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Post Office campaigner Alan Bates given knighthood - but insists there's still 'work to do'

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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    edited May 24
    One subtlety is definitely going to be who she went to for Legal Advice.

    Because, in my experience, many Heads of Legal are going to say something like:-

    Complex question...now Public Company...then part of Govt...threshold for when need to take action complex...suggest outsource to X Solicitors. Both due to complexity and in relation to legal privilege....

    Whereas many Heads of Specialist teams may be keener to impress with their specialist knowledge...

    PS. Starting to think I might be right. The new Barrister is seemingly talking a load of sensationalist, irrelevant stuff. But within it he keeps sneaking in "so-you maintain you were relying on the Lawyers..."

    If I was working for Cartwright King, my CV would be being updated. Sharpish :)
    Not saying they have done anything wrong, naturally. I just wouldn't be hanging around to find out ;)
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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    Please note. This is in no way legal advice. I am no longer a Solicitor. But I just wanted to shed some light on stuff. Without giving answers.

    (1) If A sues B for £10 million. Wins. No appeal, time expired. And after that, new facts come to light which cast major doubt as to the basis for the decision

    (2) The answer is not necessarily the same where the case is a Criminal case, and the info comes to the Prosecuting authority.

    It is not as simple as (1) keep the money and (2) go to the authorities. Far from it.

    But let's just say the answer to (1) is easier than (2)...
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    HAYSIEHAYSIE Member Posts: 33,617
    edited May 24
    Essexphil said:

    Please note. This is in no way legal advice. I am no longer a Solicitor. But I just wanted to shed some light on stuff. Without giving answers.

    (1) If A sues B for £10 million. Wins. No appeal, time expired. And after that, new facts come to light which cast major doubt as to the basis for the decision

    (2) The answer is not necessarily the same where the case is a Criminal case, and the info comes to the Prosecuting authority.

    It is not as simple as (1) keep the money and (2) go to the authorities. Far from it.

    But let's just say the answer to (1) is easier than (2)...

    I swear this just happened.
    She was shown a document, and asked a question.
    She responded by saying, I remember reading this.............
    She stopped herself mid sentence, then continued Well actually I dont know if I ever saw this particular document.

    12.19 on Sky N
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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    HAYSIE said:

    Essexphil said:

    Please note. This is in no way legal advice. I am no longer a Solicitor. But I just wanted to shed some light on stuff. Without giving answers.

    (1) If A sues B for £10 million. Wins. No appeal, time expired. And after that, new facts come to light which cast major doubt as to the basis for the decision

    (2) The answer is not necessarily the same where the case is a Criminal case, and the info comes to the Prosecuting authority.

    It is not as simple as (1) keep the money and (2) go to the authorities. Far from it.

    But let's just say the answer to (1) is easier than (2)...

    I swear this just happened.
    She was shown a document, and asked a question.
    She responded by saying, I remember rea...........
    She stopped herself mid sentence, then continued Actually I dont know if I have ever seen this document.
    That is easily explained. And requires a little background into some legal "dark arts".

    Let's start by giving some background, on the assumption the Law has not changed since my day.

    Solicitors and Barristers are not allowed to "coach" witnesses as to what to say. But that is more complex than it sounds.

    Let's use a purely hypothetical Solicitor acting for someone like Mrs Vennells. He/she is not allowed to tell her how to answer questions. But may be permitted to show the consequences of answering a question in 2 different ways. And showing how 1 interpretation may be more, er, beneficial than another. As I said, it is a fine line.

    It is possible that a Witness just might have originally intended to answer a question 1 way. And, under heavy pressure begins to answer a question that 1 way. And then answers it another. The way she intended to answer it when she came in the room. Which may have come up on conversation. But not coaching.

    In my day, pretty much everyone walked that line on advice. The KC knows that. He also knows that someone may later become "aware" that he is doing the exact same thing for his own witnesses.

    No need to make a fuss in his shoes. He now knows rather more than if she had just given either version on its own.

    To inject some humour into this while illustrating my point, I once heard this exchange in a Magistrates Court. Defendant was a muscular young adult accused of beating up a Minor.

    Whenever he was asked why he had done this, he kept answering that he had been "provoked" by the kid. And, whenever the Magistrate tried to pin him down on this, his Solicitor was very good at deflecting the questions.

    Magistrate told the Solicitor that he was not allowed to speak for the next 30 seconds. And then:-

    Q. "How exactly was he provoking you?"
    A. "He kept whining, asking me to give him his fishing rod back"

    2 Truths. 2 different Results.
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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    I no longer get the various legal magazines. But I still get emails giving me the highlights. I found this interesting.

    https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/former-post-office-gc-wont-co-operate-with-public-inquiry/5119761.article

    A former General Counsel of the PO has apparently been invited to give oral evidence in a similar manner to Mrs Vennells. She is willing to give a pre-prepared written statement, but not to answer questions under oath.

