Secret email about the Post Office Scandal. Shh!

“This guy should never be let near a witness-box again”

And several other things…


Another Friday update for you, numbered this time, for your easy reading pleasure.

1) I was contacted by Dr Jeremy Dawson, an academic in Australia, who had clearly been brooding on the Bates v Post Office litigation, particularly the work of the Post Office’s independent IT expert, Dr Robert Worden. Dr Dawson sent me his thoughts, and I suggested he publish them. He did, on the Australian National University servers. He then very kindly gave me permission to re-post the same article on my blog. You can read it here.

When I told twitter about this, Professor Steven Murdoch said:

“An interesting analysis, by Jeremy Dawson, of the statistical arguments put forward by the Post Office. It takes a slightly different approach to mine, but comes to equivalent conclusions.”

James Christie said:

“I agree strongly with Jeremy Dawson’s whole article. He makes a couple of points I argued in my article “The Post Office Horizon IT scandal and the presumption of the dependability of computer evidence”.

And Ron Warmington, who is quoted in Dr Dawson’s article, says:

“Hurrah! Jeremy’s analysis, particularly in regard to Suspense Accounts, and his comment: “The Post Office runs an accounting system which can’t tell where all their money has come from. So why does it think that its accounting system is good enough…” is pure clarity of thought.”

A twitterer called “Consumer” says:

“The splash page of Discovery Forensics which names Dr Robert Worden as an ‘expert’ declares ‘Knowledge is power – lead the information arms race’.”

Ain’t that the truth.

2) Former Postmasters Harjinder Butoy and Alison Hall featured in a Look North piece last night talking about compensation for Subpostmasters. It’s a great piece. The BBC have already deleted it from iPlayer. Boo. If you have it please let me know and I’ll link to it.

Incidentally, one secret emailer took exception to my inadvertent use of the word scheme when referring to the government’s announcement earlier this week that they were going to underwrite the Post Office’s compensation to Subpostmasters.

He was absolutely right – it’s not a scheme, it’s a pot of unquantified cash £10,000? £1,000,000? £100,000,000? which the government will apportion to Subpostmasters when negotiations between those Subpostmasters and the Post Office have concluded on an individual basis.

The Post Office and government will be looking to give Subpostmasters as little as possible. I suspect Postmasters will only want what is fair, and the actual amount they will get will be something between the two.

Essentially the Post Office and government will rely on Postmasters making a calculation against how long they can bear to go on. The Post Office knows that by making things as slow as possible it can beat people down by playing on their despair, age and mental health anxieties, The actions, in other words, of complete s***s.

If you think I might be wrong, just look at how things have played out up to this point. More than a year after the first convictions have been overturned, more than two years after the Bates v Post Office High Court case was settled, the government has only just made funding available to allow the Post Office to start negotiating funding. They’re playing for time and they’re dragging things through the mud because it suits their purposes to do so.

3) Professor Richard Moorhead wrote a blog post the other day which suggests the actions of the Post Office, as described in a specific instance in my book could potentially amount to a perversion of the course of civil justice, which Professor Moorhead states “might well be a criminal offence and professional misconduct.” It’s worth a read.

4) A podcast featuring Pauline Stonehouse, a lovely lady whose conviction was quashed at the Court of Appeal recently has been published here. I haven’t listened to it yet, but it’s presented by former News of the World Editor, Downing Street Director of Communications and inmate of Belmarsh, Andy Coulson. I am intrigued to hear Mr Coulson’s take on this given he claimed to be innocent of a criminal offence and was guilty (at least he’s not contesting it as far as I know) whereas Ms Stonehouse pleaded guilty to a criminal offence of which she patently wasn’t. The podcast series is called “Crisis? What Crisis?”

5) I was delighted to be sent a copy of CWU’s The Voice magazine today which on p29 features a piece Post Office Scandal book. You can read it online if you’d like to.

6) I received a very poignant email the other day. I am grateful for my correspondent’s permission to share it. It read:

“Having listened to your show on the post office scandal it reminded me of situation in my grandparents village of Starcross in Devon.

I googled ex-Post Master Peter Huxham to discover his unpleasant death in 2020 due to his life spiralling downwards after leaving the post office disgraced and becoming estranged from his family.

I did actually think they were guilty of defrauding their customers as my grandfather had made comment to my mother about his pension being short and we had been suspicious before the time of the arrest that the couple were not honest.

However when I read the reasons Mr Huxham gave at his trial and the dates it seemed to fall in line with your story.

It made me question this man’s innocence and I thought about a scenario whereby he could have been taking money from pensioners to cover his losses.

I wonder if this should be investigated.

And more names be potentially put on the innocent list.”

I know Starcross very well. Some of The Great Post Office Scandal was written nearby. I didn’t know about the history of the little shop I’ve been in many times. This is the Daily Mirror’s take on Mr Huxham’s life, criminal record and death. I wonder if he’s one of the 640 people the Post Office have written to suggesting he might have been falsely prosecuted. I wonder if his relatives can or want to find out?

7) I am going to be on Mark Dolan’s programme on GB News at 10pm tonight with Seema Misra. I don’t quite know how they persuaded me this was a good way to spend a Friday night, nor quite how I persuaded Seema to leave her family for the evening on a 180 minute round trip for 20 minutes of studio chat. Needless to say I’ve brought her a little something by way of apology/Christmas gift.

I continue to admire and respect every Postmaster who continues to make their presence felt in the media. It’s not easy to fight for a few seconds of airtime and I continue to be thrilled every time someone graciously accedes to whatever request comes their way.

Though next time I suggest anyone joins me to do a live slot in a TV studio at 10pm on a Friday night, please suggest that instead we go down the pub. We will. We really will.

I am going to try to do one more secret email before Christmas and they maybe one looking back at what has happened this year. It’s certainly been an interesting one. Thanks again for all your support and good cheer. I am sorry if I cannot or do not respond to every single email, tweet or message but I do read every one and I am grateful.



The Post Office Horizon scandal is available for £25 as a hardback and £8.99 for an ebook (or £30 for both) from Bath Publishing. Please click here to buy it. Alternatively, please do forward this email to a friend. Everyone who buys a copy of the book through Bath Publishing will automatically be invited to join the “secret” email list.

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