Secret email about the Post Office Scandal. Shh!

Ed Henry KC: “You couldn’t contrive a more ridiculous state of affairs”

Ed Henry on the disclosure debacle, latest from the Inquiry, the Police being Terrible, more CCRC referrals and one strange tale from the archives…

Hi everyone

The gentleman pictured on the right is Ed Henry KC, who represents a number of Subpostmasters at the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry.

I interviewed Ed for the Sunday Times piece which was published on 15 July but reasons of space limited me to a single quote. As with Professor Moorhead and Lord Arbuthnot, I felt it would be sensible to publish a longer version of our discussion. You can read it here.

I have also put a blog link up to the BBC Sounds page containing the full interview with Post Office CEO Nick Read with a bit of context as to the circumstance just for the record.

Julie Wolstenholme

On returning from Devon on Thursday, I spent most of Friday catching up with the Inquiry’s final three days of oral hearings before the summer break. The three days’ hearings comprised a mini-investigation into the Cleveley case.

In 2001, the Post Offfice attempted to sue the Cleveley Postmaster, Julie Wolstenholme, for the return of their Horizon terminals after they sacked her over a number of unexplained discrepancies.

Ms Wolstenholme believed the discrepancies were entirely down to Horizon and counter-sued for wrongful termination. She had refused to return the terminals on the basis that they contained information which she believed would prove her right.

By 2003, Jason Coyne had been jointly instructed as an independent IT expert in the civil case. He concluded there were obvious problems with Horizon. On reading his report the Post Office first enlisted Fujitsu to try to get Coyne to change his mind. Then, in 2004, when they realised he wasn’t going to change his mind, the Post Office settled, with the express intention of keeping Coyne’s report out of the public domain.

It was a desperately shabby and inept affair, with Fujitsu proferring incorrect factual analysis of its own data and the Post Office submitting a witness statement which contained untrue evidence to support its case.

Coyne’s conclusions and responses were robust (and prescient). The integrity (in absentia) of Julie Wolstenholme shone through proceedings. I don’t know why she wasn’t able to give evidence to the Inquiry – perhaps she’s no longer with us.

If you have the time, you can read through the transcripts of last week’s proceedings here. Or you can read the Law Gazette’s write up of Jason Coyne’s oral evidence here.

Met police confirm criminal complaint re Post Office bonuses

I have been trying for weeks to get the Met Police to confirm there has been a complaint alleging criminality against several senior execs at the Post Office over their failure to return bonuses which the complainant believes were falsely obtained (see Bonusgate). I knew the complaint had been made, and was able to break the news in the Sunday Times piece below (with a response from the Post Office).


What I didn’t know was what the police were doing about it. I wrote to ask, and, whilst I was asking, requested an update on Op Olympus, the criminal investigation started at the request of the Director of Public Prosecutions on receipt of a file from the Bates v Post Office managing judge Mr Justice Fraser more than three years ago.

When I last contacted them, the Police confirmed nothing had changed since Sep 2022. At that point they stated that nothing had changed since 2021 – two people had been questioned under caution, with no arrests.

Hapless plod

This time round, the Met repeatedly ignored my enquiries until last week when I told them I would be raising a formal complaint if I didn’t get a reply. Perhaps realising more hassle would come from ignoring me than actually bothering to respond, after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, I got this on the complaint over bonuses:

“The MPS have received an allegation, and are assessing to determine whether there are grounds to suspect a criminal offence has taken place. We remain fully supportive of the ongoing Public Inquiry. We take any report or allegations seriously.”

And this on Op Olympos:

“There have been no further arrests or interviews under caution since September 2022. There is an ongoing Public Inquiry and this has a direct bearing on the pace of and how we proceed with this ongoing investigation. We cannot comment beyond that.”

Hapless plod pt 2

At the beginning of June I asked the Met (under FOI) when they stopped using racist terminology in their Indentification Codes, so that it would be possible to contrast it to the Post Office’s continued usage of offensive terms into the last decade.

We are well over the 20 day limit for a response to my FOI request. Despite repeated emails I have not received an acknowledgment that their response is late, let alone a reason for it, or any indication when I might get a substantive answer. I have got the Information Comissioner’s office involved and will pursue a formal complaint if I don’t get a reply by Tuesday.

Two more referrals from the CCRC

The CCRC have referred two more cases for appeal whilst pushing back against Lord Arbuthnot’s call for every Post Office prosecution to be examined. Computer Weekly has written that up here.

From the archives

Whilst looking for info on Op Olympos on my old site, Post Office Trial, I came across a jaw-dropping story which, I think, deserves another airing. It may astound anyone who isn’t fully across the Post Office’s capacity for malign stupidity.

Trouble Up North (of England) is a long read, but it gives some indication as to the Post Office’s managerial incompetence, its inability or unwillingness to stop actual criminality in its ranks and the human cost to a whistleblower caught up in it all.

That’s it from me for now

I am (probably) going to step away from Post Office things in August, but I hope to be back to follow the Inquiry when it re-convenes in September. Obviously if something big happens I will do my best to cover it, but I am Not At My Desk for most of next month, so I won’t be looking intently at everything.

Do please continue to send me any information you consider relevant. And if you are looking for a good beach read, can I recommend perhaps picking up one of my books – particularly the Other One which currently needs all the help it can get. It has several brilliant reviews, but with a marketing budget of nil, trying to find an audience for it has proved very difficult. Your purchase will make a small publisher very happy.

I hope whatever you get up to this summer is relaxing and recharging and I look forward to writing to you again in the autumn.

Very best


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