And did the Post Office lawyers got too far?
I just tuned in to the enquiry and heard Mr Dilley being asked if he had anything to say to Mr Castleton. He said he did not. He was asked if he bore any responsibility to Mr Castleton, and he answered that he felt he had acted professionally throughout. Regardless of the appropriateness (or otherwise) of his conduct, it would have cost Mr Dilley nothing to have publicly apologised to Mr Castleton. The fact that he did not speaks volumes. Mr Castleton's statement is so moving and so bleak that it brought me close to tears and filled me with outrage. What shines through is his courage, intelligence and humanity, all crushed by the appalling errors (to put it kindly) of the Post Office. And to think that there are dozens of others who when through the same hell as Mr Castleton did........,
I am horrified. I am horrified that it is possible the PO lawyers said these things to Castleton. I am horrified at my perception of how Castleton must have felt then - and now. I have to add that I believe Castleton. Shocking. I hope the PO and it’s shareholders are forced to refund all costs and compensation paid out. And I hope that the PO, it’s officers and their lawyers have to face courts, and criminal courts for their misbehaviour.
I find it difficult to write about the post office scandal. In part, this because of the complexity and my want to read and master all the relevant texts before doing commentary.
But it is also because the makes me so livid I suspect I would lose all objectivity and my posts would become long rants. So so bad, in so many ways, and because of so many avoidable failures.
Although Lee Castleton was *found to owe* the PO a sum of £21,000 he was bankrupted (and, as promised, destroyed) by the cost award of £321,000. Others reading your piece may not know this and regard £21,000 a difficult but survivable loss. To claim & be awarded a total of 1/3rd of a million pounds sent out the desired message - details matter.
Shocking, scandalous, teetering on the brink of unpardonable: that has been my reaction each time the Post Office/Horizon question has - rightly- reared its ugly head.
What we seem to have here is an example of serial, wanton refusals to face up to and OWN a technological adventure too far, where reputations and -yes- profits were dependent upon re-asserting the infallibility of the tackle being deployed, whatever the increasingly powerful objective evidence might have demonstrated to the contrary. Reputations and career prospects can sometimes ride on such phenomena of denial.
The role adopted in all of this by the Post Office’s then Chief Executive Paula Vennalls has already been subjected to some probing scrutiny. In that she certainly far from alone.
Now as to the part played by the lawyers for the Post Office as named like all others their accounts need to be heard and, if necessary, probed, very much in the public interest. We must never forget the damage to the reputation and welfare of innocent lives and even some premature endings to them- hence the pressing public interest.
My impression thus far of Sir Wyn Williams is that he is a tenacious seeker out of the nearest approximation to the complete truth he can achieve, however uncomfortable - or worse- it may be for some of those involved.
And I take my hat off to the doughty fighters who, against all the apparent odds, eventually secured vindication for the sub postmasters/mistresses concerned.
I suppose that now it is a question of “Watch this space”.