    But she is refusing to appear. Incidentally, it is not the 1 that Mrs Vennells tried to throw under the bus yesterday.

    The question of "legal privilege" fascinates me.

    Without wishing to bore people with legal technicalities, much easier to claim legal privilege in relation to publicly-listed Companies than state-owned ones. Much easier to claim legal privilege in relation to a civil matter than a Criminal one.

    But this stuff will probably relate to all 4. Before and after privatisation. Civil and Criminal law.
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    JammyFkerJammyFker Member Posts: 313
    Above my pay grade a lot of this and a horrible situation for some many people involved. One thing that always comes to mind

    "The law is an ****" - In my limited experience the system so overly favours the wealthy and powerful in every country and at times it seems they can make up their own laws when and where they need to. :(
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    TheEdge949TheEdge949 Member Posts: 5,485
    Who are the "power" that were really running things and undoubtedly behind the scenes influencing the direction of the examination.

    I'll wager it's some form of Governmental influence, after all it was they who continued to grant contracts to Fujitsu, presumably after large discretionary payments.

    Now I'm not one of those who believe that our Government doesn't have literal bodies burried, of course they do.

    My view is this, that they hoped that the pressure would get to Vennells and cause her to take her own life thus effectively scapegoating her and pretty much dead ending matters.

    Or that Vennells perjured herself thus creating doubt on any testimony she offered with regard to any criminal proceedings further down the line.

    I think it is safe to assume that some very senior figures would be happy with either of those outcomes.
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    stokefcstokefc Member Posts: 7,714
    I've just c+p this post off the post office thread on our board ,never a truer word from a working class bloke

    The whole thing is indicative of the current world we live in.

    The "higher ups" on the gravy train, getting paid extortionate amounts of money, being completely inept and corrupt, and then evading responsibility.

    I accept the Post Office scandal is one of (if not most) serious issues of late, but they're all the same. Whether they're millionaire bosses pumping sewage into our waters and getting paid unbelievable dividends for the privilege, or MPs scamming tens of thousands on expenses/"hiring" friends, family as staff etc. Or Governments allowing Energy companies to raise costs by 300% "because of Putin/Russia....its unavoidable" only to then announce record profits in the Billions.....

    There is scandal and deceit all over and its all driven by money. The rich just want to get richer and hoard all the wealth, and do whatever the **** they like to do just that. And then pay off Governments, Media etc to evade any punishment.

    Paula Vennells got paid over £5m during her time at the Post Office. She was also awarded a CBE in the process (don't even get me stared on the Royal Family and the millions of pounds of Taxpayers money spent to protect that nonce Andrew). Everyone knows she knew what was going on. She (and the Post Office) was more concerned about how it would make them look and the reputational damage it would cause to come clean, so decided to cover it all up. And as a consequence it destroyed people's lives. They knew exactly what they were doing.

    And now we have to witness her tears? Are we supposed to feel any sympathy for her? And the millionaire lifestyle she has enjoyed, and the honours bestowed upon her? All whilst genuine hardworking people were pummelled and beaten into the ground, and forced to live through absolute ****? They literally treat people like **** on their shoe and don't care about the pain and suffering they cause. They're just happy to keep getting richer and protect their own skin. That's all they care about.

    It's absolutely rotten to the core. They're all saying "I don't recall" or trying to shift blame elsewhere.

    They're trying to ride it out and return to their havens. The utterly, shameless counts.

    The whole lot needs burning down.

    The imminent change in Goverment will be a very small step in the right direction.
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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    HAYSIE said:
    "No-one to blame but herself". Says broken narcissist. That is just not true.

    1999 (or earlier). New computer system begins distorting accounts. She wasn't at the PO
    2000. Bates begins complaining that accounts are being distorted. And sacked for refusing to accept liability for any shortfall. Still not there.
    Early 2000s. Whole host of people wrongly convicted, sued and made Bankrupt-like Lee Castleton

    There was systemic fraud. Carried out before she got there. Unsafe prosecutions, convictions and imprisonment of innocent people-before she got there, and/or before she became CEO.

    Could she have done more to right those wrongs? Almost certainly. As could the people who are giving Fujitsu large amounts of money.

