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A former top legal attorney for the Post Office who celebrated a court decision that sentenced an expectant woman to prison without providing any proof of the crime has strewn blame for his life-altering deeds and inaction.

In the most recent hearing in the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, Jarnail Singh was questioned. During a time when hundreds of subpostmasters were prosecuted for economic crimes based on evidence from an unreliable computer system known as Horizon, Singh served as the criminal law team’s top lawyer.

His name is well-known in the open inquiry, which examines the actions of constitutional teams at the Post Office at a time when the agency was responsible for the largest miscarriage of justice in British history and is currently looking into numerous documents.

For instance, in May 2012, the inquiry learned that Singh had congratulated coworkers in an email after the successful prosecution of previous subpostmaster Seema Misra, who had been sentenced to prison for theft after being found guilty of it despite there being no evidence against her. Misra brought up the possibility that the Horizon system might be to blame for the accounting deficiencies during the trial.

Singh stated in the email that Seema Misra had been found guilty of theft following a protracted trial at Guildford Crown Court. A fairly simple public deficiency case was transformed into an unprecedented assault on the Horizon system in this case. Unparallel [sic ] & nbsp disclosure requests from the defense bombarded us. We were able to disprove every one suggestion made by the defense to the criminal standard of proof ( beyond reasonable doubt ) thanks to everyone’s tireless efforts, including counsel Warwick Tatford, investigation officer Jon Longman, and the tremendous expertise of Gareth Jenkins of Fujitsu.

Additionally, he claimed that the victory would discourage other subpostmasters from joining the” Horizon bashing bandwagon.” At the time, several subpostmasters were having trouble juggling their accounts with the system, according to Computer Weekly’s initial investigation of the Horizon system.

After it was established that the Post Office’s branch software contained errors that could result in phantom shortfalls, Misra, who was carrying her second child at the time she was sentenced to prison, had her unjust conviction overturned in April 2021.

Over the course of their correspondence, Singh repeatedly recited the triumphant statement in the email that defended Horizon. He forwarded the advice when the Post Office communications team questioned him about the legal standing of Horizon cases in 2014 and asked him for it. He was told by the public affairs executive that it was” too emotive” to use and that he should stick to the facts.

Despite this, Singh claimed that the statement was dictated to him and denied that it was his work when questioned during the hearing. He responded that he did n’t know when asked who had dictated that the case was an “attack on the Horizon system.”

” I have no idea. There were probably a number of people present, and I believe Rob Wilson, the head of legal law at the Post Office, gave his approval, according to Singh. ” I would n’t say anything along those lines.”

Singh likewise held others accountable for his failure to look into allegations that the Horizon system was causing unknown accounting shortfalls made by subpostmasters suspected of economic crimes. He claimed that although I was not the only person conducting these investigations, the errors I made were likely caused by people telling me how fantastic this system was. ” We conducted inquiries all over the nation. Perhaps it was just a sizable organization that we could n’t handle everything.

In an email sent to Singh in December 2013, a lawyer inquired about the status of the subpostmasters cases. This came after Next Sight, a investigative accounting firm, expressed concerns during its initial investigation into allegations against Horizon. Additionally, Simon Clarke of Cartright King, an outside attorney hired by the Post Office, had advised against using the post office’s expert witness again because he was aware of computer errors but, in violation of his obligations, failed to disclose them during subpostmasters ‘ trials.

Singh was questioned about the number of cases that had been worked on for additional evidence, how many cases had received advice to charge, and which cases were still awaiting professional testimony. These are not mutually exclusive, he replied. Given the current state of the landscape in the majority of cases, it is preferable that we have the expert trained because any case that is started right away will draw attention to a Horizon issue because this is the bandwagon that people are hopping on. The Horizon challenges will vanish like midnight snow once we have a dozen victories under our belt.

Singh was questioned by Jason Beer KC, the investigation’s counsel, about why it was significant that the criminal law team at the Post Office had” a dozen wins under its belt.” Singh claimed he had no idea. Beer questioned whether Singh was struggling because he was aware of” the crassness” of his writing but lacked a” justification.”

Singh retorted,” No at all. If I could, I would, but I’m having trouble right now because I ca n’t explain what happened in 2013 and we’re now in 2023, which is the year 2024.

In an email from Singh to Angela van den Bogerd, a contentious original Post Office executive, in 2014, the significance of prosecuting subpostmasters was made clear. In some situations, it will be obvious right away that the Post Office will need to carry out a fugitive investigation with the intention of facing legal action in order to safeguard its brand, reputation, and business operations.

Beer questioned why” concerns over the reputation of the Post Office”” distorted decisions as to whether to launch criminal investigations and pursue prosecutions.”

When asked if one of the business goals of prosecutions was to safeguard the Horizon system’s integrity and another was for debt recovery, Singh replied that he was unsure.

Singh distanced himself from making decisions despite holding a top position and being the only internal criminal defense attorney at the Post Office after it split from Royal Mail in 2012. Singh responded to Beer’s question by saying that he was simply carrying out orders and that for other teams, it was similar to” a collector together of pieces of paper and a postbox.”

Singh’s testimony is still going strong today.

Based on information from the Horizon computer system used in branches, the common inquiry is looking into how hundreds of original subpostmasters were charged with unknown accounting shortfalls and declared bankrupt. Since then, it has been demonstrated that the system is error-prone, and almost 100 wrongful&nbsp convictions have been overturned.

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