Post Office (Horizon scandal) - Office Workers Names Cleared

MU655

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Convicted Post Office workers have names cleared - BBC News

I thought I would post a thread about this. Justice still not served, though.

For those who don't know about this, Post Office workers were falsely accused of theft due to an IT glitch between 1999 and 2015. Instead of admitting to the glitch, management decided to cover it up and instead hound these employees, accusing them of stealing tens of thousands of pounds.

The Post Office knew about the issues with their IT system.

39 post office workers ended up being falsely convicted for theft. And more were forced to pay back thousands of pounds they never stole, otherwise they were being threatened with court and prison.

A man committed suicide, another died before have their name cleared, and another had a stroke due to being forced to pay back £1000 per month. Only a few of examples of the damage this caused to people.

Those responsible of the cover up should be done for murder, in my opinion.
 

esmufc07

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I hope there’s some serious compensation being prepared for those involved. Had not heard of this before, shocking what they’ve had to go through.
 

TwoSheds

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Presumably they'll file a civil suit against the Post Office? Can't believe the government have any interest in actually criminally prosecuting those responsible but a civil suit seems thoroughly feasible?
 

Dante

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I briefly took a job in a Post Office during that period, and the sub-postmaster I was working under actually got fired for exactly this reason.

I kind of want to text him to see if he's one of the people who got cleared. I'm just worried that he isn't, it would be quite an awkward way to get in touch again after a decade.

From what I remember, Horizon was better than the system it replaced but still a bit shit. Had no idea it was this buggy.
 

nickm

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Executives at Fujitsu and the post office from that time need to go to jail.
 

Tottenhamguy

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Paula Vennells has alot to answer for. CBE should be stripped as well.
 

calodo2003

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Never heard of this before.

Part of me is appalled, the other part of me is not shocked in the slightest that something like this occurred.
 

mariachi-19

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Holy feck that's going to be one hell of a compensation payout. The IT feck up cost what? couple of million? Instead of wearing it and admitting a mistake they went after people...

That payout will potentially be in the 100's of million.
 

Ady87

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39 of 40 rulings were overturned. Assume that 1 that wasn’t was just good old fashioned theft.

There has already been omencivil case win but apparently the award barely covered costs and latest estimates are that £500m would be needed to put this to bed.
 

Jippy

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That's truly horrific and the scale of it is astounding. Depressing how little the lives of others are valued by selfish corporate feckers.
 

Roane

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Holy balls. Never heard of it.
There is so much messed up stuff out there that gets no media attention.

An example would be in child adoption.

I have a kid with osteogenesis imperfecta. A severe type of brittle bone disease. Many kids have a milder form where they fracture where other would just get a bump or a bruise.

I learnt, through having a child with OI, that many parents who had kids with milder forms of OI had their children taken off them with social services etc thinking the child was being abused. So little is known in this country that OI was never considered.

Some of these children, well babies that were taken away from parents and put up for adoption. Over the years more knowledge of OI meant these kids were diagnosed. The parents had in no way abused their child. Yet because many of these kids had been adopted the services felt the best thing for the child was to stay with the adopted parents and the biological parents couldn't have them back. Even though they have been found innocent of any wrong doing.
 

jojojo

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The BBC did a series of 15 minute radio programs about it last year, it was the first I'd ever heard of it. It's a fascinating series - ideal for a drive to work or whatever.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jfyv

They did a TV documentary on it as well
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000gpbv/panorama-scandal-at-the-post-office

What starts off as computer error turns into a cover up to the point where they're removing potential whistle blowers simply for reporting faults found in the software, and sacking/sidelining people called in as auditors.

Devastating for the victims, and a cautionary tale for the rest of us as our dependence on computers leaves us even more exposed to cover-ups and failures that get blamed on computer error - or justified by computer infallibility (or impartiality).
 

McGrathsipan

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Convicted Post Office workers have names cleared - BBC News

I thought I would post a thread about this. Justice still not served, though.

For those who don't know about this, Post Office workers were falsely accused of theft due to an IT glitch between 1999 and 2015. Instead of admitting to the glitch, management decided to cover it up and instead hound these employees, accusing them of stealing tens of thousands of pounds.

