86 Post Office and Fujitsu witness statements published following Phase 3 investigations
Jason Beer KC read witness statements into the record during Phase 3 closing statements
As Phase 3 concludes, the Inquiry has published 86 additional witness statements from Post Office and Fujitsu employees obtained during its Phase 3 investigations.
During Phase 3 Hearings on the Operation of the Horizon system, Sir Wyn Williams has heard oral evidence from over 30 witnesses, covering the issues of training; advice and assistance available to sub-postmasters; the dispute resolution procedure; and the rectification of bugs, errors and defects.
The Inquiry team has conducted investigations to obtain further written statements from people in various roles relating to the operation of the Horizon system, which have now been published.
Post Office employees
The Inquiry took a representative sample of people who had worked as Horizon Field Support Officers (Post Office employees who dealt with branches as they migrated to Horizon from paper-based systems) and in the Post Office’s NBSC, providing support to the branch network. Inquiry lawyers sought evidence on the training given to these employees and sub-postmasters; their experiences in these roles and the adequacy of support provided; and their knowledge of bugs, errors and defects in the Horizon system.
The Inquiry carried out a similar approach with contract managers at the Post Office to obtain evidence on all aspects of Phase 3, including dispute resolution.
It also sent requests for evidence to a number of people involved in training to find out about the nature of the training provided to sub-postmasters, as well as the extent to which bugs, errors and defects in the Horizon system were dealt with.
Fujitsu support services
The Inquiry also requested evidence from all those Fujitsu had on record as having worked on its Horizon Helpdesk, on the training provided to Helpdesk operatives; the day-to-day work on the Helpdesk; the adequacy of the support provided; and whether there was knowledge of bugs, errors and defects within the Horizon system.
Requests for evidence were also sent to people working on the SSC about how it worked, and their knowledge of bugs, errors and defects at a high level.
During closing statements at the Hearing of 17 May 2023, Counsel to the Inquiry, Jason Beer KC, said:
“The purpose of this exercise was two-fold. Firstly, to obtain a wider range of evidence on how the various teams worked in practice from those at the coal face, and secondly, to test what evidence they were aware of of the existence of bugs, errors or defects in Horizon.”
Witness statements obtained as a result of these investigations are now available on the Inquiry’s website.
Jason Beer KC noted that the Inquiry is still to hear Phase 3 evidence from Gareth Jenkins, and that the Inquiry has received a significant amount of disclosure during the course of the hearings, and expects to receive more disclosure relevant to Phase 3 in the very near future.
He said the Inquiry “will not hesitate to recall any witnesses where it considers it is necessary to do so to put questions to them on new documents that have come to light".
Read Jason Beer KC’s full statement in the transcript of 17 May 2023.