The FT article also said the Post Office, which used prosecution powers available to private corporations in the UK, obtained 700 of the 900 convictions. The other convictions came in cases brought by Scottish prosecutors. The scandal may lead to reforms of the private prosecution system that lets organizations take people to court.
Bugs Were Understood “Way Back to 1999”
Earlier this week, Patterson told UK Parliament members that “Fujitsu would like to apologize for our part in this appalling miscarriage of justice. We were involved from the very start. We did have bugs and errors in the system and we did help the Post Office in their prosecutions of the sub-postmasters. For that we are truly sorry.”
Patterson also told Parliament members that Fujitsu has “a moral obligation” to contribute to the compensation for victims.
Patterson testified today in a different setting, answering questions from lawyers representing victims. One of those lawyers, Flora Page, asked Patterson, “Did nobody historically make that pretty obvious connection between very poor code going out into operation and then very poor data coming out and through the litigation support service?”
Patterson answered, “Whether people made that connection or not, what is very evident… is that that connection and understanding about what was going on and where was it, was understood by certainly Fujitsu and certainly understood by Post Office way back to 1999. It’s all about what you do with that information… that is a question for this inquiry.”
Post Office Minister Kevin Hollinrake, the MP for Thirsk and Malton, told the BBC that his “number one priority” is to “try and get compensation and get answers for people.”
“You’ve had marriages fail, people commit suicide, an horrendous impact on people’s lives,” he said. “It’s perfectly reasonable that the public should demand people are held to account and that should mean criminal prosecutions wherever possible.” The UK government also has plans for a new law to “swiftly exonerate and compensate” people who were falsely convicted.
This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.