close
close

Correos lawyer accused of “big lie”

Former Post Office chief lawyer Jarnail Singh denied knowledge of errors in the Horizon system while prosecutions by subpostmasters continued for three years.

However, the lead lawyer for the Horizon investigation, Jason Beer, accused Singh of telling a “big lie.”

Singh received an email on the eve of the 2010 trial of Seema Misra, a subpostmaster who was sent to prison while pregnant.

It identified errors in the Horizon system that should have been revealed at Ms Misra’s trial.

Singh denied reading the email, despite being presented with evidence that he saved a copy to his hard drive and printed it.

The email was sent on October 8, 2010 by Rob Wilson, head of the Post Office’s criminal law team at the time. He alerted the Post Office to a series of incidents where Horizon money had “gone missing at branch level” and incorrect balances were being shown.

When asked by Beer if this email “should have set off alarm bells,” Singh responded, “Yes.”

The following week Mrs. Misra’s case began. She was eventually convicted of false accounting and theft, sentenced to 10 months in prison, and imprisoned while she was pregnant on the 10th birthday of her child.

The email was not revealed at his trial.

Prosecution attorneys have a duty to disclose documents that could undermine their case in criminal trials.

Beer showed evidence suggesting that Singh had saved an attachment about the Horizon discrepancies to his hard drive and printed it on October 8, 2010.

“I don’t remember seeing it, I don’t remember printing it,” Singh said.

When asked if it was saved on his computer’s hard drive, Singh said: “I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

“I don’t know how these things worked.”

“Don’t you know how to save a document?” -asked Mr. Beer.

“I didn’t know how to do it,” Singh responded, saying he wouldn’t have had the technical knowledge to either do it or understand the document itself.

“I don’t remember this document or the email at all,” he added.

Beer said Singh was engaged in “blind denial” because “this is evidence of his own guilty knowledge.”

Mr Singh replied: “That’s not true and I don’t feel guilty that I haven’t received it, because if I had received it I would have dealt with it.”

“I don’t remember receiving it, reading it or printing it – that’s my sworn evidence.”

Beer had previously shown emails sent in 2013 and 2015 that said Singh had only become aware of the errors at Horizon when a report by forensic accountants Second Sight was published in July 2013.

However, Beer accused Singh of “cover-up”, which Singh denied.

“There has been no cover-up on my part and there never will be one,” he said.

A little later, after more denials from Mr. Singh, Mr. Beer said: “This whole thing, ‘I received it, I read it,’ is a big lie, isn’t it? And you know it, Mr. Singh. “.

Mr Singh replied: “Sir, I did not come here to lie, I am at an age where I have come to help in the investigation. And that is all.”

During the lunch break, Ms Misra, who was present during the session, was asked if she believed Mr Singh. “No,” she told the BBC.

He said he had been fighting the Post Office since 2005, but added that “we are now going in the right direction” in terms of what the investigation was uncovering.