Starmer Faces Scrutiny Over Post Office Prosecutions Under His Watch
By Paul Knaggs
Sir Keir Starmer is facing tough questions over his role as Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the Post Office scandal. While campaigning for the Labour leadership, he boasted of “carrying the can” for any mistakes made under his watch at the CPS. Yet his past leadership now appears to be catching up with him.
Although most Post Office prosecutions were private, the CPS tried 11 cases during Starmer’s tenure from 2008-2013. These occurred while he was DPP, resulting in convictions and even jail time based on Horizon’s defective data.
Despite public concerns emerging about Horizon by 2012, Starmer did not review the private prosecutions as he had the authority to do. This lack of curiosity given the volume of cases has raised alarm.
Starmer claims ignorance about the prosecutions, insisting the CPS is now “helping” rectify the injustices. However, the public is rightfully demanding clarity over his leadership role.
It strains credulity that the CPS was unaware of hundreds of prosecutions happening concurrently in the same courtrooms. Even 11 cases seems a curiously high figure for the CPS to handle from such upstanding community figures as postmasters, apparently turned criminals.
Didn’t the CPS look at the evidence, the statements, even dig a little to find if the suspect’s statements had credibility? Quite obviously the evidence was not safe…
One wonders if Starmer believed a crime wave was sweeping the nation’s sub-post offices, with managers suddenly turning to fraud and theft en masse. Or perhaps a more plausible explanation is that the Director of Public Prosecutions wasn’t even slightly attentive to anomalies occurring under his watch.
However, we all know Starmer has a history of being ignorant to the controversies during his time as DDP. From Savile to the unforgivable incarceration of Julian Assange, Sir Keir becomes very opaque.
Starmer’s defence: A Labour source said: “The fact is this was a private prosecution and he [Sir Keir] was public prosecutor. Nobody knew it was a problem because the Post Office had prosecutorial powers.”
Sir Keir told journalists this week: “I wasn’t aware of any of them. I think it was a small number within a 20-year window. That’s all I know. I don’t even know how many [the CPS] were involved in. I think CPS are helping.”
“I didn’t see these particular cases. I don’t even know yet what they were about, whether they come within the cohort that is of concern,” he added.
However, the CPS say that if there are issues with private prosecutions Starmer as DPP had the power to review them without a referral. Starmer did not use this power despite the number of cases and public concerns by 2012 when he was still in charge.
The Post Office affair spans 20 years across multiple governments. Others including former ministers like Ed Davey also face scrutiny. However, Starmer’s “carry the can” rhetoric rings hollow given his failure to probe the prosecutions on his watch, or use his powers to review them.
When campaigning for Labour leader, Keir Starmer proudly declared he “carried the can” for any mistakes at the CPS during his tenure as Director of Public Prosecutions. Yet this rhetoric now rings hollow as his past catches up with him over the Post Office scandal.
Despite boasting of shouldering responsibility at the CPS, Starmer claims ignorance of prosecutions his organisation brought based on Horizon’s defective data. This is the antithesis of “carrying the can.”
The reality is Starmer was happy to take credit for CPS victories under his watch. However, when serious mistakes emerge that destroyed innocent lives, he pretends a leadership role meant he knew nothing. A telling double standard.
With only 93 wrongful convictions overturned so far, Starmer’s failure to properly oversee Post Office prosecutions has real consequences. His inaction, or willful blindness, allowed this miscarriage of justice to occur on his watch.
If Starmer truly wishes to take responsibility as promised, he must own up to improper oversight rather than pleading ignorance. Justice demands transparency, not evasive excuses. There are many questions about his tenure as Director of public prosecutions, not just with this recent miscarriage of justice but with other extremely important life-changing cases such as the Julian Assange scandal.
For those still seeking redress, Starmer’s refusal to “carry the can” pours salt on deep wounds. His hollow rhetoric rings false while victims still suffer. Leadership means acknowledging hard truths, not shirking responsibility when convenient. Starmer fails this test.
As for Starmer’s big talk on responsibility At the end of the day…Forget about “carrying the can”; it’s more like “not me, governor!”