Home Estate Planning Post Office told the government it would oppose appeals of Horizon scandal victims

Post Office told the government it would oppose appeals of Horizon scandal victims

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The Post Office told the Government it would oppose appeals of half of the convicted sub-postmasters, days before PM announced a new law to exonerate victims.

It was revealed by the Financial Times that ministers were privately told by the Post Office that they believed that in 333 cases, non-Horizon evidence supported the convictions.

The letter is reported to have been sent to the Department for Business and Trade and Ministry of Justice days before the PMQ’s where Rishi Sunak announced the new law.

The Prime Minister was facing mounting pressure after the ITV drama Mr Bates vs. The Post Office aired over Christmas and caused a public outcry.

So far 96 convictions in total have been overturned.

The Horizon IT system was first introduced into Post Offices in 1999 but it began to create ongoing accounting issues for sub-postmasters up and down the country. By 2009, prosecution, convictions and prison sentences were mounting up, and a small group began their fight for justice.

By 2015, there were 700 convictions in which Horizon computer evidence might have featured in their convictions.

The letter sent to the Government, referenced 333 cases by stating “on the information currently available . . . POL could not properly concede an appeal unless further information becomes available.”

According to the FT, the letter drew criticism from a member of the government-appointed Horizon compensation advisory board, Richard Moorhead.

“The people writing that letter have not properly absorbed the scale of the injustice exposed by the lawyers and investigators during the inquiry,” said Moorhead, referring to the statutory inquiry into the scandal.

“Almost any evidence coming from the Post Office would have to start with the assumption that it’s now seriously flawed,” he added.

Running in the background is the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry which kicked off in November 2021 and is set to run until later this year. The inquiry look to establish a clear account of the implementation and failings of the system over its lifetime (a period of over 20 years).

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