Horizon is strong, says ex-boss of postmasters’ union | EUROtoday

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The Post Office’s Horizon system is “very robust” and the one scandal is that the corporate didn’t correctly defend it, in line with a person tasked with representing sub-postmasters.

George Thomson, the previous chief of the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters (NFSP), informed a long-running inquiry: “The Horizon system is not the scandal, the Post Office stupidity on steroids handling of the situation is the scandal.”

Between 1999 and 2015, greater than 900 sub-postmasters had been prosecuted for offences together with theft on the power of defective knowledge from the Horizon IT system.

Christopher Head, a former sub-postmaster, described Mr Thomson’s views as “nothing short of abhorrent”.

David Enright, a lawyer who has represented a whole bunch of individuals in reference to the Post Office, stated Mr Thomson’s “flat earther defence of the horizon computer system defies credulity”.

Mr Thomson stated that the variety of sub-postmasters who had been prosecuted was a “tiny percentage” of the 100,000 individuals who have used Horizon over 25 years.

Horizon is a software program system for duties akin to accounting and stocktaking which started to be put in throughout Post Office branches from 1999.

Sub-postmasters complained about bugs after it falsely reported shortfalls – typically for a lot of hundreds of kilos – however their issues had been dismissed.

Mr Thomson stated the Post Office’s “mishandling of the situation” has been “so catastrophic” for sub-postmasters, the model and Royal Mail group.

It signifies that the Post Office has “not been able to defend a robust Horizon computer system”, Mr Thomson stated.

During questioning on the inquiry on Friday, Mr Thomson’s responses had been greeted by astonishment and anger by some sub-postmasters within the room.

When requested by Julian Blake, counsel for the inquiry, why the NFSP had not defended sub-postmasters, Mr Thomson insisted that the federation had argued on their behalf however had not had the funds for a authorized defence.

The NFSP has acquired hundreds of thousands of kilos in funds from the Post Office.

Mr Thomson denied that the affiliation turned “too close” to the Post Office or was “flush with cash”.

Mr Head stated: “I feel his proof to date reveals him for the person that he’s. He has proven no regret, no sympathy, there may be completely no signal of any apology for his or the NFSP’s half within the scandal and the injury carried out on this scandal.

“The testimony so far is nothing short of abhorrent.”

The NFSP was a commerce union – arrange in 1897 by a gaggle of sub-postmasters to assist their career – which was become a commerce affiliation a decade in the past after the Post Office didn’t recognise the group for collective bargaining functions.

Mr Thomson was basic secretary of the NFSP between 2007 and 2018.

He stated: “We worked closely with the Post Office because we both needed to have a successful franchise – that’s the reality.”

https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cyxxz799vxko