Tuesday 12 March 2019

More reaction to the first day of the Horizon trial

And a whole lot you wouldn't...
Sam Greenhill from the Daily Mail, Jane Croft from the Financial Times and Karl Flinders from Computer Weekly were all in court yesterday and the Managing Director of Second Sight looks like he's had a good read of the transcript of yesterday's proceedings, judging by the tweets he published this morning.

Sam Greenhill lasered-in on some choice revelations by the claimants QC, Patrick Green, representing the 550+ former Subpostmasters who are suing the Post Office. Notably Mr Green's statement that: ‘It has taken the process of this group litigation to establish that the Post Office has not been truthful.’

Mr Green goes on to describe the Dalmellington bug in some detail which led one poor woman, Ann Ireland, the Dalmellington Postmaster to rack up a £24,000 by pressing one button on her Horizon terminal screen three times after it had frozen.

Mr Green explains how, in 2016,  the Post Office failed to even acknowledge the Dalmellington bug to the claimants in its initial letter of response to the legal action.

Sam also took the time to interview Karen Wilson - a claimant who had come to court (as she did on the first day of the Common Issues trial) carrying a portrait of her husband and some of his ashes. Julian Wilson was prosecuted by the Post Office and convicted of false accounting. He died in 2016.

I urge you to read and share Sam's article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6797193/More-500-village-postmasters-wrongly-hounded-stealing-millions-system.html

(incidentally, Sam's piece contains a quote I was desperately searching for in the transcript last night so I could put it in my piece. It is a quote from the Post Office QC Mr de Garr Robinson, who dismisses Subpostmasters' concerns about Horizon with the words: "[Their] suspicion of Horizon is driven by the natural human scepticism to technology." I heard it said and Sam clearly recorded it in his shorthand notebook. For some reason this quote did not make it into the unperfected transcript of yesterday's proceedings. I am sure, once the stenographers have had a chance to listen to the audio recordings it will be in there.)

Jane Croft from the Financial Times has written an article which is perhaps a little closer, content-wise to what I posted last night. She, like me, focuses on Horizon's internal "high risk" rating by the Post Office. Jane's piece is here: https://www.ft.com/content/efe4deea-440f-11e9-a965-23d669740bfb

Let's finally deal with what Ron Warmington, Managing Director of Second Sight has tweeted this morning. Mr Warmington, along with his fellow Second Sight Director Ian Henderson (who is a witness in this trial), spent two years investigating the Post Office's Horizon IT system. In yesterday's transcript, the claimants' QC brings up the evidence of Richard Roll, the Fujitsu Horizon support employee who described a process whereby Fujitsu staff could inject transactions into branch accounts using the Subpostmasters' branch ID and not that of the Fujitsu super users. It's a lengthy chunk of prose - so go to the transcript and search for this phrase "The ability to remotely access the Horizon system at branch level was extensive".

Mr Green was actually making a point about the Post Office's reluctance to agree that Mr Roll's evidence was correct, but it is the (now) agreed fact that Fujitsu staff had the ability to use Subpostmasters' branch ID which Mr Warmington reacts to in his tweets below:

I hope the Criminal Cases Review Commission reads twitter.

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