An expert on the Post Office Horizon IT systems has denied suggestions he was “protecting the monster” in evidence he gave to the trial of a sub-postmaster who was wrongly convicted while pregnant.

Former senior Fujitsu engineer Gareth Jenkins told the Post Office Inquiry he did not hide glitches in the branch accounting system at the trial of Seema Misra in 2010 – widely seen as a crucial test case at the time.

Mrs Misra was jailed for 15 months on the back of his evidence as an expert witness.

On his fourth day in the witness box at the inquiry, Mr Jenkins insisted he was telling the truth about what he knew of Horizon glitches in answers to questions on the scandal from her lawyer Flora Page.

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Ms Page described Horizon as an “out of control monster” by the time of her client’s trial and added that “hundreds of people had already had their lives ruined to protect it”.

She put it to Mr Jenkins: “Isn’t the truth that you knew Horizon was a monster and it was causing harm?”

He replied: “No, that’s not how I felt.”

Ms Page put to Mr Jenkins that he “threw mud in the jury’s eyes”, to which he said: “I did not.”

She put it to Mr Jenkins that failing to tell the court that he knew that transactions were being injected at the counter was failing to tell the whole truth.

He said: “I didn’t think that at the time.”

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Former engineer defends Horizon system

It was put to him that there were “thousands of known error log entries”, and Mr Jenkins said: “I’m not sure how many known error log entries there were, I don’t know the volumes.”

Ms Page said that during the trial Mr Jenkins was asked if he knew whether there were any problems with the Horizon system that Fujitsu was aware of, and put it to him that the truthful answer would have been “cash accounts, remote access, tampering, bad error handling, silent faults across the system, the EPOSS code, the terrible code, hardware failures, persistent hardware failures, recovering transactions that were lost”.

Mr Jenkins replied: “That was not how I understood the question to be.”

“You hid all these issues and problems when you gave evidence against Seema Misra, didn’t you?” Ms Page said.

He replied “no”, then later added: “I did not believe that I deliberately hid anything.”

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Mr Jenkins, who is facing a police investigation for alleged perjury, told the inquiry in his witness statement that Post Office, which has a power to bring its own prosecutions, had applied pressure on him to support its case.

He claimed Post Office lawyer Warwick Tatford had looked over a draft of his witness statement for Mrs Misra’s trial and recommended he “make some points more strongly in favour of the Post Office”.

He explained how he thought such actions had been “normal practice”, saying he had not understood his duties of impartiality as an expert witness in trials until 2020, by which time he had been involved in more than a dozen cases.

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He later conceded, however, in his evidence that he had seen advice setting out what was expected of him in 2016, explaining that had not been the focus for him in the documents he received.

Also on Thursday, Mr Jenkins told the inquiry where he thought the blame could be laid.

“My feeling was then and is now that the issues to do with this are down to the way Post Office has behaved rather than actual faults in the Horizon system… I believe that I told the truth as I understood it at the time.”

“You were a Fujitsu man doing what Fujitsu needed you to do to protect the monster,” Ms Page put to him.

Mr Jenkins said: “I didn’t think it was a monster.”

During his evidence, Mr Jenkins has said he was sorry for what happened to Mrs Misra.

She told Sky News on Tuesday that she would not accept that apology.