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Thread: Will Paula Venells ever be held accountable?

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  1. #1
    Master brigant's Avatar
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    Will Paula Venells ever be held accountable?

    Today PO sub postmasters appeals against conviction in the PO Horizon debacle will be announced.

    This disgraceful affair which resulted in hundreds of PO postmasters being imprisoned and or fined (I think there may also have ben suicides) as a result of software issues in a new IT system that was rolled out in the PO plus thhe appalling behaviour of the PO "police".

    The CEO at the time was Pauls Vennells who, up to this point has managed to wriggle out of accepting any responsibility.

    I wonder if, or when, there will be any accoountability for this affair.

  2. #2
    Master unclealec's Avatar
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    Heads should roll.
    Compensation should be bountiful.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by unclealec View Post
    Heads should roll.
    Compensation should be bountiful.
    Due to the complete lack of access to justice for those without deep pockets in this country, I'm afraid the compensation they were awarded was mostly swallowed up by the litigation funders who backed the original action which led to this. I think my colleagues had 47% of the award in return for their funding it.

    It is an utterly disgusting state of affairs and only getting worse.

  4. #4
    Grand Master jwg663's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unclealec View Post
    Heads should roll.
    Compensation should be bountiful.
    From following this saga in Private Eye, it appears that most of the compensation available to wronged postmasters has been spent on lawyers acting on their behalf. (Ooops, beaten to it!)

    Vennells (an ordained Anglican priest, I believe) carries on with her business career, seemingly unaffected.
    ______

    ​Jim.

  5. #5
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    In business as in politics those at the top are seldom held accountable - lessons will no doubt be learnt, until the next time.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

    'Populism, the last refuge of a Tory scoundrel'.

  6. #6
    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    The Postmasters' names have been cleared....

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56859357

  7. #7
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Fantastic news - but this is truly one of the most heart-wrenching miscarriages of justice in British history in my view.

    Truly, the damage inflicted on these decent, honest, and totally innocent men and women is beyond comprehension.

    I hope they will receive extremely substantial compensation, but there does need to be actual accountability for the senior post-office officials who perpetrated this against them. It cannot be right that those individuals do not face action for the suffering they have caused.
    So clever my foot fell off.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    The Postmasters' names have been cleared....

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56859357
    This has been a truly shameful affair with hundreds of innocent people having had their lives ruined by the failings of the PO and the government - and the government should be responsible for compensating those victims rather than passing the buck to the PO.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    The Postmasters' names have been cleared....

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56859357
    Too late for my friend's dad, who ran the one in the village I used to live in.

    Ruined him.

  10. #10
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Someone should go to prison for the cover up.

    Incompetence is undesirable in a CEO, but deliberately covering up a mistake that had seen people imprisoned? I'm pretty sure that IS a crime... (If not, it damn well should be).

    M
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Someone should go to prison for the cover up.

    Incompetence is undesirable in a CEO, but deliberately covering up a mistake that had seen people imprisoned? I'm pretty sure that IS a crime... (If not, it damn well should be).

    M
    Totally agree - Vanells and all others who knew about what was going on should be tried and if found guilty - jailed. Just not sure what they would be tried for?

    I simply do not believe for one second that they didn't or couldn't have known what was going on.

  12. #12
    I have followed this for a while because I am quite friendly on a purely business basis with my local Post mistress, she has told me how it has ruined many of her colleagues lives and of how they suffered, really suffered, how is it possible that senior heads don't roll over this ?

  13. #13
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    I watched a documentary about this a while ago.

    This situation is utterly disgusting and has ruined the lives of many decent hardworking people.

    I struggle to comprehend how awful it will have been for those who suffered in this scandal.

  14. #14
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    Agree with all of the posts, truly shocking story and someone should be held accountable for damaging so many good peoples lives

  15. #15
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    Doubt anything will happen to her look what happens to politicians who get caught red handed for as long as I can remember this country is run by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful

  16. #16
    I hope they can get it together to sue the post office, there must be a long list of things they can go for.

    letís hope the cps get the appetite to go after the senior management

  17. #17
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    I have worked as a programmer in enterprise systems for decades, and I found it laughable that the senior management at the PO insisted that their Horizon system was infallible, therefore their Post masters and mistresses must be guilty theft. I bet the developers actually working on the code were well aware of all the bugs, shortcuts, compromises, workarounds, sticking plaster, crud and general crap that most large code bases accumulate over time, and that there was no way it was without fault.

  18. #18
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatters View Post
    I have worked as a programmer in enterprise systems for decades, and I found it laughable that the senior management at the PO insisted that their Horizon system was infallible, therefore their Post masters and mistresses must be guilty theft. I bet the developers actually working on the code were well aware of all the bugs, shortcuts, compromises, workarounds, sticking plaster, crud and general crap that most large code bases accumulate over time, and that there was no way it was without fault.
    If you read some of the Private Eye coverage there was a suggestion that Fujitsu Siemens staff were the only ones being investigated with a view to criminal charges being brought - but I'm not completely up to date with where that was going.

    About time Vennels was de-frocked (no giggling at the back) but I don't imagine that's going to happen either. Wretched woman.

