Gareth Jenkins Day 3: Criminally Stupid or Holy Fool?

Being involved in the criminal prosecution of anyone should focus the mind. There is a lot at stake for the individual concerned. Basic human courtesy demands you take whatever task you have or are given very seriously.

Today Gareth Jenkins’ almost Olympian levels of disengagement with his wide-ranging role in helping the Post Office prosecute Subpostmasters was laid bare at the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.

For most of the day, Jason Beer KC focused on Jenkins’ involvement in the prosecution of Seema Misra. Seema, as many people reading this will know, was convicted of theft in October 2010, partly on the strength of Jenkins’ “expert” evidence.

Beer took him to a witness statement Jenkins produced ahead of Misra’s trial. In it he had written:

“I understand there’s a suggestion that the equipment in the branch might be faulty. I am not aware of any fundamental issues.” Jenkins points out that the main work on this has been done by his Fujitsu colleague Andy Dunks and then quotes Dunks’ statement which states that all of Misra’s calls to the Horizon helpline were “of a routine nature and do not fall outside the normal working parameters of the system, or would affect the working order of the counters.”

Beer wondered if Jenkins thought that all of Seema’s calls to the Horizon helpline were of a routine nature and did not fall outside the normal working parameters of the system, or would affect the working order of the counters.

Jason Beer KC

“No,” said Jenkins. “I was just quoting what he had said.”
Beer wanted to know what purpose quoting Dunks served.
“I was really referring that to his expertise rather than mine”, he replied.
Beer asked what expertise Andy Dunks had on the matter of malfunctioning equipment in branches.
“Well,” replied Jenkins, “he’d been examining the help desk calls. That’s really what I meant. I believed that he had an understanding of what were routine calls, and therefore if he said that they were of a routine nature, I was believing what he said.”
“What was Mr Dunks’ job?” asked Beer.
“He was part of the security team”, replied Jenkins.
Beer asked if that meant Dunks had any expertise on the functioning of equipment within branches.
“I thought that he was experienced in analysing help desk calls”, said Jenkins.
“Experienced in analysing?” replied Beer, incredulously. “Good at reading?”
“Yes”, replied Jenkins, a little helplessly.

It turns out there had been several serious-sounding hardware issues in Seema’s West Byfleet branch, covering comms and base unit failures, all of which were reported in the call logs. Andy Dunks is scheduled to return to give evidence to the Inquiry on 16 July. He may be asked about that then.

But back to Gareth Jenkins

We discovered during his evidence to the Inquiry earlier this week that Jenkins was prone to make sweeping assertions about Horizon processes he had no knowledge of and blithe assumptions about the diligence of other colleagues. Would he be more sure-footed when it came to his own area of expertise – software?

Seema Misra sitting behind Jo Hamilton listening to Jenkins’ evidence

Beer took Jenkins to what he said in open court in 2010 when it came to his analysis of the 500,000-odd archived transactions (ARQ data) which took place at Misra’s West Byfleet branch over thirteen months.

During the trial the Post Office barrister Warwick Tatford asked Jenkins: “Have you seen any sign, even the slightest symptom of any computer fault?”
Jenkins responded: “No. But then I’ve been doing very sort of… high-level rough analysis on the stuff.” He added: “To do any detailed investigation, you need to have some sort of idea about a fault [that] happened at that particular time.”

To save itself some money, the Post Office had only authorised the retrieval of thirteen months of transaction data for Jenkins to look at, between 1 Dec 2006 and 31 Dec 2007. Seema Misra was alleged to have stolen £74,000 over a three year period from 29 June 2005 to 14 Jan 2008. Beer asked:

“Did you clock, did you realise ‘I’ve got data for only about half the relevant period for the theft’?”
Jenkins replied: “That was the data I was asked to look at… and therefore the only data I could comment on.”
“Did it strike you as incomplete in the sense that it didn’t match the period of the theft charge?” asked Beer.
“That was what I’d been asked to look at”, repeated Jenkins.

Beer noted Jenkins told the court that to do a detailed analysis, he’d need to narrow down his search down from the 500,000 transactions he’d looked at. Beer asked if that meant that although there might be evidence of faults in the data, “you did not conduct any analysis to try and locate such faults in the data because you didn’t have a date range to narrow down the search?”
“I was trying to correlate the cash movements against the cash declarations and they just didn’t correlate, and therefore I wasn’t able to track down where losses had actually happened”, replied Jenkins.

Jenkins told Beer he had looked to see if Fujitsu had registered any errors at the West Byfleet branch and there were none. Beer wondered if he’d looked at any errors registered by Fujitsu affecting other branches which which came up within the thirteen month window he’d been tasked to look at.

JB: You could use that as a narrowing tool, couldn’t you?
GJ: I realise that now. I didn’t think of it at the time.
JB: Isn’t that an obvious approach… I’ve got a knowledge base which identifies faults. I’ll use that to look in the data?
GJ: When you put it that way I realise that now, but that was not the way I was thinking at the time.
JB: That would have given you, even on the limited 13 months that you were given, a clue or ideas as to what to look for in the ARQ data, wouldn’t it?
GJ: I understand that now.

Over the course of the afternoon Beer took Jenkins to several examples which appeared show his investigations or his evidence were inept or incomplete. Beer suggested alternative or fuller courses of action, which Jenkins acknowledged with sentences beginning “I understand that now… ” or “I realise now…”

It is beyond doubt that Jenkins was failed (inexcusably) by both the Post Office and Fujitsu’s lawyers, but today revealed it wasn’t just his knowledge of the “legal niceties” (as he put it) which were lacking, but his basic professional competence.

Jenkins’ evidence over the last two days has prompted a number of comments to the blog posts I’ve written about it. One contributor says of Jenkins: “The idea that he’s some kind of ingénue is risible… Having worked as an expert witness myself (very rarely) I can tell you that the solicitor that engages you will heavily scrutinise what you produce and will also reiterate your responsibilities.”

Another states: “What is the matter with all these people ? I work in IT, in the unlikely event I were ever asked to be an expert witness I would make bloody sure I understood what that meant.”

Seema Misra was present at the Inquiry today, watching Jenkins’ evidence being slowly dismantled by Jason Beer. I asked her what she thought of it. She told me Jenkins proved there was “the same culture at both the Post Office and Fujitsu. Horizon is robust and Subpostmasters are thieves.”

Tomorrow brings the fourth and final day of Jenkins’ evidence. I will not be around to report on it as I am in Edinburgh doing a Q&A at Toppings Bookshop. Please come along if you can.
To read an assessment of Day 1 of Jenkins’ evidence, please see “The misplaced confidence of an unreliable god
For Day 2, please see “The god complex unravels

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85 responses to “Gareth Jenkins Day 3: Criminally Stupid or Holy Fool?”

