'Selective amnesia': Alan Bates criticises Paula Vennells Post Office inquiry evidence

26 May 2024, 19:30

Alan Bates reacts to Paula Vennell's 'rehearsed' testimony

By Chay Quinn

Post Office scandal campaigner Alan Bates has said ex-boss Paula Vennells' evidence at the Horizon Inquiry was 'well rehearsed' and that she was employing 'selective amnesia' in her recollections.

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Speaking to Carol Vorderman on LBC, Mr Bates, the central figure in the dramatisation of the scandal Mr Bates vs The Post Office, took issue with former CEO Paula Vennells' evidence at the inquiry last week.

Carol asked Alan whether he thought Ms Vennells felt shame over her handling of the unjust prosecutions of subpostmasters, to which he replied: "I think she was extremely well rehearsed in her performance in front of the inquiry the other day.

Read More: Alan Bates says he has ‘no sympathy’ for tearful Paula Vennells

"I think she'd spent a year or so preparing for this with her witness statement and everything else.

London, UK. 22nd May, 2024. For
Speaking to Carol Vorderman on LBC, Mr Bates, the central figure in the dramatisation of the scandal Mr Bates vs The Post Office, took issue with former CEO Paula Vennells' evidence at the inquiry last week. Picture: Alamy

"It's very hard, I mean, it was this selective amnesia as usual, that a lot of Post Office people seem to suffer from and it did make me wonder why someone of that sort of ilk who was relying so much on everyone else and no one was telling them anything, why they were in that position and why they managed to hold on to that job for so long.

"I know it's good earner for them. I can understand that, but I think there are an awful lot of questions yet to be answered around her appointment."

Alan added: She ignored us. That's all the arrogance in there. She loved the Post Office, as I say. She loved the money.

"I mean, she loves the lifestyle. She loved being on holiday, being able to run her meetings from abroad and all the rest of it.

"And actually, you'd have heard throughout her evidence that it was never her. The Post Office did wrong. It wasn't her having to apologise, it was Post Office that did everything.

Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells arrives to give her second day of evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry at Aldwych House, central London. Picture date: Thursday May 23, 2024.
Ms Vennells gave tearful evidence to the inquiry over two days last week. Picture: Alamy

"She removed herself out of it entirely, but she was she was in charge. She got paid the big bucks to run a big organisation and she should have been on top of anything like this."

During the scandal, over 700 Post Office branch managers were given criminal convictions after the faulty Fujitsu accounting software, Horizon, made it look as if money was missing.

It has since been called the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history.

The scandal was turned into a TV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office in January, which delved into some of those wronged who then cleared their names.

Between 1999 and 2015, over 700 people were wrongly prosecuted. Wrongly accused managers were imprisoned, and financially ruined.

Some even took their own lives.

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