    The injustices had nothing to do with her at the time. She was one of those responsible for injustices in the 2000s not being resolved on the mid- to late 2010s,

    But not "all her fault"
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    stokefcstokefc Member Posts: 7,714
    I agree she's not wholly responsible , why can't they go back and talk to everybody who was involved in this scandal be it PO employees ,Fujitsu and Gov't stooges , lets get the whole episode out into the open
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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    stokefc said:

    I agree she's not wholly responsible , why can't they go back and talk to everybody who was involved in this scandal be it PO employees ,Fujitsu and Gov't stooges , lets get the whole episode out into the open

    The enquiry has terms of reference that give it pretty wide powers. Although they cannot question the Govt for the next 6 weeks.

    But I am a cynic. People have been illegally moving money about for 25 years. Despite the denials, people other than any CEO have probably been investigating this for 10+ tears. And must have been doing so for 5+ years.

    The only thing that is clear to me from the Terms of Reference is that it is known that the financial manipulations were carried out by 1 or more people from Fujitsu. Was that due to incompetence, theft or to keep a lucrative contract? No idea-other than it was more than just incompetence

    I doubt the truth will ever be known
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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    edited May 25
    Things like the Horizon scandal make the UK feel like a bleak place.

    And yet there are always things connected to the scandal that make me proud. Here is one.

    1 of the leading campaigners-I forget her name-was being interviewed by the BBC. And she was asked whether it was true that she had settled her case.

    She replied that she had. Because her Husband was very ill and, for them, money today was more important than money tomorrow. The Reporter said-surely that means you cannot continue to campaign.

    She said there was a clause to that effect in her original offer. And she had made a counter-offer. No extra money. No further claim for her. But she was to be expressly allowed to campaign for others. And that had been accepted.

    There is hope for this World when people can be that selfless. And when even a Lawyer can do the decent thing.
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    Tikay10Tikay10 Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 163,899

    Everywhere I look during the last 3 days - Digital news, TV News, print media, Twitter, all I see is images of Ms Vennells breaking down in tears.

    I fear people are actually enjoying seeing her suffer, almost like, in the old days, crowds turned up to see people hung from a scaffold, or even hung drawn & quartered.

    There's something wrong with society that enjoys seeing an individual being publicly beaten up in this manner. Will they be happy if she takes her own life? I fancy they will. And she might. As I understand it she's a single woman living alone. God knows what her mental state is.

    And yes, I completely agree it's beyond disgraceful that all those innocent Postmasters were prosecuted, many of whom were sent to prison. (Although let's be realistic here, some - maybe just a few - WERE guilty of having their hand in the till. Basic statistical logic tells us that). These people must be fully & quickly compensated, even over-compensated. Send them all a cheque. Now.

    She has plenty of guilt, & has not presented well in the witness box, that's fair to say. But she is not the SOLE person to blame, in fact IMO I doubt that she's more than 10% or 15% to blame.

    She has to pay her bill, & that may include a custodial sentence. Given all the miscarriages of justice, that's right & proper. Send her to prison by all means, but make sure she's not the only one, dozens of others have culpability to varying degrees too. Including the Government(s) & Civil Service.

    But glorifying in her obvious distress, being a rubber-necker eager to see her humiliated, does not sit well with me, notwithstanding the (partial) guilt she must accept.
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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    edited May 25
    Tikay10 said:


    Everywhere I look during the last 3 days - Digital news, TV News, print media, Twitter, all I see is images of Ms Vennells breaking down in tears.

    I fear people are actually enjoying seeing her suffer, almost like, in the old days, crowds turned up to see people hung from a scaffold, or even hung drawn & quartered.

    There's something wrong with society that enjoys seeing an individual being publicly beaten up in this manner. Will they be happy if she takes her own life? I fancy they will. And she might. As I understand it she's a single woman living alone. God knows what her mental state is.

    And yes, I completely agree it's beyond disgraceful that all those innocent Postmasters were prosecuted, many of whom were sent to prison. (Although let's be realistic here, some - maybe just a few - WERE guilty of having their hand in the till. Basic statistical logic tells us that). These people must be fully & quickly compensated, even over-compensated. Send them all a cheque. Now.

    She has plenty of guilt, & has not presented well in the witness box, that's fair to say. But she is not the SOLE person to blame, in fact IMO I doubt that she's more than 10% or 15% to blame.

    She has to pay her bill, & that may include a custodial sentence. Given all the miscarriages of justice, that's right & proper. Send her to prison by all means, but make sure she's not the only one, dozens of others have culpability to varying degrees too. Including the Government(s) & Civil Service.

    But glorifying in her obvious distress, being a rubber-necker eager to see her humiliated, does not sit well with me, notwithstanding the (partial) guilt she must accept.

    In some senses, it is even worse than that.

    A bunch of people were wrongly prosecuted, had their lives ruined, even went to prison, for the actions of other people.

    A lot of those people were present during the 3 days. And some of them showed a mixture of anger and compassion.

    But others fail to see the irony of just how close their suffering is to that of Paula Vennells.

