I did not assume Horizon was a monster | EUROtoday

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By Tom Espiner, BBC enterprise reporter

BBC Gareth Jenkins sitting in front of the desk in the room where the Post Office inquiry is being heldBBC

Former Fujitsu engineer and Horizon professional Gareth Jenkins has mentioned he did not assume the software program was “a monster” and that he was “trapped into doing things I shouldn’t have done”.

Speaking at an inquiry into the Horizon scandal, Mr Jenkins was accused by lawyer Flora Page of “protecting” it when he gave proof as an professional witness between 2010 and 2013.

Ms Page represents Horizon victims together with former sub-postmaster Seema Misra, who Mr Jenkins gave proof towards in 2010.

Ms Misra instructed the BBC the system was a monster which “had blood on its hands, and so do the people who protect [it]”.

Between 1999 and 2015, the Post Office prosecuted a whole lot of sub-postmasters on the energy of defective Horizon information, with 700 convicted of offences corresponding to theft and false accounting.

Horizon falsely flagged discrepancies in accounts, with many sub-postmasters utilizing their very own financial savings to make good the imaginary shortfalls.

The wrongful prosecutions, which have been known as one of many largest British miscarriages of justice, had a devastating impact on the lives of the sub-postmasters affected.

They confronted monetary damage and the lack of standing of their communities.

Some sub-postmasters ended up taking their very own lives after being pursued by the Post Office for supposed losses, together with Martin Griffiths, whose widow was later paid in instalments by the Post Office for her silence, the inquiry heard in April.

Giving his fourth day of proof on the inquiry into the Horizon scandal, Mr Jenkins was questioned by Ms Page, a barrister who represented Horizon victims together with Seema Misra.

Ms Misra was pregnant together with her second baby when she was convicted of theft and despatched to jail in 2010. She later instructed the BBC she would have killed herself had she not been pregnant on the time.

In a charged ambiance on the listening to, with Ms Misra sitting subsequent to her, Ms Page accused Mr Jenkins of being a “Fujitsu man”.

She mentioned Mr Jenkins “knew the Misra trial was a test case for Horizon”.

Ms Page alleged his position was to verify Horizon had a “clean bill of health” and that he had “tailored” his proof accordingly.

“My role was to tell the truth,” Mr Jenkins mentioned. “I attempted to answer as best I could the questions I was asked”.

Ms Page responded: “Never mind whether a by-product of protecting the monster was that a woman was sent to jail”.

Mr Jenkins mentioned he was “sorry for had happened to Mrs Misra” however he felt that was down the to approach that the Post Office had behaved and wasn’t “purely down to me”.

“I clearly got trapped into doing things I shouldn’t have done, but that was not intentional on my behalf,” he mentioned.

Mr Jenkins was a part of the Fujitsu workforce that developed the Horizon software program, and a part of his position was coping with bugs within the system.

Mr Jenkins has maintained all through his proof that he did not perceive his earlier duties as an professional witness to inform the courtroom about issues with Horizon, and that he did not know that he should not simply narrowly reply questions in regards to the expertise.

Under questioning on the inquiry on Friday, Mr Jenkins mentioned: “I appreciate that I got things very wrong, but it was done through ignorance rather than maliciousness”.

He added that the Horizon system “as a whole was working well”.

Mr Jenkins is presently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of perjury – mendacity to a courtroom, and perverting the course of justice. No prison fees have been introduced.

Responding to Mr Jenkins’ questioning, Ms Misra instructed the BBC that Horizon is a “monster who killed people”.

She mentioned she did not imagine Mr Jenkins’ testimony, and that he’s “just trying to cover his own back”.

Ms Misra added that on a private degree, listening to Mr Jenkins’ testimony over the previous days had been “really bad”.

“I had to go into the loo to cry and scream,” she mentioned. “I didn’t want to show my tears to him”.

However, getting the testimony out within the open had been “good”, she added.

“That gives me the power to keep on fighting,” she mentioned, and that she felt she has the UK “nation behind me”.