  1. TheySaidWhat? avatar

    It is difficult to fathom how all this managed to progress as far as it did, and to an extent why nobody can any longer remember what they said or did. That said, at the start of the year I passed a bit if insight to Nick about what I remember of the team who went on to develop the Horizon system. Here is a slightly shorter recounting….

    At its start in early 1996, the project related to benefits payments via Post Office branches (a fraud prevention system for the DWP, with some possible benefits to Post Office Counters Ltd (POCL) via a few additional Point of Sale (POS) services – possibly the root of the later bias in thinking within ICL/Fujistu). So not the Horizon system itself, but its progenitor.

    Several unrelated elements made up this system; DWP mainframes, a layer selecting/processing the benefits to pay that day, a transaction communication system/protocol to manage transaction exchange with POCL branches, and the equipment for the 20K ish Post Office sites to track and report DWP payments (and any local POS applications).

    I attended what is known as the “go-no-go” meeting at ICL in Bracknell, a meeting at which an organisation makes its final decision on whether it actually has a solution to bid to the prospect. This was the second bite of the cherry for ICL Pathway after they had previously been eliminated from the selection process.

    I sat in the back corner of the meeting room just to ensure ‘our’ systems were sized correctly, because the company I worked for was simply providing the hardware for hosting the middle data management element and branch based servers, which were never going to be the difficult bit.

    It was quite clear at that final “Yes/No” decision meeting that no part of the offering was even close to having been worked through. This meeting was the first time representatives of the various solution elements had been in the same room together, and there were a number of rather shocked consultants (from various other companies) who were dumbfounded over how they could make their element function with each other’s constraints. We even identified that the proposed communication system was likely to be unreliable in reporting back completed transactions at scale.

    The Pathway project team leaders’ reaction (3 people, out of around a dozen in the room, who were very keen to show they were the important people there) was to dismiss every query about the viability of the solution. Their goal for the meeting was to say yes to bidding for the project. It was specifically stated by a member of the project team that once the project was secured there would be time and money to work out how to actually make it work. A statement that, as an IT professional, haunts and embarrasses me to this day.

    My feedback to my company was that “yes” we could support the requirement, but not to get any hopes up of it actually happening. What I only more recently found out was that this system (after being rejected by the DWP) was re-coded into Horizon rather than being re-architected from the ground up as a POS system – so it appears to be less “progenitor” and more underpinnings. What’s that quote about building on sand?

    Money (and possibly kudos for being in charge of such a large project) was their focus, the system was their route to it, whether or not they had any idea how it could work.

    As an aside, I do remember thinking that day that one of the the senior ICL people in the room had a name that for some reason conjured Welsh rugby.

  2. Having watched the fourth day of evidence, especially when evidence was lead by his own barrister, it appears to me that Fujitsu have hung Mr Jenkins out to dry.

    He even sent an email advising a female within his organisation that he has never been involved in any court procedure, and that his knowledge was limited to what he had seen on TV. Stephen Dilley, solicitor, prepared one of his witness statements, advising him that his allegiances fell with the organisation paying him, despite being listed as an expert witness. How can a non-legal person be expected to know what an expert witness is, if solicitors do not appear to know either?

    In my mind there has been too much emphasis placed on the term expert. This to me is a red herring. Mr Jenkins in his mind was an expert in Horizon, with full allegiances towards his employer, therefore why did some of these legal gurus list him as an ‘expert witness’ and accept him as such in court?

    Another aspect that struck me, during the Misra trial he even said “I’m not sure money has even gone missing “, or words similar. Surely that should have cast enough reasonable doubt, so that Mrs Misra’s conviction was not secured?

    1. That email about what to expect was to PO, not FJ. Po replied: pretty much as you see on tv.

  3. Interesting that the enquiry is editing and then reposting the videos of Tatford, Singh and Jenkins over the past few hours. I wonder who has asked them to remove some of it from being public… the Met perhaps.

  4. Q. What’s your day job?
    A. Fixing Horizon bugs.

    Q. What evidence did you give under oath at court?
    A. Horizon has no bugs.

  5. You misspelled “wholly” in the title. He strikes me as someone who was too fond of their own perceived importance to a big client and enjoyed being front and centre within the organisation.

    ICL, as was, really didn’t like being told about faults in their software. They especially didn’t like it if you disassembled one of their compilers back in the 70s and wouldn’t tell them what you did to fix it, and that displeasure was a letter to my head of department trying to get me sacked. Needless to say it didn’t work and I like to think of my letter responding to them preserved somewhere in a dusty archive because I was particularly fond of the phrase, “incompetent simpletons who couldn’t program their way out of a wet paper bag.” Unprofessional I know, but I was young and the error they made was really, really dumb, and they should have been able to find it in the source code in about 5 minutes. Regardless, I feel almost prescient nearly 50 years on because it seems that nothing changed.

    1. It was a pun because some lawyer called GJ a god

      1. So was mine! I really shouldn’t try jokes, they rarely land :~)

        1. My bad. Had an uncontrollable knee-jerk English teacher reaction to a missed pun. Kids just aren’t punny like they used to be.

  6. This exactly.

    Having written many expert reports in wholesake financial litigation since 2002 I am astonished that he was never pulled up on this. What is also remarkable is that his expertise was not adequately challenged – it is now apparent he was only expert on a limited part of the system. The final lacuna in his expertise is in forensic accounting – he has none, but many of the questions he was asked to address seem to be about accounting rather than IT.

    The quality of the defence in many of the cases that led to convictions was seemingly inadequate. Is the inquiry going to look at this?

  7. There was a brief moment from Sir Wyn which summed up Jenkins’ testimony. I think it was the final break on day 3 (3pm-ish).

    Wyn never gave his usual response in the affirmative to the suggested break but gave Mr Beer a quick glance, followed by a slightly longer look at Jenkins. It appeared Wyn was just about done listening to Jenkins constantly lie, obfuscate and deflect.

    1. Or WW was considering a linger break, as evidenced by his question to GJ immediately after they returned.

  8. Frankenstein or Rocky Horror?

    I was very impressed by Flora Page yesterday. The body parts of a monster dissected. But what type of monster? Frankenstein was good, but I prefer Rocky because it was from the moment of creation.

    Throughout the horror show of amnesiac witnesses and dodgy lawyers at the inquiry, proof of the Peter Principle has been evident. Even Grabiner (with his egotistical, I’m above all this attitude) and Neuberger (sadly deemed above all this, so not called to give oral evidence) were out of their depth with the beast and needed an out.

