‘The Post Office Horizon Scandal: A Cautionary Tale for AI’
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‘The Post Office Horizon Scandal: A Cautionary Tale for AI’

It is important to see beyond the particulars to the causes of this scandal. Yes, there are many examples of human misconduct in this affair but there is also another issue.

As things stand, the law assumes that computers are reliable, and the burden of proving that this may not be true is on the defendant even in cases where access to critical information may be in the hands of the accuser.

In the Post Office scandal, sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses were unable to defend themselves because they had neither the information nor the resources to prove the computer software was at fault.

As the world becomes ever more reliant on software and AI, the law must be changed.

For example, should a human being be thrown in prison when the on-board computer on a car malfunctions and causes an accident?

If end users are to be held accountable, and if software failures can be hidden from public scrutiny, what is the motivation for manufacturers to produce safe and reliable products?

Christian Vassie

Blake Court,

Wheldrake, York

… BY far the best thing on TV during the Christmas holiday period must have been the post office scandal Mr Bates V The Post Office.

Having relatives staying over the Christmas period I recorded the programmes and only viewed them recently.

The programme was so compelling that despite having to go to Leeds Airport and back I felt compelled to see the programme to its conclusion.

What a devastating indictment of lies and betrayal by the Post Office on innocent and blameless individuals by the powers in authority and by dividing and conquering them individually.

The thing that upset me most was the way that many were vilified by the people who once classed them as friends.

I hope these individuals and neighbourhoods hang their heads in shame.

D M Deamer,

Penleys Grove Street,



I AGREE with Mr Shepherdson’s January 11 letter, ‘Where were MPs for Post Office debate?’

I was staggered by the paucity of members present on Tuesday for such a big, headline-dominating issue.

Surely most MPs will have sub-Post Offices in their constituencies, some of which have been victims in this scandal; perhaps more than hitherto revealed.

The ‘absent six hundred’ (give or take) can’t claim they weren’t aware of this travesty of justice.

The saga wasn’t new, having received considerable airing and attention for some time.

However, the storm really broke with the thunderclap of the ITV drama which even the most conscientiously midnight oil-burning of Honourable Members will have heard.

Within hours this outrageous story topped the agenda of just about every newspaper in the country and news channels.

But where were our parliamentary representatives? Not on the green benches!

Derek Reed,

Middlethorpe Drive


WHEN reading Rachael Maskell’s column in the Press on January 10, she states that it is time the PO along with Royal Mail and other businesses are brought back into public ownership with strong accountability and oversight.

The PO scandal occurred between 1999 and 2015 when the PO was under public ownership (privatised in 2014). There was also a Labour government for the majority of this period. I wish politicians could be more honest.

P Richardson,