Kroll’s report on the previous version of Post Office’s Horizon software to be released in autumn

An independent investigation has been launched into the accounting software used by the Post Office prior to the implementation of the Horizon system. The investigation, conducted by risk advisory and financial solutions company Kroll, will examine the system known as Capture that was used in the 1990s.

This news comes after concerns were raised by former sub-postmasters and mistresses about potential glitches in the Capture system that may have led to the wrongful conviction of hundreds of individuals who worked in Post Office branches. One such individual, Steve Marston, who was a former sub-postmaster and user of Capture, believes he was wrongly convicted of theft and false accounting.

Mr. Marston expressed optimism about the investigation, stating, “Definitely feeling very optimistic about it.” The Horizon system, which was used to prosecute over 700 sub-postmasters, has been the subject of a separate independent statutory public inquiry into its implementation and failings.

Kroll has been appointed by the Department for Business and Trade to conduct a forensic investigation into Capture. The company will assess whether the design, implementation, and use of the system could have resulted in any harm to postmasters. They will also investigate whether the Post Office properly addressed any issues associated with the system.

According to Kroll, they are also gathering information from postmasters that may be relevant to the investigation. Mr. Marston welcomed the fact that the Post Office will have no involvement in the investigation, stating, “They’ve got no connection at all with the Post Office in the sense that they can’t influence what’s said which is very important in what’s going to be happening.”

The investigation was originally announced in April after Post Office minister Kevin Hollinrake met with a former sub-postmaster and a solicitor representing 35 individuals who believe they were wrongly accused of stealing. It was agreed that an independent IT expert would assess evidence that suggests the Capture software was prone to glitches.

While a specific timeline for the investigation was not given, Kroll stated that their findings will be reported in the autumn. Mr. Marston, who has been fighting for justice for decades, expressed his patience, stating, “It’s been a long time coming… We only started this process in the middle of January… it’s come a long, long way.”

However, he does have concerns about the current political climate and the commitment of the government to address issues related to Capture. “We’re mindful of the fact that the election is imminent. And obviously, it’s a worry… if there’s a change of government, will the incoming government follow through with what we’ve been promised?” Mr. Marston said.

He remains confident that the investigation will provide evidence that will allow for reassessment of Capture convictions. He also noted that the process should not take as long as the Horizon inquiry, as Capture was a smaller and simpler program without the complex networking involved in Horizon.

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