Secret email about the Post Office Scandal. Shh!

The Sethis are still waiting, more than 20 years on

plus: Gareth Jenkins on the stand

Hi everyone

As you may know the Horizon IT inquiry is on hiatus at the moment, but they have published their schedule taking us from the re-start on 21 February all the way through to 12 May. The big news is that former Fujitsu engineers Anne Chambers and Gareth Jenkins will be on the stand for two days each during the first week in May.

Jenkins and Chambers gave evidence about the Horizon IT system as expert witnesses for the Post Office in the criminal and civil courts. Jenkins in Seema Misra’s case (which led to her being sent to prison) and Chambers in Lee Castleton’s case (which led to him being bankrupted).

During the Bates v Post Office group litigation the ‘veracity’ of their evidence caused Mr Justice Fraser such ‘grave concerns’, he sent a confidential file to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who sent it to the Met Police. The Met started Operation Olympos three years ago last month. No arrests have been made.

We do know lawyers for Jenkins asked Sir Wyn Williams, chair of the Horizon IT Inquiry, if he would seek an undertaking from the Attorney General that would restrict the use in any criminal proceedings of evidence he gave to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry. The chair, after taking soundings from Subpostmasters, declined to do so. Read his determination on the matter here.

Jenkins’ lawyers have already indicated that their client may invoke his privilege against self-incrimination and refuse to answer the Inquiry’s questions. Nonetheless, the fact he is down to answer questions for two days suggests we are going to get a very clear idea of where he feels he might incriminate himself if he chooses to remain silent on certain issues.

Were you warned off by the Post Office?

There is inconclusive evidence the Post Office saw their victory against Lee Castleton at the High Court as something of a test case and used it to warn off other Subpostmasters.

There may be some people reading this who have stronger evidence – either something in writing or something they were told by Post Office staff (or legal representatives) suggesting that taking legal action against the Post Office over disputed discrepancies (or suspensions/terminations as a result of disputed discrepancies) would be pointless, as the High Court had already found the Horizon system to be robust.

If that’s the case, Flora Page, a barrister working with Subpostmasters at the inquiry would like to hear from you. If you are a Subpostmaster or former Subpostmaster and you feel you were warned off or threatened (even verbally) as a way of shutting down any ideas you might have had about taking legal action against the Post Office, please get in touch with me and I’ll pass your message on. O

If you know any former Subpostmasters and you can circulate this in your networks I would be most grateful. If any respondent would rather go to Flora directly, you can reach her via her clerk at her chambers.

The Sethis


Baljit Sethi (pictured with his wife Anjana above) was a memorable witness at the Inquiry on 14 Feb last year. His story is at the core of the latest episode of Investigating the Post Office Scandal podcast.

Baljit and Anjana ran a successful Post Office in Romford, Essex for years. In 2001, Baljit took on another branch in Brentwood. The negative discrepancies mounted. Baljit (and a Postmaster colleague he brought in to run his eye over things) became convinced there was something wrong with the dreaded Horizon IT system and begged the Post Office to help. The Post Office’s comedy auditors turned up and found a gap of £17000. Baljit and Anjana were sacked.

After working his three months’ notice the Post Office came back to do a closing audit and found a £38000 surplus, which Baljit saw as proof the IT system did not work. It did not matter. He was sacked anyway (and the Post Office pocketed the surplus, which they later said didn’t exist). The Sethis were sent into a downward spiral and lost both their businesses, entering into an insolvency agreement in the process.

Baljit was one of the first people to raise the alarm about the Horizon IT system and went on the record in the Brentwood Gazette in 2002. This could be the first public red flag raised about the Horizon system, yet it appears it was ignored. The article has been submitted by the Sethis to the inquiry as evidence. You can read it here.

Baljit did not join the group litigation campaign, but was eligible for the Historical Shortfall Scheme, which the Post Office was forced to set up at as part of the litigation settlement. The Sethis applied in 2020 and are still waiting for an offer. In the latest episode of Investigating the Post Office Scandal, we interview Adeep Sethi, Baljit and Anjana’s youngest son. Adeep is trying to help his parents navigate the scheme, which he believes is designed to frustrate, antagonise and ultimately exhaust Subpostmasters who have already had their lives ruined by the organisation.

Adeep is a great talker and advocate for his parents’ cause. I hope you can find the time to listen.

‘Til next time

That’s it from me for a bit. My podcast co-host Rebecca and I both have signifcant birthdays next week (she’s ten years younger than me!) and I’m trying to finalise my next book before the Inquiry re-starts on 21 Feb.

Thanks for all your support and correspondence, as ever.

Very best regards


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