Post Office Inquiry live: I didn’t realise Post Office brought its own prosecutions, says Alan Cook – BBC News


I’ve been reading through parts of Alan Cook’s witness statement – which has just been made available to members of the press.

Sam Stevens, counsel for the inquiry, is taking Cook through parts of that statement, in particular surrounding his knowledge about the prosecutions of sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses during his tenure.

As we now know, one of the key issues of this scandal is the fact the Post Office itself was prosecuting a large number of these cases.

Cook says it is one of his regrets that he did not know the Post Office was the prosecuting authority in around two thirds of the cases.

He argues the language used in Post Office documentation did not make it clear that the Post Office had initiated proceedings.

But Stevens says minutes from one Post Office board meeting outlined the company has a “principle of undertaking criminal prosecutions”.

Cook says he is “not blaming others for this” but he had not before encountered a situations where a trading entity could initiate its own criminal proceedings.

Asked what he would have said had he known, he says he would have been “uncomfortable” over questions of independence and would have spelled out the risks.

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