Post Office investigator with ‘heavy footprint’ in scandal due earlier than inquiry | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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A Post Office investigator who had a “heavy footprint” within the Horizon scandal is ready to offer proof earlier than a public inquiry.

The statutory inquiry, which started in 2021, is chaired by retired decide Sir Wyn Williams. It has beforehand seemed on the human affect of the scandal, the Horizon system roll-out and the working system.

It is now making ready to look at the motion taken in opposition to the sub-postmasters. The probe was launched to make sure there’s a “public summary of the failings which occurred with the Horizon IT system at the Post Office” and subsequently led to the wrongful convictions of subpostmasters.

Now Stephen Bradshaw is scheduled to offer proof on Thursday after being concerned within the felony investigation of 9 sub-postmasters. These embody Lisa Brennan, a former counter clerk in Huyton, close to Liverpool, who was falsely accused of stealing £3,000 in 2003.

Mr Bradshaw has been accused by a fellow Merseyside sub-postmistress, Rita Threlfall, of asking her the color of her eyes and what jewelry she wore earlier than saying: “Good, so we’ve got a description of you for when they come” throughout her interview underneath warning in August 2010.

Lead counsel to the inquiry Jason Beer KC had beforehand described the investigator of getting a “heavy footprint” within the scandal. His proof will kind a part of section 4 of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry which started in July final yr and is wanting on the motion that was taken in opposition to subpostmasters together with audits, investigations and felony proceedings.

Mr Bradshaw was because of reply questions in November, however disclosure failings from the Post Office meant the listening to was delayed till Thursday. Earlier in section 4, a former Post Office lawyer apologised for prosecuting Ms Brennan who was left homeless along with her younger daughter after being wrongly convicted of theft.

Theresa Williamson stated she was “angry” that materials in regards to the defective laptop system was not disclosed to her earlier than Ms Brennan’s prosecution, saying: “We should have been told these things.”

The actions of different legal professionals and investigators have additionally come underneath scrutiny from Mr Beer and his crew over the previous few months. In September final yr, former authorized case supervisor Mandy Talbot advised the probe she had “nothing to hide” regardless of showing to recommend coping with a subpostmistress’s declare of system defectiveness by saying: “How much to go away and keep your mouth shut?”

In the identical month, former Post Office auditor Helen Rose was grilled over giving “inaccurate” data to the High Court which led to the chapter of East Yorkshire subpostmaster Lee Castleton.

In July, the top of authorized providers on the Post Office, Ben Foat, additionally apologised on the inquiry after a doc surfaced which used the racist time period “negroid types” to explain wrongly convicted subpostmasters. The inquiry has additionally been affected by delays due to disclosure failings from the Post Office.

In November, Mr Beer stated round 363,000 emails had been discovered on a legacy mailing system, and stated the earlier disclosure failings had led some to make use of the phrase “cover up”. Phase 4 of the inquiry is because of final till the start of subsequent month.