Home UK News “The most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history”; Post office scandal motivated by racism, documents reveal

“The most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history”; Post office scandal motivated by racism, documents reveal

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Shockingly, Post Office prosecutors assigned to look into sub-postmasters in the infamous Horizon scandal used a racist term to label black employees, based on documents obtained by activists.

Fraud investigators requested that suspects be categorized according to their racial characteristics and used a derogatory term from the era of imperialism in the 1800s to describe people of African heritage.

Hundreds of innocent postmasters were convicted in the Post Office Horizon scandal, which has been characterised as “the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British history.”

Eleanor Shaikh, a supporter of over 700 branch managers charged with theft, fraud, and false accounting between 1999 and 2015, recently received the details of the case through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The document, which is believed to have been published in 2008, questioned whether the suspects were “Negroid Types.”

The document also includes “Chinese/Japanese types” and “Dark Skinned European Types.”

In response to the FOI request, a spokesperson for the Post Office characterised the document as “historic,” but stated that the organisation did not tolerate racism “in any form” and condemned the “repulsive” language.

They added: “We fully support investigations into Post Office’s past wrong doings and believe the Horizon IT Inquiry will help ensure today’s Post Office has the confidence of its Postmasters and the communities it supports.”

The Post Office initiated the implementation of Horizon accounting software in the late 1990s, however, the system developed malfunctions that created discrepancies in accounts, prompting postmasters to pay the remainder of the amount due.

From 1999 to 2015, many were unjustly prosecuted for false accounting, theft, and fraud.

However, a High Court judge ruled in December 2019 that the system contained a number of “bugs, errors, and defects” and that there was a “material risk” that deficiencies in Post Office branch accounts were caused by it.

Numerous sub-postmasters have had their criminal convictions vacated.

“We lost everything”

Sethi ran a post office in romford
Baljit Sethi and his wife Anjana

An inquiry in central London heard that Baljit Sethi, 69, and his wife Anjana, 67, from Romford, Essex, who have three children, “lost everything” due to a system error.

The couple reported having the “best time” of their lives operating their business in the Essex town, where they were popular and well-liked.

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Mr Sethi, the first witness to give evidence, told the inquiry: “We didn’t take a single penny from the Post Office our entire life.”

In 2001, Mr. Sethi opened a new branch in Brentwood, which after one year revealed a £17,000 accounting deficit that the couple was asked to cover out of their own pockets.

Mr. Sethi, who was never prosecuted, told the investigation that he attempted to contact the Chelmsford headquarters after discovering a problem with the system.

He cried as he continued, “I was the only person who ran the Post Office seven days a week.

“I utilised to open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. I was the only Post Office in the nation open seven days a week.”

Mr. Sethi, whose employment was terminated, stated, “I knew something was wrong with the system, but no one wanted to hear that.”

When asked about his life afterwards, Mr. Sethi responded, “After 20 to 25 years, we lost everything we had, and the Post Office is to blame.”

He added, “When I was at rock bottom, I contemplated suicide but decided against it because I was concerned about my family and children.”

Mr. Sethi described working late shifts as a security officer for minimum wage in order to finance his children’s quality education and lifestyle.

He went on to say: “People in our community believed we had been robbing from the Post Office.

“It all had a bad impact on us psychologically, financially and reputation-wise.”

He went on to say: “Lives were ruined, families were torn apart, families were made homeless and destitute.

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