Horizon expert ‘pressurised’ by Post Office over Misra evidence


A Fujitsu software expert who helped build the Horizon system has said he felt pressurised by the Post Office over evidence he gave in the 2010 prosecution of sub-postmistress Seema Misra.

Gareth Jenkins said the Post Office “clearly” wanted him to say that “everything was perfect, and I don’t think I actually said that”.

However, in an email discussing the case at the time, he said Mrs Misra had “jumped on the bandwagon” in blaming Horizon for shortfalls in accounts.

Mrs Misra told the BBC that this was an example of a culture that went “right through the Post Office… [that] Horizon is perfect”.

Mrs Misra was one of hundreds of sub-postmasters and postmistresses prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015 on the strength of faulty data from the Horizon accounting system.

The technology made it look as though money was missing from Post Office branch accounts when it wasn’t.

At Mrs Misra’s trial in 2010 she was accused of theft and false accounting.

The sub-postmistress from West Byfleet, Surrey, was found guilty and sent to prison when she was eight weeks pregnant.

Her conviction was quashed in 2021.

Mr Jenkins said he felt, prior to the prosecution, that he was being pressurised by the Post Office to make out that Horizon was “perfect” in commenting on a report written by an expert witness for the defence.

He added that the management of Mrs Misra’s case was “fairly chaotic”, and that requests from the Post Office legal department had been unclear.

Nevertheless, in an email discussing Mrs Misra’s case in 2010, he wrote that Mrs Misra “saw an article in [tech publication] Computer Weekly indicating that Horizon was unreliable and decided to jump on the bandwagon”.

Mr Jenkins said this was “totally inappropriate wording” and apologised.

Lead counsel for the inquiry Jason Beer asked Mr Jenkins whether he had been able to give evidence dispassionately, or had he been “afflicted” with the belief that sub-postmasters were jumping on the bandwagon in blaming Horizon for shortfalls.

Mr Jenkins said that he didn’t think Horizon was the problem, and that there were “other reasons” for shortfalls.

Responding to Mr Jenkins’ evidence, Mrs Misra said she felt that the former Fujitsu engineer’s comments showed the culture in the Post Office at the time, which was that sub-postmasters were to blame for shortfalls, rather than Horizon being at fault.

Mr Jenkins is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for suspected perjury – lying to court.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here