    Horizon being the monster system which munches money, ruins lives and trashes reputations as well as the brand it was designed to save. The last ditch attempts by rich and powerful forces through the courts to hide the biggest miscarriage of justice in British legal history failed. The skint little people somehow out thought and out fought Lord Dumb and Lord Dumber on their own manor. Will we ever know the full cost to the taxpayer of the legal advice provided though?

    Over promoted and over paid for duff advice? It appears so.

    Having listened to the past few days testimony I now have a new management theory to add to the Peter Principle.

    With a bit of a mind flip, your thoughts are a Jumble, a madness of Horizon technology being robust and where the muddled mindset of corporate groupthink takes over from rational thinking.

    The Jumble theory exposed here is not to be confused with the jumbling of words we have heard from lawyers and post office executives. That would be the Jarnail Jumble, best described by the brilliant Jason Beer KC as word soup. Non lawyers have used this ploy as well to conflate, confound and confuse. Selective corporate amnesia mixed with a cognitive corporate disposition to avoid curiosity and not to ask simple questions. They often add they are not technically minded.

    Being computer illiterate is almost a badge of honour to the Kipling inspired iffy band of brothers. The POL sisters were not computing it for themselves either. Everyone distancing themselves from any taint of technical competence, IT skills, experience, training or education.

    Computer illiteracy and memory loss within POL is an equal opportunity at the inquiry. IT ignorance and selective amnesia was widespread in POL but progressive and gender neutral under Paula’s preaching of brand worship.

    All part of a cultish surreal horror show.

    Horizon being the monster Frank-N-Furter creation called Robust when it was always Rocky.

    To be fair to Jenkins, POL executives pleading ignorance of IT is probably as alien to him as his pleading ignorance of the law is to the lawyers. Illogical yes, but how else do you defend the indefensible at the inquiry?

    So if Jenkins is not guilty of Jarnail jumble why were his technical thoughts so jumbled and lacking in clarity?

    The irony is that Jenkins defence combined breathtaking leaps of faith in people and process with almost total ignorance of complex computer systems, audit techniques and his speciality area of expertise… Horizon technical management.

    While feeling little sympathy for the devil (or executives and lawyers as they prefer to be called), I was hoping for some believable technical evidence, along with some contrition and empathy for Mrs Misra from Jenkins.

    I was disappointed with the testimony of the legally illiterate yet ‘distinguished engineer’ from Fujitsu. He oozed professional incompetence.

    A man happiest when working with technology rather than people. Processes and procedures appear to be applied in his own mind and presumably via mental osmosis into Horizon. All the worker ants doing precisely what they should do in his systems thinking. Bugs eliminated and dealt with promptly and transparently. The gospel of hearsay makes it so.

    Horizon was his world. A shining example of modern technology that he is still proud of and defends with obstinate tenacity if not logic or passion.

    To the rest of the world his Horizon looks like a Sinclair ZX81, with blu tack the only thing keeping the 16k Ram pack from falling off and crashing the system. Hello World. Hello Gareth.

    We heard from Gareth over four days a hodgepodge of technical jargon and lazy ideas, jumbled into his view of robust system functionality. This was proof (in his own mind) that Horizon was working well – without having to concern himself with any real world proof. He had the mental blu tack to stick untested assumptions to data. A pity he never googled ‘the role of an expert witness in a court case’. Why not? Who knows? Lack of curiosity runs deep in this one.

    What this jumbled mindset does prove is that you should never underestimate the power of laziness. You could imagine Jenkins designing a smoke alarm with a snooze button.

    The use or potential use of APPSUP user privilege appears not to have been tightly controlled by Fujitsu. Human nature takes the path of least resistance. The easier the better. It’s why early mathematicians invented multiplication. To save time adding lots of numbers together. As a maths graduate Jenkins should have realised this tendency to cut corners and work effort wherever possible. He should have understood entropy and chaos theory in relation to software iterations. Basic statistics and probability would have informed him that a system can appear to be working at a macro level but unknown errors at the micro level can have unintended consequences. Poorly written code, comms errors, bolt on systems and poor controls. Set alarm bells to snooze.

    This misunderstanding of how humans and systems interact mingled into the jumble of group think. The Horizon is Robust not Rocky mindset mantra continued.

    But again to be fair to Jenkins, remote access wasn’t taken seriously by the Post Office either, despite the E&Y external audit report in 2011. How was this not followed up? The obvious step would have been to hire experts to try and work out how the system behaved when used or abused by careless or dishonest users and superusers.

    But surely Jenkins independently could have conducted a simple thought experiment himself? What would he do to bypass Horizon system controls? Computer auditors and system managers regularly review security, user roles, responsibilities and privileges. They test for weaknesses. It was not beyond the wit of Jenkins. Or were alarm bells set permanently to snooze?

    But again this was a widespread corporate jumble of thoughts. Not just a Jenkins Jumble although that is not a bad description of the lack of clear technical thinking.

    User error bias being the common thread between the technical evidence of distinguished engineer Jenkins, the Post Office lawyers, management, executives and Board. If Horizon was robust then discrepancies had to be the fault of the sub post masters. User error or theft.

    The Post Office never accepted this bias and I suspect despite the evidence, Jenkins and others like George Thompson still can’t accept that Horizon was a monster. A horror show for those skint little people.

    POL itself was caught in another dimension with purely biased intention.

    Well secluded, but we now see all.

    If reporting on this drives you insane Nick, just imagine the full POL cast doing the time warp dressed in Rocky Horror outfits.

    Put your hands on your hips…

    I’ll leave the Janet character up for debate, but Rodric Williams would make a great Brad Majors with Grumpy George as Meat Loaf, Andrew Parsons as Riff Raff and Lord Grabiner as the rather pompous Charles Gray criminologist character and narrator of the horror show.

    It’s just a jump to the left

    and step to the right…

  9. Gareth Jenkins did not come across as either a super villain or stupid but someone who lacked courage. He knew what the P.O. wanted – they made that very clear – and despite some initial resistance he caved in all too quickly. It seems likely that he did not have enough time to do his ‘day job’ (designing systems) as well as a thorough investigation of the cases that were referred to him. But instead of telling his employer what they would not want to hear, at least in the Seema Misra case, he carried out a superficial investigation i.e. a quick chat with Andy Duncs and an incomplete review of a partial dataset.

    The troubling thing is that this sort of behaviour seems embedded in our culture. Organisations seek & promote people with a ‘can do’ attitude and sometimes that has disastrous consequences. Whether it’s Windrush, Grenfell or Horizon, too many people fall over themselves to please their employer and too few people are prepared to kick back.

