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Submit Business office scandal: Scottish probe into sub-postmasters’ convictions


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Submit Business office scandal: Scottish probe into sub-postmasters’ convictions

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hundreds of postmasters were accused of offences after the Horizon system showed cash shortfalls An investigation is to be carried out into possible miscarriages of justice involving a controversial Post Office computer system. More than 70 sub-postmasters prosecuted for offences in Scotland such as fraud and theft are to…

Submit Business office scandal: Scottish probe into sub-postmasters’ convictions

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Hundreds of postmasters have been accused of offences right after the Horizon technique showed funds shortfalls

An investigation is to be carried out into possible miscarriages of justice involving a controversial Write-up Office laptop or computer process.

More than 70 sub-postmasters prosecuted for offences in Scotland these types of as fraud and theft are to be requested if they want their situation re-examined.

It is the newest legal action in a scandal courting back to 1999.

Hundreds were accused right after the Horizon technique confirmed cash shortfalls at their branches.

Postmasters throughout the Uk were held accountable for lacking income simply because they supposedly experienced sole regulate of their Horizon accounts.

It led to several staying sacked, going bankrupt or even despatched to prison.

While a overall of 47 postmasters in England and Wales have experienced their cases referred to the Appeal Court docket, there has never been comparable motion in Scotland.

But now the Scottish Legal Situations Overview Fee (SCCRC) is writing to the men and women it thinks could also have been the victims of attainable miscarriages of justice in Scotland relating to the Horizon personal computer method.

What is the Horizon laptop or computer scandal?

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The Horizon system is developed to report the transactions carried out in a post workplace department

The Horizon process, created by the Japanese enterprise Fujitsu, was initial rolled out in 1999 to some article places of work to be made use of for a wide range of responsibilities like accounting and stocktaking.

But from an early phase it appeared to have sizeable bugs which could bring about the procedure to misreport, in some cases even substantial sums of revenue.

It was challenging for sub-postmasters to obstacle errors mainly because they had been unable to obtain information and facts about the computer software to do so.

Following far more than 900 prosecutions, 550 sub-postmasters elevated civil actions in opposition to the Submit Business which agreed to spend £58m damages.

The English Criminal Instances Critique Commission (CCRC) has referred 47 convictions introduced beneath Horizon proof to the Appeal Court docket.

The Director of General public Prosecutions is also taking into consideration no matter whether there must be rates of perjury from officers who claimed in court docket there ended up no issues with Horizon, even however e-mail and other paperwork now suggest they realized there were.

The facts leaflet it has sent out reported: “We assume that it is attainable that your scenario is one particular of these. If it is, we would like to make sure that you have the possibility to implement to us.

“The Post Business recognized your case as a Scottish prosecution in the course of the applicable period (from 1999) in which they could have been concerned.”

The attractiveness cases in England and Wales adopted a civil action involving 550 postmasters which resulted in a settlement by the Post Office environment in 2019 of £58m.

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Sub-postmasters wrongly convicted could have their scenarios heard in Attraction Court docket

Imprisonment

But Daniel Fenn, SCCRC senior legal officer, reported it only obtained knowledge from the Put up Place of work detailing convictions which may possibly have been unsafe when the English action was concluded.

He said: “We’re conversing about 73 circumstances which may be affected – not certainly – but we are relatively absolutely sure the knowledge is not full, so it can be entirely probable there might be other individuals involved.

“The 73 persons, so much as we know, have been people today convicted in Scotland.

“You can find a entire array of convictions involved, but in the main they were being for fraud and phony accounting.

“Some of them experienced penalties of imprisonment, the the greater part gained group sentences and fines.”

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The SCCRC is inquiring people today to get in touch with it so it can decide whether or not the Horizon computer software was associated and try to treatment doable miscarriages of justice.

It said there may perhaps be a scenario to acquire to attraction even if a victim has now died – or experienced pled responsible in courtroom in an attempt to lower the sentence passed.

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Calum Greenhow, the chief executive of the Subpostmasters’ Federation, states conditions could restore reputations

The Nationwide Federation of Subpostmasters (NFSP) welcomed the intervention of the SCCRC.

Its chief executive, Calum Greenhow explained: “We are not able to proper the wrongs of the earlier.

“But what we can do is to ensure that by the Prison Situations Overview Fee those people circumstances are truly introduced to charm.”

He additional: “I won’t be able to even start out to visualize what these individuals have been as a result of. It is really a story, but it can be their tale.

“And the actuality is that they go to bed at night contemplating about it, they wake up in the morning wondering about it.

“And what we have received to do is that not only are their reputations restored, but the losses they incurred are refunded as well.”

The Write-up Place of work explained it has already been in get in touch with with the SCCRC in relation to historical Scottish convictions which relied on Post Office environment Horizon evidence.

It reported it is conducting an substantial review of historic convictions which relied on Horizon, to determine and disclose materials that may well solid question on the security of those people convictions.

In a assertion it stated: “We are doing the job to fundamentally reform the Put up Business, addressing past functions to pretty solve them and to forge an open up and clear romance with the thousands of present-day postmasters providing consumers with very important companies in the UK’s communities.”

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