  19. #19
    Master gerard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatters View Post
    I bet the developers actually working on the code were well aware of all the bugs, shortcuts, compromises, workarounds, sticking plaster, crud and general crap that most large code bases accumulate over time, and that there was no way it was without fault.
    If that were the case it is a sad indictment that they did not stand up and say as much.

    I'm pleased that have won but really wish there was the opportunity to hold the middle managers and CEO responsible today. They are all culpable in the destruction of good honest people's lives.



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  20. #20
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatters View Post
    I have worked as a programmer in enterprise systems for decades, and I found it laughable that the senior management at the PO insisted that their Horizon system was infallible, therefore their Post masters and mistresses must be guilty theft. I bet the developers actually working on the code were well aware of all the bugs, shortcuts, compromises, workarounds, sticking plaster, crud and general crap that most large code bases accumulate over time, and that there was no way it was without fault.
    The programmers / coders at Fujitsu were very much aware of the flaws in the system and they told Post Office management about it. The failure of PO to disclose such evidence to the defence when prosecuting their franchisees is surely grounds for legal grievance? It took a whistle-blower and a highly expensive law suite to reveal the depth of the PO's deception. Have a listen to the Radio 4 series I linked to above or, for a potted version without some detail, see BBC Panorama.

    PS My licence fee well spent...well done Nick Wallis.
    Last edited by PickleB; 23rd April 2021 at 21:35.

  21. #21
    Craftsman Fender's Avatar
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    Forgive my ignorance, but I don't understand any of this. Postmaster General always puts me in mind of Vincent Price.

    How can this woman have wreaked such havoc with some dodgy software?

    Potted history, anyone?

  22. #22
    Master brigant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatters View Post
    I have worked as a programmer in enterprise systems for decades, and I found it laughable that the senior management at the PO insisted that their Horizon system was infallible, therefore their Post masters and mistresses must be guilty theft. I bet the developers actually working on the code were well aware of all the bugs, shortcuts, compromises, workarounds, sticking plaster, crud and general crap that most large code bases accumulate over time, and that there was no way it was without fault.

    Quite agree, I've been theretoo. I never knew a computer system that didn't allow access by programmers and authorised staff.

  23. #23
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    A welcome, if token, development:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics...-cbe-official/

  24. #24
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    It's a very small start, but it's just a gong.

  25. #25
    Master brigant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    She should be held to account completely. Don't forget people died because of her behaviour.

    I worked all my life in I.T. and it must have been glaringly obvious that this was an I.T failure and yet the P.O. did everything to cover up and use their internal police to blame hundreds of innocent parties.

    It is an absolute disgrace that this is still dragging on.

  26. #26

    Will Paula Venells ever be held accountable?

    I was aware of this story, ex-sub postmasters regularly appeared on BBC R4 Today to state their cases. What they described as the issue and the rough treatment they received seemed odd. I assumed the cases were sporadic. What absolutely floored me this week and hadnít sunk in was the sheer magnitude. I think it was something like 700 to 900 prosecutions and as others have pointed out suicide, imprisonments, destitution.

    How did this not register as something going wrong? 700 postmasters canít have suddenly become criminals. I can only conclude orchestrated maleficence by the Post Office and HMG.


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  27. #27
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    It's a pity we don't have anybody on the forum who might have some senior management experience in the Post Office from around the time of the introduction of the Horizon system. Oh wait...

  28. #28
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton-Browne View Post
    It's a pity we don't have anybody on the forum who might have some senior management experience in the Post Office from around the time of the introduction of the Horizon system. Oh wait...
    Oh no, you didn't....
    Cheers,
    Neil.

  29. #29
    'Central to his allegation is that Horizonís Epos system was initially built with ďno design documents, no test documents, no peer reviews, no code reviews, no coding standardsĒ.'

    I'm not sure there's been much improvement in the last 20 years.

  30. #30
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton-Browne View Post
    It's a pity we don't have anybody on the forum who might have some senior management experience in the Post Office from around the time of the introduction of the Horizon system. Oh wait...

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton-Browne View Post
    It's a pity we don't have anybody on the forum who might have some senior management experience in the Post Office from around the time of the introduction of the Horizon system. Oh wait...
    Now, now - you know it is anything goes in procurement as long as you keep winning those elections.

  32. #32
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    Still no idea what Vennells isn't in front of a jury over this. I'm sure I read that there is actual evidence she knew of or approved of the cover up?

    The State/Quango executive appointment gravy train is responsible for lots of wasted money and worse, but this must be the most truly awful example - there has to be a method to stop this kind of incompetence and arrrogance.

  33. #33
    Grand Master dkpw's Avatar
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    I agree with the points made so far.

    As an ex-member of the CPS, the point I'd like to make is, the importance of having independent prosecutors. The PO had / has it's own prosecution department. They were clearly not interested in finding the truth but in vengeful "debt" recovery. Nor were they interested in disclosure, when they clearly knew their systems were fallible.

    The whole affair is shabby and disgraceful, as is the current government's refusal to have an independent judicial review.
    David
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  34. #34
    Grand Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkpw View Post
    I agree with the points made so far.