    Some had their hand in the till? Of course. My old next door neighbour was 1. How do I know his hand was in the till? He told me. And, before he told me, he rang the Authorities and made a full confession. Wish he had told me first...

    PS. On the subject of compensation. There is a lot of people in a Group Litigation. Organised by Mr Bates. They have been offered money. A lot of money. Most of them want more money. I'm not saying that is wrong. But some people who claim they want "justice" have been offered that. They want more money. Good luck to them-but they shouldn't pretend it is all about justice

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-600000-of-new-compensation-for-every-wrongfully-convicted-postmaster
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    HAYSIEHAYSIE Member Posts: 33,617
    Tikay10 said:


    Everywhere I look during the last 3 days - Digital news, TV News, print media, Twitter, all I see is images of Ms Vennells breaking down in tears.

    I fear people are actually enjoying seeing her suffer, almost like, in the old days, crowds turned up to see people hung from a scaffold, or even hung drawn & quartered.

    There's something wrong with society that enjoys seeing an individual being publicly beaten up in this manner. Will they be happy if she takes her own life? I fancy they will. And she might. As I understand it she's a single woman living alone. God knows what her mental state is.

    And yes, I completely agree it's beyond disgraceful that all those innocent Postmasters were prosecuted, many of whom were sent to prison. (Although let's be realistic here, some - maybe just a few - WERE guilty of having their hand in the till. Basic statistical logic tells us that). These people must be fully & quickly compensated, even over-compensated. Send them all a cheque. Now.

    She has plenty of guilt, & has not presented well in the witness box, that's fair to say. But she is not the SOLE person to blame, in fact IMO I doubt that she's more than 10% or 15% to blame.

    She has to pay her bill, & that may include a custodial sentence. Given all the miscarriages of justice, that's right & proper. Send her to prison by all means, but make sure she's not the only one, dozens of others have culpability to varying degrees too. Including the Government(s) & Civil Service.

    But glorifying in her obvious distress, being a rubber-necker eager to see her humiliated, does not sit well with me, notwithstanding the (partial) guilt she must accept.

    It has been disturbing to watch her get so upset.
    Although I am sure that the victims will see it as her getting her comeuppance, and you cant really blame them.

    There were 4 suicides.
    They lost their jobs.
    They were forced to repay money that they hadnt stolen.
    Many suffered in the long term, through being unable to get a responsible job, because of their criminal conviction.
    I dont think that you can put a price on their humiliation, and complete loss of reputation in their local communities.

    I think that someone in her position can still hold their head up, as long as they have acted honestly, and above board.
    She hasnt.
    So she is the author of her own misfortune.

    There are a couple of things that have struck me over the last couple of days.

    Martin Griffiths was the guy who committed suicide by walking in front of a bus.
    She subsequently inferred that he had some mental health problems, and some family issues.
    She was embarrassed when questioned over this.
    She was at a loss when asked how she became aware of this.
    He was treated abominably by the PO.
    I cant imagine how his family may feel regarding her accusations.

    Her boss withdrew her support.

    She minimised the number of cases that were reviewed.
    Sacked the auditors when they produced incontrovertible proof that there was a problem with Horizon.

    She found out about the Fujitsu expert witness dodgy evidence in a number of court cases in 2013.
    She didnt even ask how many cases he had given evidence in.
    So this was 2 years before she gave the evidence to the MPs, that was untrue.

    They spent £321,000 in legal fees on one case.
    This was spent in order to recover £25,000.
    Why would you do that?
    Doesnt this seem ridiculous?
    I am sure it does, unless the motive was to crush the man, bankrupt him, and deter others from taking their cases to court.

    She was personally responsible for removing an admission regarding the existence of bugs in the Horizon system, from the Royal Mail IPO Prospectus, in 2013.
    She commented later that she had fully earned her keep on this one.
    This was done with the intention of deceiving potential investors.

    Under her leadership a bigger priority was given to minimising press coverage, than the disastrous effect their actions were having on peoples lives.

    Her excuses have been pathetic.
    This was a massive problem, and should have been her primary focus.
    It therefore seems silly to blame her subordinates, and claim she didnt receive emails, or did receive them, but didnt understand them, or that they have a different meaning today, than they did then.






    Post Office scandal's four 'suicide' victims - devastated father and wife overwhelmed by 'shame'


    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/post-office-scandals-four-suicide-32852231.amp
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    HAYSIEHAYSIE Member Posts: 33,617
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    HAYSIEHAYSIE Member Posts: 33,617
    Horizon inquiry: Paula Vennells booed for saying Post Office scandal programme ‘bored’ her


    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/horizon-inquiry-paula-vennells-sobs-144611175.html
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