The Put up Workplace proposed suing Fujitsu over lacking information from its audit path that could possibly be used within the prosecution of victims of the Horizon scandal, one of many best miscarriages of justice in UK historical past.
The main points emerged at the moment as the general public inquiry into the scandal — which noticed 736 managers of native Put up Workplace branches wrongfully convicted of fraud when errors within the EPOS and accounting system was in charge — heard that the publicly owned group had threatened to sue the Japanese provider of the £2.3 billion Horizon system.
The proposed lawsuit, which was later settled, was about one of many six recognized circumstances of lacking information from audits shared with the Put up Workplace that would have been utilized in proof to prosecute victims in circumstances which occurred between 1999 and 2015.
Paula Vennells, Put up Workplace CEO between 2012 and 2019, has beforehand defended the Horizon system, and stated she relied on assurances from Fujitsu that it was “like Fort Knox.”
The proposed lawsuit concerned the damaged audit path information recognized in Might 2001.
Lead counsel to the inquiry, Jason Beer, identified that proof submitted by Fujitsu — which inherited the Horizon system when it purchased British pc firm ICL in 2001 — confirmed it recognized the damaged audit path whereas endeavor an audit information extraction for an inner crime supervisor within the Put up Workplace in relation to an audit report question (ARQ). Fujitsu informed the Put up Workplace of the lacking information, most of which was later recovered from backup tapes, however the public physique was involved about breach of contract.
A submission to the inquiry from Fujitsu stated: “Following additional correspondence, [the Post Office] and Fujitsu agreed to settle any claims relating to the potential breaches by Fujitsu of its contractual obligations in return for a cost of £150,000.”
In his proof to the inquiry at the moment, Paul Patterson, director of Fujitsu Providers Ltd, stated the corporate had been conscious of recognized or suspected points with the ARQ, however the information had been nonetheless relied on by the Put up Workplace in a civil regulation and felony continuing introduced towards the subpostmasters.
He admitted that regardless of a codified settlement stating that the audit path ought to have a stage of safety such that it couldn’t be altered or deleted, Fujitsu might make insertions and amendments into information, which might have had an impression on Put up Workplace model accounts.
Patterson stated: “Adjustments or any changes had been agreed with the Put up Workplace earlier than any motion would or wouldn’t [be taken in relation to bugs and errors and defects]. So I do not suppose it was a secret intervention. I believe it was discussing, ‘This bug, this error causes this… make change’.”
The Fujitsu boss started the listening to with an apology. “Fujitsu apologizes and is sorry for our half on this appalling miscarriage of justice. This inquiry is inspecting these occasions … which contain many events, not least Fujitsu and the Put up Workplace however different organizations and people. At conclusion of the inquiry and the steering from this inquiry, [we will] interact with authorities on appropriate contribution and redress to the subpostmasters and their households.”
Patterson informed MPs earlier this week that Fujitsu bore ethical duty for contributing to the compensation of wrongly convicted subpostmasters.
At at the moment’s inquiry listening to, Patterson stated bugs, errors and defects within the system had been recognized about by all events for the reason that introduction of Horizon in 1999.
He was requested to reply to the truth that Fujitsu workers supplied witness statements to the Put up Workplace so it might prosecute subpostmasters, however usually, the bugs, errors and defects weren’t talked about within the witness statements.
He stated this was “shameful and appalling.”
“My understanding of how our legal guidelines work on this nation [is] that all the proof ought to have been put in entrance of the subpostmaster that the Put up Workplace was counting on to prosecute them,” Patterson stated.
The inquiry continues. ®