Both he, and now Ministers, have listened to those postmasters who were wrongly prosecuted and jailed; the inquiry remit was insufficient and key witnesses do, in fact, need to be compelled – by law – to give evidence under oath.
But the more likely answer is that Sir Wyn, himself, had already concluded, from decades of experience in the judiciary, that one of Britain’s worst ever miscarriages of justice demanded a far more robust response than envisaged.
The Yorkshire Post fully supports this move and has, indeed, been pushing for a statutory inquiry in the wake of dozens of postmasters having their criminal convictions quashed. It is only thanks to their persistence, and willingness to recount how they were criminalised by a flawed IT accounting system, that this injustice’s wider ramifications have started to emerge belatedly.
Given this, Sir Wyn’s expanded inquiry must focus on three areas – why the Post Office continued to persecute hundreds of postmasters whose reputations had previously been beyond reproach; why a succession of Ministers, including Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey, did not intervene sooner and, most seriously of all, why the legal system appeared powerless and did not demand a greater burden of proof from Post Office lawyers.
Together, these tenets now explain the scale, urgency and importance of Sir Wyn’s task as he seeks to establish the truth – and where culpability ultimately rests for a scandal that saw the political and legal establishments collude, unwittingly or otherwise, against postmasters; proud people regarded as pillars of communities before their lives were ruined by those officials who clearly thought that they were above the law.
They’re not now.
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