    And this week another scandal emerges of 75,000 probably unlawful rail fare evasion prosecutions. Nothing like as serious of course but a sad state of affairs that the courts failed to recognise that these people were not only prosecuted with the wrong procedure but in many cases could not have been guilty of the offence that was charged. And it has only come to light because one victim refused to be intimidated and fought back.

  10. So much hate on this guy.

    He claims a level of ingnorance about the law and court procedure that I find implausible in an educated adult. The core of his defence against charges of perjury seems to be that he wasn’t briefed on his duties. That looks a bit threadbare.

    He has a habit of repeating as fact in court stuff he heard from someone around the watercooler.

    He seems to think he can’t have been a “proper” expert witness, because he wasn’t independent. Therefore he didn’t have to make “proper” expert declarations. Given that he didn’t get any clear instructions, that seems fair enough. But why didn’t the defence lawyers move to have his expert evidence chucked out, on the grounds that he didn’t make any of the required expert declarations?

  11. He kept to his stance that he was only providing technical advise (so a consultant) to the scope/questions given to him. Just following what was asked. Not entirely true as when the scope was broad he assumed a narrow response was needed. How convenient. Then to support his claim that he was being factual at all times when doubts were raised it was all about Legacy Horizon vs Horizon Online relevancy.

  12. Gareth Jenkins has clearly been well coached to repeat his defense mantra ‘I wasn’t told of the duties of an expert witness’, before Jason Beer flourishes proof that he actually received a letter that had so advised him in easy to understand language.
    GJ is trying to come over as a technical boffin who by his own admission prefers the technical to dealing with people and simply found himself put in an unusual Horizon defender position by POL and/or Fujitsu. But he surely didn’t sit at his Distinguished Engineer desk at Fujitsu during this sorry period completely unsupervised. What is perplexing me most is what managerial role his managers undertook during this period. From what I’ve understood so far, none whatsoever. “So you’ve been asked to submit an expert witness report on our Horizon system and attend court in the prosecution of a sub postmaster, Gareth? Gosh, that’ll be interesting for you. Do the best you can. Can’t help you myself as I’ll be on holiday that week. Well, you are our best person for the job. It’ll be a good development opportunity for you to practice your interpersonal skills we discussed in your last appraisal. Good luck!” No, I don’t see it. Even if Jenkins’ manager was as unfathomably unaware as our favourite Distinguished Engineer himself this would surely have rung Fujitsu alarm bells. Senior Fujitsu management, other leadership team members, HR and Legal would surely have been all over it rather than the ‘Gareth just answered some technical questions all alone’ fable we’ve been hearing. Fujitsu is a major respectable and professional IT company and I simply can’t believe this could happen without anyone else being involved. Those anyone else’s are equally culpable, in my opinion, and I can only trust the Met Police will ask more relevant questions of their CEO and others than we heard when he also gave his ‘nobody told me anything about it’ answers to the inquiry recently.

  13. I’m surprised (in a disappointed way) at the patchy quality of all (let me just check… yes, all) the barristers representing the sub-postmasters.

  14. I am not the only victim, if you look hard enough you will find the country is littered with bodies’ and ‘this has been a case of state sponsored corporate theft’, wrote (Sir) Alan Bates after he had been dismissed in 2003.

    He was right but what happened between 2003 and 2010 other than the continuance of the ‘state sponsored corporate theft’ and the countrywide accumulation of ‘bodies’. Why were McFadden, Davey and the rest of them only interested in the accounts of overpaid, over-promoted fakers? The Inquiry must find out.

  15. I think we can safely conclude that Gareth Jenkins is a minor deity.

  16. Victoria Fletcher avatar
    Victoria Fletcher

    Is this man a complete incompetent or is he on the Spectrum? Part of me thinks he cannot see what he has done wrong and he repeats the fact the system was working fine and he stands by this.
    Has he really no empathy with the subpostmasters or does he have social issues?
    I’m not condoning his actions, far from it as some things he has said are horrific but some of the things he does, and the way he acts and reacts makes me think he could be autistic and has been placed in this position on purpose.
    Consider his reactions when it appears at times Mr Beer tries to ‘help him out’ with leading questions. He doesn’t take the helping hand, he grittily remains stoical about the system and the work he has been tasked with…
    Just a thought. Finding him a hard watch.

  17. Writing this at the end of Day 4, I’m left wondering about the timing of Jenkins’ testimony in the great scheme of things. Should it not have come a lot earlier in the proceedings so that the likes of Vennells, Singh, Parsons et al (i.e. the people who deployed Jenkins so cynically) would have even more to answer for?

    Despite the best efforts of Claire Dobbin (his KC) in the PM session, Jenkins did not quite manage to finish the week where he was hoping to be, that is merely an unbriefed, legally naive, technical ‘expert’ who was used by the Post Office as a useful idiot. His lack of questioning of the process, his myopic and slapdash approach to fact finding and analysis, poor attention to detail and, worse of all, his lack of empathy and total inconsideration of whether miscarriages of justices were taking place, means that if prosecutions are being considered his name should definitely be on the list.

    1. It should have and was first scheduled last July. It was adjourned twice because PO at last minute twice disclosed thousands more relevant documents. Once was the night before evidence.

  18. RocketBoy Lux avatar

    Day three of Jenkins’s testimony – and another masterclass in both balanced journalistic analysis and tight prose by Mr Wallis:
    “It is beyond doubt that Jenkins was failed (inexcusably) by both the Post Office and Fujitsu’s lawyers, but today revealed it wasn’t just his knowledge of the “legal niceties” (as he put it) which were lacking, but his basic professional competence.”

    Far from a callous scheming co-conspirator, Jenkins showed himself (the help of Jason Beer’s red-hot skewer) to be an intellectually lazy software geek who got carried away with an unexpected boost to his self-importance, provided by an unexpected invitation (or instruction?) to serve as Fujitsu’s/POL’s technical expert witness. As we all now know, human carnage followed.

  19. It is amazing how the memory of Mr Jenkins drasticaaly improved when he was examined by his lawyer. Again this emphasises the impression of culpability.

  20. Steve Kimminau avatar

    Following what Jenkins said, it appears he did NOT examine any data in detail; he passed the donkey work onto helpful Anne Chambers, who conceded: “something was obviously wrong, in that the branch obviously were getting these discrepancies that they weren’t expecting…” My Question – is the real transaction data that AC examined available anywhere in the evidence? Can I get hold of it somehow (as an ascii file plse!)
    Jenkins repeats that “the audit trail” contains all data needed to confirm the cash balances.
    If Jenkins/Chambers are competent, why could they not find where the money went??

    1. “If Jenkins/Chambers are competent, why could they not find where the money went??”

