UK: THE POST OFFICE HORIZON IT SCANDAL AND THE PRESUMPTION OF THE DEPENDABILITY OF COMPUTER EVIDENCE

In November, the University of London published an article in the Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review on the background to the Post Office scandal, where sub-postmasters were prosecuted (and even jailed) for fraud, when the fault apparently lay in the software that they were compelled to use – a system used to control the accounts of some 11,500 Post Office branches around the UK.  It argues that the presumption that computers operate correctly, and consequently that computer evidence is dependable, was never appropriate. Far from offering reassurance, such a presumption alarms those who have a grasp of the nature of complex systems. The presumption contributed to tragic miscarriages of justice in the Horizon prosecutions.  The author argues that the presumption is an absurd anachronism based on a failure to understand both computers and software.

https://journals.sas.ac.uk/deeslr/article/view/5226/5073

 

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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