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Alan Bates reacts to ‘rehearsed testimony’ by Paula Vennells | LBC

May 27, 2024
the Post Office scandal, the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history and just this week we have all heard and will have seen it on the news and read in the newspapers and heard here on LBC three days of evidence from the former Chief Executive Officer of the Paula Venos post office. We saw her burst into tears many times. We heard from some of the subpostmasters who were there. Thousands of subpostmasters were involved in this scandal through no fault of their own. Many hundreds of them were involved. The convicts sent thousands to jail plus they paid money to the post office, which they didn't do, but all the convictions were overturned this week, but this was decades after the events occurred and well, I want to talk now to the man who you know his name, um later. the ITV drama Mr de


versus the post office we will never forget his name as long as we live he is a hero former sub postmaster and leading advocate for victims of the post office scandal he himself was a sub postmaster himself he is, of course Alan Bates hello Alan welcome to the show hello Carol hello it's a pleasure talking to you even though it's on this topic we obviously saw your story in the drama and which was shocking to a lot of us , we have seen news reports. over the years, but I think the drama really brought it home, do you agree with that?
alan bates reacts to rehearsed testimony by paula vennells lbc
Yeah, I think he delivered the last bit, he delivered the last few meters in all of this, he kind of exposed it to the nation, which is something he hadn't really done. This happened before and I think a lot of people were shocked, I think it was, and then of course we immediately saw a lot of politicians that we'd never seen before suddenly get angry about it and become self-righteous and so on, um, obviously. There was like James R. Bunot had been involved for many years and I think, you know, he's very well liked by the subpostmasters, but he's pretty extraordinary.
alan bates reacts to rehearsed testimony by paula vennells lbc

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alan bates reacts to rehearsed testimony by paula vennells lbc...

Do you know how many thousands of subpostmasters were involved in total? No, I do not know. Basically anyone who used Horizon was potentially a victim of all of this and as you say there are thousands of people over the years who have used the system because there were people like Joe Hamilton who was on the show. um it was before the drama that took uh came into ITV um and she has become a you know, a friend of uh LBC and um obviously a secondary lover and he thought she had done something wrong, he knew she hadn't stolen the money. but she managed to collect the money from friends and family and well, and I paid it to her, I didn't pay it back because you didn't know it in the first place, but then she pleaded guilty, wasn't it for false accounting?
alan bates reacts to rehearsed testimony by paula vennells lbc
Yes, yes, I mean. You're very alone when the Horizon system came in and, I mean, you're abandoned and if you went to them, they always told you that you're the only person that you know that we don't have these problems elsewhere. I don't understand, look, what have you done? It really, you know, that made people go crazy and if there are, I mean, I've been trying to add up the numbers because I know a lot more people showed up, uh, afterward. the drama had been shown on ITV uh sub postmasters former sub postmasters who had given money to the post office who didn't know them and then disappeared because of the so called shame associated with it and then once they saw the drama they showed up because It's been going on for 25 years or more, yeah, the system was implemented in 1999, about 2000, I mean, and that's been the biggest thing, it's the shame and that's why people have kept their heads down and out. .
alan bates reacts to rehearsed testimony by paula vennells lbc
Well, we're talking about shame. I watched almost every minute of Paul Ven's evidence on the Telly this week and obviously I saw Joe Hamilton sitting in one of the front assignments um next to one of the lawyers, but do you feel that, I mean, he broke up with Paula Venos several times over the course of the three days and it was the first time he spoke in public in about a year? decade, do you feel like she felt ashamed or just felt sorry for herself? Do you think Alan? I think about both things a little, but I think he


his performance in front of the investigation very well the other day.
I think it had been about a year. I heard he was preparing for this with his witness statement and everything else. It is very difficult. I mean, it was this selective amnesia, as usual, that a lot of people at the post office seem to suffer from that made you wonder. Why was someone of that class so dependent on others and no one told them anything? Why they were in that position and why they managed to keep that job for so long. I know it is a good source of income for them. I can understand that, but you know, that's how it is.
I think there are still many questions to be answered surrounding his appointment. It was one of the things that I could think: this is the most incompetent organization in history because, as I tell you, I know that I have been adding the numbers over time and I believe that there are almost 5,000 that have already been identified and I think there were between 10 and 15,000 sub postmasters so you're talking about a third of the people you know could sound somewhere so either they were the most incompetent organization in history or there were massive cover ups well for years I've been saying that the post office is incompetence and arrogance too because they feel like they could get away with it the whole time they had the power and that's something that, you know, has been at the root of this for so long that they've been controlling the narrative year after year because they had the money because they had the power in all of this and it wasn't until we took them to court that we managed to get rid of it and they had to answer to the court and that's when things started to get exposed.
The story I learned is quite extraordinary. I just want to show you some of Paula Venel's evidence in the Alan inquiry and ask you what you think about it. Here she is Paula Venel. I loved the post office. I gave it to her. I worked as hard as I could to deliver the best post. post office for the UK it would have been wonderful to have 30,000 post office branches, which would have been the best result of having more post offices in more communities. What I failed to do and I have made clear before is that I did not recognize the and it has been discussed throughout the investigation the power imb


ce between the institution and the individual and I let these people down well, she admitted to letting you down I think she did more than disappoint you, didn't he ignore us?
Yes, her, totally. being completely arrogant there, he loved the post office, like I say, he loved the money, I mean, he loved the lifestyle, he loved being on vacation or being able to organize meetings from abroad and everything else, I mean, Yes, I can understand that. Yeah, there was a time when Joe Hamilton appeared about 10 years ago, I think on the BBC on a show, I think it was a one-off show, and then Paula Venel wrote an email that I thought was particularly damning where she said. that uh she was pretty bored by what Joe had said um and lacked passion, I mean she must have met Alan and for her to then comment like that about Joe, the arrogance that came across in that email, I think that was the right one. that was enough for me, the post office has known what has been happening for years, it is the most important thing the post office is doing at the moment and as you will have heard throughout her evidence, it was never her.
If the post office did wrong and the post office needs it you know it wasn't her that had to apologize or anything it was the post office that did everything you know she completely eliminated herself but she was in charge. I paid a lot of money to run a big organization, and she should have been aware of something like this, yeah Alan, we wish you all the best for the future, you know when, hopefully, all the compensation plans will be accelerated, um and for everyone involved uh all the sub poost Masters and sub poost lovers who were wrongly convicted those who were wrongly accused of false accounting who had to pay the post office money they were not owed uh I think you know the country is behind you

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