lying to Horizon inquiry

Post Office accused of lawyer lying to Horizon inquiry

A former top lawyer at the Post Office has been accused of knowingly withholding crucial information regarding a bug in the Horizon IT system that led to numerous wrongful prosecutions of sub-postmasters. Jarnail Singh, who served as a senior in-house lawyer and head of criminal law at the Post Office from 2012, denied having any knowledge of the bug despite evidence showing otherwise.

The accusation was made during the ongoing inquiry into the Horizon scandal, which has brought to light the unjust prosecutions of sub-postmasters due to the faulty accounting system. Singh was accused by Jason Beer KC, counsel to the inquiry, of lying about his knowledge of the bug. Beer presented evidence that showed Singh had been copied on an email containing a report that identified the glitch in the system just three days before the case of sub-postmaster Seema Misra began in October 2010.

Misra, who was eight weeks pregnant at the time, was wrongfully convicted of stealing £74,000 from her branch in West Byfleet, Surrey and handed a 15-month prison sentence. However, her conviction was later overturned by the Court of Appeal. Beer stated that the report sent to Singh by Fujitsu engineer Gareth Jenkins described a bug that could lead to false accusations of theft among sub-postmasters. He also pointed out that Singh had saved the report to his drive and printed it out just nine minutes after receiving it, despite claiming to have no knowledge of it for years.

Beer accused Singh of lying to the inquiry and failing to disclose crucial information to the defence or court prior to Misra’s prosecution. He asked, “You’d known about the bug all along, hadn’t you, Mr Singh?” To which Singh responded, “No, that’s not true.”

Singh also denied any suggestion of a cover-up but admitted that mistakes were made in the prosecution of Misra. He expressed deep regret for the suffering and damage caused to Misra and others who were wrongfully convicted due to the bug in the system. The inquiry has brought to light over 700 wrongful convictions dating back from 1995 to 2015, with victims facing not only prison but also financial ruin and social ostracism. The scandal gained renewed attention after the broadcast of the drama “Mr Bates vs The Post Office” on ITV, leading to government action to clear names and provide compensation to the victims.

No comments

leave a comment