    As an ex-member of the CPS, the point I'd like to make is, the importance of having independent prosecutors. The PO had / has it's own prosecution department. They were clearly not interested in finding the truth but in vengeful "debt" recovery. Nor were they interested in disclosure, when they clearly knew their systems were fallible.

    The whole affair is shabby and disgraceful, as is the current government's refusal to have an independent judicial review.
    Is it possible for principal players in the PO at the time - to now be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice?

    That is what I would like to see happen.

  35. #35
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    It looks like the Revd Venal has hung up her dog collar too.

    https://www.stalbans.anglican.org/th...la-vennells-2/

  36. #36
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draftsmann View Post
    It looks like the Revd Venal has hung up her dog collar too.

    https://www.stalbans.anglican.org/th...la-vennells-2/

    I'm pretty sure she won't have been given much option on that... moral authority gone.
    So clever my foot fell off.

  37. #37
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingBanana View Post
    I'm pretty sure she won't have been given much option on that... moral authority gone.
    Apparently her Bishop is the son of a sub-postmaster... 😀

  38. #38
    Grand Master dkpw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    Is it possible for principal players in the PO at the time - to now be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice?

    That is what I would like to see happen.
    I'm not sure but it should be looked into. Disclosure rules were different at the time. I believe some of the victims have considered taking action against the PO for malicious prosecution. I would like to see the PO prosecution unit disbanded and their ability to prosecute independently removed.
    David
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  39. #39
    See she's stood down from her current roles. Hopefully the start of her collapse

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  40. #40
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    She should hang...her head in shame. Give her entire savings and future pension to those who suffered.

  41. #41
    I thoroughly recommend Radio 4ís investigative journalism series on this Post Office scandal.

    There are 10 episodes on BBC sounds. Each episode is around 15 minutes and tell the story from the beginning to end

    Captivating listening.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/series/m000jf7j

  42. #42
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    I read that the post office have distributed what they consider to be a generous £58 million. However, split that between 557 wronged parties... a hundred grand each, more or less. For a life, career and future destroyed. It isn't nothing but to me its absolutely insulting.

  43. #43
    Itís Amazing how fast the media and the authorities have gone for Noel Clarke yet the post office board seem immune to prosecution, if youíre in the club youíre bulletproof

  44. #44
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevkojak View Post
    I read that the post office have distributed what they consider to be a generous £58 million. However, split that between 557 wronged parties... a hundred grand each, more or less. For a life, career and future destroyed. It isn't nothing but to me its absolutely insulting.
    I read that it was nearer £10k each as the legals had the bulk of it.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Templogin View Post
    I read that it was nearer £10k each as the legals had the bulk of it.
    If you listen to the podcast on post #58, it says by the time legal fees are taken out, it would average out at £20k each, with some getting more and some less.

    A pitiful amount, but the claimants did settle with the PO out of court.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    If you listen to the podcast on post #58, it says by the time legal fees are taken out, it would average out at £20k each, with some getting more and some less.

    A pitiful amount, but the claimants did settle with the PO out of court.
    Whilst I didnít fund this case, Iíve been at the forefront of Litigation Funding since itís inception in 2007 and prior to that, insuring the downside risk of litigation, ďAfter the EventĒ Insurance.

    Sadly, itís a very expensive - all cases if they go to trial end up with 50/50 odds - necessity unless you are very wealthy.

    The Tories really havenít helped with their slavish libertarian dribbling which first saw court fees increased for cases valued at over £200K from £400 to £10,000! Users should pay donít you know, not us non users and then they sucked up to their insurer donors by making my premiums unrecoverable from the other side in costs as they previously had been, unless its libel for some reason.

    Itís funny to work in an industry youíd happily see ended with a return to Legal Aid again. Sadly, I donít see that happening ever so justice will either remain out of reach or involve very expensive Third Party Funding.

  47. #47
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    If you listen to the podcast on post #58, it says by the time legal fees are taken out, it would average out at £20k each, with some getting more and some less.

    A pitiful amount, but the claimants did settle with the PO out of court.
    Thanks for the correction. I don't have a BBC account, so hadn't listened to the series.

    The loss of Legal Aid is certainly a loss for the poor. I always thought that justice for all was one of the foundations for civilised nations Buffoon?

  48. #48
    Craftsman T1ckT0ck's Avatar
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    Just watching BBC interviews with victims of this. One lady was wrongly imprisoned in holloway at 19 for alleged £11k theft!

    I really hope this enquiry helps all those affected and find people within the PO accountable, saying sorry doesnít cut it.


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  49. #49
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    This whole debacle is an utter disgrace and the senior managers at the PO should be locked up.

    I saw how this affected our local PO, she wasnít jailed but had to pay back money sheíd never stolen. It ruined her.

  50. #50
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Also caught this in the TV last night, the guy being interviewed got put away for allegedly pilfering £208k.

    What really shocks me about these cases is that from the few that Iíve read about nobody could actually trace where the ďstolenĒ money went and in one case the judge even mentioned this in the final summation but they still got put away as the system could never be wrong.

    I think that both the people at the PO and the incumbent supplier should be judged and put away for at least lying under oath.

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