Our latest submissions (Working Paper 4) to the Horizon Inquiry on Horizon is up on the Lab site. It responds to the Williams’ Inquiry raising 4 issues about the scope of its work which suggests that someone (the Chairman? Post Office??) thinks Second Sight’s Investigations; legal work on civil and criminal cases brought by Post Office; and the catastrophe that was the Bates litigation (I discuss here in a video interview and we wrote about it extensively here) should not be looked at. Here is our submission summary. You can read the full submission here.
In essence, these submissions argue that an understanding of the Second Sight Investigation; the role of legal advice on shortfall cases, civil and criminal; and the conduct of the Bates litigation are fundamental to an exploration and understanding of the harms arising from POL’s use of the Horizon system.
The High Court and the Court of Appeal have raised matters of profound importance and concern in which legal work has played an important, and sometimes central, role. A failure to consider this role in full will severely limit the
capacity of the Inquiry to get to the truth behind the Horizon failings. Horizon is about software failings certainly, but it also clearly raises management failings and legal failings. Harms directly arose from the way legal work was managed and conducted: people were threatened, sued, fired, and prosecuted via legal work.
Denials, non-disclosure, and delay were enabled, at least in part, by legal work. Second Sight raised many of the concerns accepted by the Court of Appeal and the High Court. They were resisted, rightly or wrongly at the time, by POL managers with the assistance of POL lawyers, and over a considerable period. The entirety of that period will provide critical evidence of how POL responded to concerns about Horizon
Software errors were nothing without the human actions and human action was shaped by, carried through, and then defended by legal work which has prevented and delayed justice for the Sub-Post Masters. The Inquiry cannot consider such matters off-limits and meet its objectives.