      I think it is more a case of where it came _from_, we know where it went: POL coffers.

  21. Just been watching day 4 of Gareth Jenkins questioning and that was a very interesting intervention by Sir Wyn. He got confirmation that the PO was always looking to prosecute as the default position and assume guilt at all times before seeking any help or data from Fujitsu. Therefore it appears Jenkins was only called in to supply “expert evidence” if required and was effectively treated as part of the prosecution case.
    The thing to take aways from these last few days is the independence of expert witness has to be tested to destruction before any expert evidence is taken and must be under oath at the trial. Signed declarations and statements must not be taken at face value and establishing exactly who has written and edited them explored, Finally what was briefed from prosecution lawyers before the trial must also be established. That Jenkins was from Fujitsu and Fujitsu in turn were a supplier to the PO need not have been an impediment to him testifying but it seems that some questioning on these issues before any “evidence” is given at the time of the trial would have ended his involvement there and then.

  22. Are there legal implications to the disclosure by Mr Jenkins that some witness statement documents were presented in court without his signature on them? This begs the question that has been asked earlier by other commentators – why did this slip through the legal process? Is this an indication of rather sloppy processes at some of the trials?

  23. Like others commenting I am a senior IT professional with experience across many fields including commissioning of large computer systems.

    I thought to comment yesterday when this post was published but write this having just watched the cross-examination of Gareth Jenkins by Ms Paige representing Seema Misra today. There cannot be any conclusion from his behaviour except that (allegedly) he was fully cognisant and complicit in the activities about which Ms Paige challenged him. To describe and therefore excuse his behaviour as being that of an introspective IT techie is unthinkable. Mr and Mrs Misra have conducted themselves throughout the Inquiry with calm dignity and today was no exception, even following the pathetic non apology offered about being “sorry for what happened to Mrs Misra.” Utterly shameful.

  24. Alan Cornforth avatar

    Outstanding effort from Flora Page this morning questioning Gareth Jenkins – his voice was almost a whisper by the time she had finished. Her Frankenstein’s monster analogy was a little theatrical but, nevertheless, served her well as she introduced all the “body parts” and showed how GJ was aware of most of them and yet was happy to forget about them in Seema Misra’s trial. The presence of Mr & Mrs Misra right next to Ms Page must have chilled his blood and Seema Misra looked like a woman intent on getting some closure – or perhaps revenge!?

  25. @charleslovatt

    You’ll find all the legal rep information for named core participants here –

    Vennels – Mishcon
    Jenkins – Corker Binning
    van der Bogerd – not listed

  26. I believe that what Mr Jenkins is mainly guilty of is doing what his bosses asked him to do. Initially this was a report on the integrity of the Audit Trail (not the entire Horizon system) which he seems to have done thoroughly and honestly; and then another report to explain the existence of Nil balances in banking transactions, which again he did with diligence and accuracy. That these reports were used by POL and their lawyers as “evidence” that the Horizon system as a whole was “robust” is hardly Mr Jenkins fault. Yes, he acquiesced to the “Nil Balances” report being watered down under pressure from POL’s lawyers – although he agreed to remove the reference to “system failures,” the corresponding codes and their explanations are in his final report, so to an extent he won that one.
    As to the “expert witness” status, I doubt that until this Inquiry there was more than a handful of professional engineers in this country who had any idea of the duties of an Expert Witness. OK, Mr Jenkins did apparently receive an email which included an attachment which had buried within it a list of the duties of an Expert Witness, but at this point he was just being asked to prepare a technical report, so even if he’d thoroughly read the list he would be unlikely to interpret it as applying to what he was being asked to do at that point. You have to wonder why the myriad of solicitors, lawyers and barristers employed by POL to prosecute the SPMs didn’t properly instruct their key witness in his duties? Perhaps they knew that if they did he would effectively become a witness for the defence?

  27. I’m a techy with probably similar level of (claimed) expertise and I have worked with lawyers on various things (not as an expert witness, although and I know other peers who have done expert witness).

    Firstly it is immediately obvious you are not speaking the same language – how a technical person expresses something is quite different from a legal person. I have spent literally weeks writing, reviewing, and correcting documents to make sure they say exactly what I intend them to say, but in legal english (and this is standard process – the rigour depends on the stakes to be fair, but court cases are top of the tree here).

    Then you get the red team in – these good folk come to the draft fresh, and pull out all the mistakes from bad grammar to dangerous ambiguities, and fix it (to be completely accurate here, tell me to fix it).

    That’s the general process and none of the rigour I’d have expected is evident.

    As for the specifics: when doing an important “figure out how/if this is broken” task like this you get two people (or more – for really critical stuff you get two teams: one doing diagnosis, one doing work-arounds). Everyone approaches any task with a set of assumptions that can cause blindness for certain aspects (no fault in this – human nature). These two, using different approaches, to explore the situation and, when the conclusions differ, you start digging. As a minimum you’d get someone else to review your findings because you may find some howlers (including “They’ve asked the wrong question” and “You’ve answered the wrong question”).

    So, while Jenkins himself is problematic, the whole process surrounding technical queries/investigations into witness statements in a criminal trial seem stunningly deficient. I’ve no idea if it is criminally deficient – I leave that to the legal experts – but I couldn’t sleep at night if my slipshod work (or even an understandable oversight) led to the suffering that the SPMs have endured. His lack of empathy and contrition I do find (putting it politely) beyond comprehension.

  28. Day 4
    Mr Jenkins has blown it in my eyes. He is guilty. As I have noted before he does not seem to be at all remorseful. The killer for me today is the fact is that he has his glassess off. He had them of and on whilst Mr Beer was talking to him but in the main they were on. This morning he hardly has them on. He is thus blocking out the process and also failing to meet the gaze of Seema Misra and the other lawyers. I find this insulting and it has totally destroyed his credibility.

  29. Today will be interesting. It will be a masterclass for risk professionals to add to the list of how companies should conduct themselves and how governance should work.
    Unless strong measures are taken those who breach the required high standards will continue to be able to reinvent themselves in other companies and the cycle will continue. We see this in UK corporate life consistently.

  30. I have run several large scale software implementations in banks and I can attest that true technology professionals who design systems are very concerned about bugs and code which has problems. Jenkins comes across as dismissive of email content as it bored him, not concerned to ensure a constant flow of feedback nor to actually visit the branch managers to find out what was going on. I cannot believe he was left to interact with judicial proceedings without a lawyer from Fujitsu supervising.
    Upon leaving university he got into a comfortable cardigan and plodded on.
    The scandal started with faulty software as without it there would have been no errors. I have witnessed cliques of people at the top line of large organisations forming cliques to protect themselves. This is what happened .They are usually unintelligent, unquestioning and very very self satisfied.