The Post Office knew about the issues with their IT system.

39 post office workers ended up being falsely convicted for theft. And more were forced to pay back thousands of pounds they never stole, otherwise they were being threatened with court and prison.

A man committed suicide, another died before have their name cleared, and another had a stroke due to being forced to pay back £1000 per month. Only a few of examples of the damage this caused to people.

Those responsible of the cover up should be done for murder, in my opinion.
That is outrageous. Truly despicable and yes I would agree that anyone that is complicit in this should face jail.
 

arnie_ni

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When computer software tells you 736 people in one company stole thousands each you'd think someone would kop on its a computer system fault.

Did the police not get some sort of computer analyst to look into the software?
 

Drainy

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It must be the worst feeling in the world. Not only to be accused of something you are innocent of and noone in authority believe you, but then for your accuser to hide the fact they know their evidence is dodgy and secure a prosecution against you so you are punished for nothing.

Genuinely had a tear run down my face listening to the wife of the sub-postmaster who died of cancer talking about how it broke him to be labelled as a criminal. Its beyond the punishment, its a stain on your personal reputation that can't be washed off, damages your future prospects and can only destroy your belief in justice and society as a whole. I cannot imagine how much it must have torn all of these poor people and their families apart.
 

Buster15

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They need to come down hard on those involved. Like, really hard.
Very much so.
Just imagine if you or one of your family had worked for years for the PO, only to be charged as a criminal and sent to jail for doing sweet F All.
I heard a story yesterday from a lady about her husband. He was convicted and eventually killed himself.
No amount of false apology or compensation will bring him back.
 

nickm

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The BBC did a series of 15 minute radio programs about it last year, it was the first I'd ever heard of it. It's a fascinating series - ideal for a drive to work or whatever.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jfyv

They did a TV documentary on it as well
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000gpbv/panorama-scandal-at-the-post-office

What starts off as computer error turns into a cover up to the point where they're removing potential whistle blowers simply for reporting faults found in the software, and sacking/sidelining people called in as auditors.

Devastating for the victims, and a cautionary tale for the rest of us as our dependence on computers leaves us even more exposed to cover-ups and failures that get blamed on computer error - or justified by computer infallibility (or impartiality).
It wasn’t computer error though, it was incompetent software design and the accuracy of testimony about this in court - these engineers and managers must be held accountable. It is like a building collapsing and the architects and engineers blaming the people who worked in it. You wouldn’t accept that.
 
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jojojo

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It wasn’t computer error though, it was incompetent software design and the accuracy of testimony about this in court - these engineers and managers must be held accountable. It is like a building collapsing and the architects and engineers blaming the people who worked in it. You wouldn’t accept that.
You're quite right, it's not a computer error and it's not a data entry error. Faulty software does get out in the field. The key is what do you when you find a fault, even if it seems like a minor error or an unlikely to occur, even if you believe that it could have been human data entry error.

Some problems with the system were found by field engineers who corrected them on the fly with manual adjustments. Others were found by software and dataset inspection. It's ignoring those red flags that's horrific. Managers/engineers who were supposed to see patterns in error reports ignored them. Managers/engineers who keep reporting them got moved to different jobs. A corporate blind eye on the problem, even when it was being reported by their own staff.
 

DavelinaJolie

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Any company should be able to identify patterns to understand issues that may affect their business and workers. To willfully ignore it, bankrupt and prosecute employees...

Utterly disgusting.
 

Vidic_In_Moscow

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Really horrible stuff. I bet there are so many managers/departments/agencies that it becomes too convoluted to nail any responsibility on anyone in particular. That's the trouble with these big public sector organisations with tons of layers and departments everyone believes the responsibility lies elsewhere and the result is net incompetence, maybe it's the same in the private sector too but I don't have any experience there and find it harder to believe it would be. The missing money was probably discovered in accounting and some anonymous IT goon that nobody even knows just pulls the data and gives it to some higher up that again nobody really knows and case closed without any consulting with the people on the ground. It's frightening how this can happen but not surprising when these companies constantly try to outsource and centralize everything.