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Post Office live: Investigators saw postmasters as ‘enemies of the business’


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Post Office investigators saw sub-postmasters as “enemies of the business”, a former senior lawyer was warned in a report.

A draft report passed to Chris Aujard in 2014 – a few months after he became the organisation’s general counsel – described the culture within the investigation team as presuming guilt over “seeking the truth”. 

The report, which was shown for the first time, was commissioned by Mr Aujard’s predecessor Susan Crichton before her departure, and prepared by Ron Warmington, the Second Sight investigator.

Mr Aujard admitted he would have read the document before putting it to one side and could not remember taking any further action.

The document said that investigators were “overwhelmingly focused on obtaining an admission of false accounting” and often appeared to “have paid scant attention to an interviewee’s assertion of innocence”.

It continued: “The overwhelming impression gained from reviewing the transcripts of investigative interviews is that the SPMR [sub-postmaster] was viewed as an enemy of the business. 

“The culture within the Investigation Team appears to be one of a ‘presumption of guilt’ when conducting an investigation rather than the aim of ‘seeking the truth’.”

The inquiry was told there were caveats to the report – the biggest being that Mr Warmington had prepared it without interviewing John Scott, the head of security, or his team of investigators.

When asked by Sir Wyn Williams, the inquiry chair, what he did with the report, Mr Aujard said: “My recollection is that I would have read it at the time, to put it one side, and that would have informed my thinking more fully about the organisation that I had just joined.

“Beyond that I can’t recollect taking any further action in relation to this document.”

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