  31. RocketBoy Lux avatar

    “Today Gareth Jenkins’ almost Olympian levels of disengagement with his wide-ranging role in helping the Post Office prosecute Subpostmasters was laid bare at the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.” This nugget is just another example of the razor-sharp journalism & writing by our host here, Nick Wallis, who -let’s not forget – also deserves immense credit for his dogged work over the years to help teach this point.

  32. Roger Greenwood avatar
    Roger Greenwood

    Thanks Nick for keeping us all up to date on this sorry saga, rivetting stuff. We’ve had a drama from the point of view of the postmasters and also a stage play, I wonder if anyone is working on the story from the point of view of the lawyers, POL directors and Horizon programmers? We could call it, oh I don’t know, maybe “Incurious Basterds”…

  33. This was all taking place whilst Postal Affairs Minister, Pat McFadden, wouldn’t hear the protestations of ex-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and couldn’t smell the rats that MPs James Arbuthnot and David Jones smelt when the latter invited Post Office management to Parliament. The stench of Post Office management had been circulating all around the country for nearly ten years by then but McFadden, just like his predecessors, would do nothing but continue to sit on his hands.

  34. I spent over 40 years in IT and, although now retired have listened to the last few days of the enquiry with mounting anger and bewilderment. Rather than start by dealing with Mr Gareth Jenkins, I would like to understand a little more about the architecture of Horizon if anyone is able to help me. Mr Jenkins has, more than once, referred to the “document store”, a proprietary product to which, I assume, transactions taking place at the counter (or elsewhere as has been clearly shown!) are written. the very name of “document store” implies a repository whose contents are then processed subsequently to derive a closing balance for each “stock unit” (stamps, cash, etc) by appplying their value to an opening or rolling balance. Is this the case or have I misunderstood the process?

  35. Interesting how the comments here have shifted from GJ from being corporate victim to morally culpable. Clearly to me both. I also wonder whether like some techies he is on the autism spectrum and not connected with the human side of his role.

    Whereas with the Post Office there was/is a toxic environment, with Jenkins there is a mix of personal vanity, pride in his system and disconnection from human impact. How else could he have carried on testifying, time after time, knowing that his words would have led to bankruptcy and imprisonment.

  36. Stephen Williams avatar
    Stephen Williams

    Having worked in IT for many years, unlike most comments here I get GJ. Techies are a breed on their own, very insular and quite often lacking in common sense. If GJ is guilty of anything it is not protecting his own arse when being asked to do work that is clearly not his role. Unlike most of the witnesses, I believe he is a basically honest man who was harshly used by all the conspirators involved in this sordid cover up.

  37. Gareth Jenkins is just another functionary in the same mould as the career desk jockeys in the PO. Jenkins was in ICL/Fujitsu from 1973 to 2015. I’ve worked in IT both as a programmer and then a consultant. Most IT people worth their salt tend to move around different companies or go solo in order to widen their expertise and indeed get better pay and conditions. Staying 45 years in one company displays a lack of ambition and a lack of confidence in his IT skills. Jenkins was far too comfortable in his role, and showed no sign of pushing his professional boundaries. His lack of engagement as you say is Olympian – he had a very narrow view of what his job entailed and dismissed any information that was pertinent to any investigation or witness statement. The number of times he said he had skim read documents shows what a complacent dullard he is. Fujitsu are not known for paying their staff well, pay peanuts and you get monkeys.

  38. I’ve worked for IT professionals in the past. Many of them love software design, but hate sweeping up after themselves and doing the mundane debugging and checking work.
    That seems to apply to Jenkins, who seems to have regarded his court work as a nuisance. That might be the reason he didn’t focus very hard on it. Nevertheless he was surrounded by similarly incompetent people both in Fujitsu and the PO.

  39. I find it quite incredible, yet sadly expected, that the recollections of individuals throughout this trial are so vivid when used to defend themselves, yet so vague and ‘unable to recall’ for uncomfortable lines of questioning that work against the witness. Perhaps double-perjury in Jenkins case?

    I hope and trust that ensuing prosecutions, amply aided and abeted by the exemplary questioning and attention to detail exhibited by Jason Beer KC, will thrust justice upon those either knowingly complicit or directly instrumental in crimes against humanity on a grand scale.

    Culpable manslaughter, fraud, perjury, and abuses of legal privilege, MUST be punished without reservation – particularly with shattered lives and deaths on their hands.

  40. Jason Beer has gradually shown up Jenkins for what he is – a lazy technocrat incapable of properly investigating his beloved Horizon and impervious to the effects of his evidence on the trials of the subpm’s. Well done Jason Beer.
    I still reserve most of my anger for the legal system though. They allowed an ‘inexpert’ witness to say what he wanted without challenge from in-house lawyers (to be expected!), outside barristers (will allow anything if they’re paid enough), defence lawyers (do minimum possible for relatively small fee) and judges in court (so much money has been cut from the court system that they are under pressure to reduce long waiting times by ‘waiving through’ guilty pleas). Every area of the legal system needs urgent reform – over to you Sir Wyn!

  41. Interesting first 3 days. 4th likely to be vicious as other interrogators get to ask questions.

    My thoughts are Gareth Jenkins is an IT person not a legally trained version. IT people tend to take things literally and often in a narrow way. Court work was less than 10% of his work. Apparently not legally trained in any way he appears to have been thrust into the legal side whilst also continuing with his day to day responsibilities. One of his day 3 comments about how he was glad to be relieved of these legal duties and get back to his day job was revealing. I can well believe the early day one comments about not remembering that he had had a letter about duties as a witness – very convenient that the enquiry found overnight between day one and two a different piece of evidence that they must have had for some time regarding that letter.

    The Legally trained people would know very well what an “Expert Witness” meant in legal terms but in my opinion they should have ensured that he fully understood what that means and have got him to say in writing that he fully understood the difference between an Expert Witness in legal terms and a witness with expertise in the horizon system rather than just supply a letter. I can well belive he thought he was just delivering information/evidence for others to apply to their legal arguments.
    From evidence and questions on day 3 Jason Beer appeared to be saying that Bugs in Horizon Online needed to be disclosed in the Seema Misra trial when that trial was from a time when Legacy Horizon was in use. If that is true then as Gareth Jenkins said it makes no logical sense. Also It would seem to a logical person that any bugs fixed in Legacy Horizon before the relevant date would not need to be disclosed as the system would not have those bugs, only that bugs known to be extant at the relevant period would need be disclosed and even then they could be shown not to be relevant.
    This is not to say that just looking at transactions and error logs is necessarily sufficient to show the system was working correctly (or not) at the relevant times
    The comment by Gareth Jenkins early on that Robust does not mean Infallible is the first time I have heard anyone qualify what Robust meant – I am convinced that some people did indeed equate it with infallible.

