Former Post Office boss: I’m partly responsible for Horizon IT scandal | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

A former Post Office boss has steered he was partly responsible for the Horizon IT scandal as a result of he “didn’t really reflect” on how the organisation prosecuted alleged crimes.

Giving proof on the Post Office inquiry on Thursday, David Smith – who was the Post Office’s managing director between April and December 2010 – mentioned there have been “inherent risks” concerned within the prosecutions happening in-house versus by an impartial authority.

He informed the inquiry: “I’m sad to say at the time I didn’t really reflect on it in the way that I perhaps should have done.”

Mr Smith added that, with hindsight, administration ought to have recognized these dangers, to place in place “better control mechanisms”.

Asked to what extent he accepted accountability for not figuring out that threat, Mr Smith responded: “I certainly think I am a part of it.”

During his proof, Mr Smith additionally admitted that the Post Office conducting investigations after which prosecuting the instances might need meant the organisation didn’t “act independently”.

“I think that the passage of time has shown that conducting the case, gathering the data, acting as the prosecution can lead you to a position where you might not think as independently as you should do about the quality of information,” he mentioned.

David Smith was former managing director of the Post Office (Lucy North/PA Wire)

He additionally mentioned he believed there was an “institutional bias” to not examine additional was subpostmasters have been saying in regards to the Horizon system.

“Looking back, I think that there was an institutional bias to not interrogate further what was being said by SPMs and the public about Horizon,” he mentioned in a witness assertion.

During his look, the inquiry additionally heard how the previous MD additionally mentioned he had been “reassured” by prime Post Office bosses akin to former CEO Paula Vennells and common counsel Susan Crichton that the Horizon system couldn’t be “tampered with”.

Mr Smith mentioned he would have “approached things differently” had he recognized that was not true, but additionally acknowledged that, when he took over in April 2010, it wouldn’t have been uncommon for a pc system to have some bugs and there have been some points within the rollout of Horizon on-line.

He informed the inquiry that by the point the Fujitsu system had been rolled out to “around 600 branches” some have been experiencing issues like “freezing screens” which affected buying and selling.

Mr Smith mentioned Paula Vennells had reassured him Horizon was tamper-proof (Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry/PA Wire)

He added: “We were all very aware that if we could not fix that problem relatively quickly, we would have to rollback to the legacy system.”

Mr Smith defined that he was having “conversations with senior people from Fujitsu” to unravel transaction points and display freezing, amongst different software program points.

When requested what he had been informed in regards to the points, he mentioned: “We’ve got strong records. We’ve got independent security going round checking and balancing, and the court cases that we’ve have had been largely successful. So it was that kind of level, rather than anything more detailed.”

The inquiry continues.