THE article by Karl Turner MP for Hull East and Shadow Minister for Legal Aid, into the Post Office accounting scandal (The Yorkshire Post, May 17) accurately calls for a judge-led statutory inquiry with legal powers to compel key witnesses to give evidence.
In the scandal which lasted for 14 years, at least 700 people were wrongly convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting.
This was not only disgraceful for the Post Office, its investigation teams and the solicitors who prosecuted the cases without oversight, all those wrongly accused were seriously let down by the whole criminal justice system.
In that I include defence lawyers at every level. The inquiry should call to give evidence both prosecution and defence teams.
Does Mr Turner feel that he did his job as a criminal defence lawyer in 2006 when he advised his client Janet Skinner to plead guilty to the lesser offence of false accounting rather than theft leading to her imprisonment?
He would have been aware that similar prosecutions had been under way for six years – all involving the Horizon computer system. Had he and more defence lawyers asked searching questions about the prosecution evidence, I suggest that the scandal could have been identified earlier, thus preventing the miscarriages of justice.
At stages of all investigations, prosecutions and court hearings, those four key principles of investigation and defence, namely assume nothing, attention to detail, professional curiosity and truth, were ignored.
Mr Turner has campaigned hard over recent years for those affected by the scandal. He should be given credit for this. Earlier action back in 2006 and before was necessary.
One Hull legal firm did do its job in putting together a strong legal team to take on the Post Office and the Horizon IT injustices resulting in the Court of Appeal judgment.
A further 50 appeals have been launched by them. As lawyers, they have led from the front. Sadly, many did not.
From: James Buick, Northallerton.
LIB Dem politicians and election candidates are undeserving of our support until their former Ministers, like Sir Ed Davey, the current leader, account for their actions in the Post Office IT scandal – and the extent to which they ignored it between 2010-15.
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