    My understanding is that in England and Wales, courts consider computers, as a matter of law, to have been working correctly unless there is evidence to the contrary and a court will treat a computer as if it is working perfectly unless someone can show why that is not the case. If this also applies to Horizon as a whole it could explain a lot of the legal attitudes. The defence needs to rebut this assumption which is very difficult.

    I can believe Gareth Jenkins did not fully understand his role and he could have done a far better job but had more excuses than so the legal teams with all their training. The Post Office forcing the sub postmasters under extreme duress into committing false accounting was unforgivable.

  42. Patty Solomon avatar

    Can someone explain to me what “robust” is supposed to mean with respect to computer software?

    I was a professor of statistics for many years (lecturing, research, statistical analysis which involved programming and data management).

    It is not a term that would normally arise in this context as far as I am aware. Terms such as ‘accurate’, ‘reliable’ and ‘reproducible’ come to mind.

  43. Susan Banister avatar

    I thought his lackadaisical attitude to being an expert witness earlier in his evidence was poor. In the same way ‘turn it off and on again’ is a tried and tested IT manta, ‘Google is your friend’ is another one but I suspect Mr Jenkins believes he knows more than Google which is why he didn’t research what being an expert witness meant.
    However today the quality of investigation of what was happening, or rather lack of it, was staggering. It felt very similar to Paula Vennell’s trope of not being curious enough. He is clearly an intelligent man but I think his overconfidence blinkered his approach. Why would you not look at as much data as you could to make sure you were not saying anything incorrect, especially if you had the data? Maybe because any issues found would reflect on your own ability as the coder?
    Whether we believe his repeated belief of ‘that is not how I understood it at the time’, I would go as far to say it isn’t good enough from any witness never mind an expert witness.

  44. Another Jason Beer masterclass on Day3 skewered Jenkins again. Looking forward to the CPs lawyers interrogation!

  45. I was genuinely astonished when, upon returning from the second break this afternoon, Sir Wyn asked Gareth Jenkins if he’d had a long enough break to which Jenkins replied “Yes, I just want to get today over with”. This was akin to Vennells crying and Perkins looking bored and irritable. Are they all tone deaf? Do they really think they deserve (or will get) our sympathy because they’ve had such a trying time of it at the hands of the inestimable Jason Beer KC? Unlike Seema Misra, when these appalling people finish giving oral testimony, they can return to their comfortable homes and put their feet with a nice glass of wine. Ms Misra left Guildford Crown Court in handcuffs bound straight for Bronzefield Prison, no doubt terrified and deeply distressed.
    Their ill-judged self-pity sickens me. And if Jenkins thinks he’s had a hard time of it over the last three days, wait ’til the core participants’ lawyers get their hands on him tomorrow ….. I can hardly wait.

    1. 100% These people disgust me . Not one is really sorry.

    2. I was struck by that remark too. With that, and his general demeanour, attitude and other responses, I wonder if Mr Jenkins is on the spectrum at all? Or just has no internal monologue!

    3. Elizabeth Moyse avatar
      Elizabeth Moyse


    4. I too was looking forward to the richly deserved grilling today of Mr Jenkins by the core participants and he did indeed get it from Mrs Misra’s lawyer. However, Mr Stein was, I thought, uncharacteristically restrained for some reason. Mr Jenkins’ was clearly briefed to deny deny deny (as most of the witnesses were it seems) feigning ignorance and amnesia throughout this Inquiry. Jason Beer KC was superb as ever, a joy to behold, skilful, forensic and masterful in his grasp of every aspect of this case. I can only hope the final truth will out and proper justice is obtained for all the Subpostmasters and Mistresses.

  46. Well at least his wfie appreciated his promotion to Prof..
    what a joke….

  47. I again feel sadness for the post office managers when we again observe the complete incompetence of Gareth Jenkins who apart from the typically narrow view of issues as directed.
    This is quite topical of the IT geeks from my experience.
    Shameful as to how inept he was and how lazy and stupid his behaviour demonstrated….

    1. I totally agree. How could he ever be regarded as independent as an expert witness. We have not seen with what rigour they tested the system and decided it was fit for purpose.
      I do not know of any mainline systems which allow techies access to the live system other than to introduce tested versions and even then they are never allowed into the live accounting. He designed the system so he must have included this feature. It is not coded by accident.
      The human impact is devastating and he is hiding behind assumed bumbling. I would love the KC’s today to ask why he coded remote access into the software.

    2. Agreed Tim. I’ve met a few Gareth Jenkins types in my time. “I was just answering the questions using the data I was given. “ It’s like what we used to call “happy path” programmers, who only developed how things are supposed to happen, rather than the messy and ugly ‘real life’.

  48. Whoops Misra, not Mistri!!!

  49. Did anyone notice the big smile that crossed Seema Mistri’s face when Jacobs turned round to glance at her after Beer had done another demolition job. 2:49:13 in the AM video. JH also enjoying it.

    Horizon appears to be lots of bits cobbled together & I doubt if anyone knows how it is all supposed to work. Clearly not robust if no-one can see what went wrong, specifically how the losses were generated? Where did the money go.

    1. Thanks for noting Seema’s smile. I checked it out at 2:49 and feel heartened that those most impacted by this travesty are gaining vindication from the inquiry’s progress.

    2. Almost all the “losses” were fictional; nothing went anywhere.

      However with most defence lawyers and almost all judges displaying accounting and logical skills lower than we’d expect from a troop of geladas, hundreds and hundreds of lives were ruined and reputations smeared.

      Confining oneself to intellectual abilities, the judiciary of this country are an absolute disgrace.

  50. charles lovatt avatar

    May I ask who is paying for Jenkins’s legal representation? And do you know what order of magnitude his legal bill is likely to be? Ditto questions for Paula V and Angela van d b. Thank you for great coverage

    1. I too wonder about that. The cost is likely to be substantial. My bet is on Fujitsu and POL respectively.

    2. Your question is answered in the Inquiry’s “Core Participant Protocol”, which I will link instead of trying to inadequately summarise:

    3. You don't say avatar
      You don’t say

      Probably money from the mysterious suspense accounts (the accounts which mysteriously became part of the profits and paid the CEOs bonuses as well as paying for bad advice from 3 uppity Lords).

