The recent revelations at the Post Office inquiry have highlighted the dangers of using legal privilege to conceal the truth1. Paula Vennells, the former Post Office chief executive, attempted to “steer” investigators away from wrongful convictions related to the faulty Horizon software, according to forensic accountant Ian Henderson. Henderson, who worked with the firm Second Sight to review sub-postmaster complaints, recounted how legal and executive actions led him to suspect a cover-up, with the Post Office behaving as if it was “above the law.” Over 900 branch workers were wrongfully prosecuted due to software errors, yet attempts to uncover these miscarriages of justice were consistently obstructed.

Henderson detailed how Second Sight’s efforts were stymied by assertions of documentary privilege and resistance to disclosure obligations, ultimately resulting in their dismissal when they “got too close to the truth.”

Such actions underscore the misuse of legal privilege to hide critical information, further eroding trust and justice. This case exemplifies why legal privilege should not be a shield for wrongdoing, as transparency and accountability are essential in upholding the law and public trust.

The fact that Guernsey’s civil service uses the same mechanism to conceal truths is particularly telling, highlighting a broader issue of legal privilege being misused to obstruct justice and accountability.

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