    4. You are, I’m afraid.

  51. At this stage, Jenkins now comes across as completely punch drunk. Jason Beer has presented him with one uncomfortable truth after an another and asked him one question after another that, if Jenkins could bring himself to answer truthfully, would not only serious incriminate himself but would most likely destroy his very sense of who he is as a person. Short of a full, unadulterated confession, he has nowhere to go, no hiding place. At times he just rambles on focusing on irrelevant minutiae and, at others, he can barely put two coherent words together. What will happen when Messrs Henry and Stein get hold of him God only knows.

  52. JG’s ego was writing cheques his intellect couldn’t cash.

    The only way I can make sense of this individual and his actions is that he was convinced the SPMRs were guilty and he did the bare mininum to prove them prove guilty – and he believed he was doing the right thing.

  53. Yes, Gareth Jenkins is culpable, but is he capable? That is to say, capable of discerning the difference between someone from POL asking him to provide his professional unbiased opinion on the functioning of Horizon and providing a version of the “truth” to enable POL prosecutors/lawyers to succeed with their nefarious activities?
    The question remains, is he victim or villain?

    1. For a long time I thought victim, but having seen and heard this week’s evidence – and the performance of Jenkins himself – I now think villain. He’s not a stupid man (he got a maths degree from Cambridge for heaven’s sake!) and his email to Penny Thomas stating that they couldn’t be seen to undermine POL’s prosecutions, and his admission that he saw himself as part of the prosecution team, show him to be a villain.
      His defence to possible charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice seem to rely on his assertion that he was never advised by any of the lawyers of his duties to the court as an Expert Witness, but that defence was blown apart with the revelation that he DID receive a detailed letter from Bond Dickinson on just this matter as one of two attachments to an email – the fact that he only “scan” read it at best was his very grave error. And his constant refrain “I didn’t realise that at the time, but I do now” doesn’t cut it either. Ignorance is no defence in law.

    2. After hearing Friday’s proceedings, I’m not sure about Mr Jenkins. I felt he was, perhaps, manipulated by Fujitsu colleagues, and Post Office personnel. He seemed someone who, as he himself suggested, was more comfortable dealing with “things” (ie IT) than with people (and so, vulnerable to pressure from others). It was striking that Mr. Stein, usually a very confrontational and aggressive questioner, treated him very sensitively, and enabled him to highlight the lack of support from Fujitsu in relation to the legal matters. Mr. Stein’s approach contrasted with that of the barrister representing Mrs. Misra.

  54. One thing I don’t understand is how if he was touted as an expert witness why the defence or the judge didn’t home in that the format of his “boiler plate” witness statements did not comply with the proper format of that required and used to discredit him as such. Surely having read them the judge would have picked up on that and ruled they were inadmissible. I am not just talking about the content but the form of them???

    1. GJ was the chosen one because a more astute person would not have been so easily manipulated.

    2. and…. surely quoting Dunks is what’s known as “hearsay”. I thought a witness was supposed to testify to what they had, personally seen or done, not what someone else had told them.
      How come that wasn’t picked up by the defence at the time?

    3. Pam Walker MBE avatar

      I agree, and having been an expert witness myself I faced questions from the judge about my qualifications, experience and knowledge, which I had to clarify. I still do not understand why this was not done. It almost feels that the judiciary were in sympathy with the PO as an organisation and therefore, like everyone else involved in this scandal, were not as rigurous as they should have been. There is a reason justice is blind, it is not simply a metaphor. Judges, like expert witnesses should be impartial, this includes a self awareness of their own prejudices and biases. As Paua vennels said , the PO is ( should that be was), the most trusted insitution in the country, did this view unconciously affect justice.

    4. Richard Cansdale avatar
      Richard Cansdale

      Isn’t that what happened (eventually) and caused everthing to unravel.

      In the light of this shouldn’t Judges always check that Expert Witnesses fully understand their obligations and responsibilities.

      ….. which reminds me of the definition of expert.

      X is an unknown quantity. Spurt is a drip under pressure.

  55. I find it staggering he’s on day 3 – with Seema Misra right there – and he’s still not apologised in any way. Truly no sense of morality whatsoever.

  56. Like a lot of people in the Inquiry Mr Jenkins seems to be able to bury his head in the sand and ignore the consequences of his actions. I know this is abstract – but if I knew I had inadvertently contributed to bankruptcies, suicides, family breakups and people going to jail I would be bending over backwards to make amends. Mr Jenkins is making no effort to do this – he is not a holy fool. Like many others in this disaster he seems to be a culpable participant with no empathy nor remorse.

    1. Nicey said. Hundreds of thousands of us, feel exactly as you do Glenda.

    2. My opinion is GJ was a “culpable participant” in an organised crime, made possible by the SPMs contract of responsibility for illusionary losses created by the Horizon IT system, and each of the SPM victims individually told they were the only one having problems with Horizon (a lie, of course), then told to keep their mouths shut about Horizon. POL imo is just the tip of an iceberg of corporate crime which has been with us with impunity since the 1980s yuppie boom.

      So what kind of justice system have we when corporate criminals are able to make millions out of innocent victims like the SPMs, knowing their victims do not have pockets deep enough to defend themselves? And what kind of legal system have we where lawyers are able to use non-disclosure of evidence and lies to ruin peoples lives as a warning to other SPMs not to dare blame the bug-ridden Horizon?

      Well done, Sir Alan and the other SPMs who stood up to the PO mob. And well done ITV for blasting us out of our slumber with the amazing wake up drama, Mr Bates Vs the Post Office. I watched it three times. And well done Nick Wallis for your amazing book, The Great Post Office Scandal (I bought the hard copy and the kindle and audio copies) and also for your hard work reporting and exposing the PO mob. There are those who stand with Israel, and those who stand with Palestine – let’s all stand with the SPMs.

    3. I doubt very much that Mr Jenkins lacks empathy or remorse; he may feel both. His statements might display an apparent reluctance to ‘make amends’ but his motive in giving evidence is surely to avoid personal culpability. Hence cloaking his evidence: ‘with the benefit of hindsight’, ‘if I knew then what I know now’ and ‘I didn’t realise at the time’. I’m sure Mr Jenkins’ lawyers have advised him that an expression of remorse is only one small step away from admission of guilt; better not to not go anywhere near that territory.

      While one might have reservations about what, exactly, Jenkins knew about Horizon faults and when and what his motives might have been for behaving the way he did, at least he seemed to engage to a degree in the Inquiry. Compared to some of the witnesses we have seen who claimed to have no recollection of years of activity in which they were intimately involved, those who never read/saw the memos and documents they were sent (or in one case actually wrote), attended the meeting, wrote the minutes but can’t recall what happened, etc. etc. Mr Jenkins seemed a treasure trove of information.

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