Post Office scandal: TV show reignites anger over 'most widespread miscarriage of justice' in UK history
Post Office scandal: TV show reignites anger over 'most widespread miscarriage of justice' in UK history


Former subpostmasters rejoice outdoors the Royal Courts of Justice in London, on April 23, 2021, following a court docket ruling clearing subpostmasters of convictions for theft and false accounting. – Dozens of former subpostmasters, who have been convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting as a result of of the Post Office’s faulty Horizon accounting system, have lastly had their names cleared by the Court of Appeal. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP through Getty Images)

Tolga Akmen | Afp | Getty Images

LONDON — Successful TV collection has reignited public outrage over a scandal dubbed the “most widespread miscarriage of justice” in British history, which destroyed the lives of a whole bunch of postal employees.

A fault with laptop software program utilized by the Post Office, a state-owned personal firm using hundreds of individuals throughout the nation, resulted in some 230 workers going to jail on false costs of theft, fraud and false accounting.

Between 1999 and 2015, 736 sub-postmasters, who’re self-employed department managers below contract to the Post Office, have been subjected to prosecutions and monetary misconduct convictions based mostly on inaccurate information generated by Horizon, a software program program produced by Japanese firm Fujitsu.

Accused of comparable offences, hundreds extra individuals have been compelled to pay again non-existent losses accrued as a result of software program failure, driving many to monetary damage, critical sick well being and, in a number of circumstances, to suicide. The sub-postmasters’ contracts with the Post Office rendered them accountable for any deficits incurred by their respective branches, that means they have been compelled to repay the inaccurate losses out of their very own pockets.

After a 20-year authorized battle led by the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA), the High Court in 2019 dominated that the Horizon software program was at fault for the losses, and a public inquiry was ordered by the federal government to happen in the next 12 months.

Horizon was manufactured by Fujitsu in 1999 and rolled out throughout Post Office branches to handle monetary transactions. Complaints quickly emerged that it was falsely reporting money shortfalls.

These warnings from Post Office workers have been disregarded by senior management, which accused postmasters of monetary wrongdoing and opted to launch personal prosecutions towards workers who tried to manually alter the info or have been in any other case unable to repay the non-existent losses. In many case, these totalled tens of hundreds of kilos.

Former subpostmaster at Hogsthorpe, Tom Hedges (C) holds a bottle of champagne aloft outdoors the Royal Courts of Justice in London, on April 23, 2021, following a court docket ruling clearing subpostmasters of convictions for theft and false accounting. – Dozens of former subpostmasters, who have been convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting as a result of of the Post Office’s faulty Horizon accounting system, have lastly had their names cleared by the Court of Appeal. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP through Getty Images)

Tolga Akmen | Afp | Getty Images

Thus far, solely 93 convictions have been quashed, as the remaining of the circumstances are nonetheless being assessed, whereas the hundreds extra of individuals who misplaced their houses and livelihoods or have been pushed out of business have but to obtain any substantial compensation.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission, which seems to be into legal circumstances the place individuals consider they’ve been wrongly convicted or sentenced however have misplaced their enchantment, mentioned that the Post Office Horizon scandal is “essentially the most widespread miscarriage of justice” it has ever seen.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday known as it “one of the best miscarriages of justice in our nation’s history” and introduced that the federal government will introduce new laws to make sure that all these hit with legal convictions consequently of the scandal are “swiftly exonerated and compensated.”

“People who labored exhausting to serve their communities had their lives and their reputations destroyed via completely no fault of their very own. The victims should get justice and compensation,” he mentioned.

TV show sparks renewed outcry

The new four-part ITV docu-drama “Mr Bates vs The Post Office— documenting the multi-decade efforts of former sub-postmaster and JFSA chief Alan Bates to safe justice and the affect of the scandal on the lives of these affected — precipitated widespread requires mass exonerations and compensation for victims.

Paula Vennells, who served as CEO of the Post Office between 2012 and 2019, has handed again her high-ranking CBE honours award in gentle of the renewed public anger over her position in the scandal.

Post Office Minister Kevin Hollinrake on Wednesday mentioned that the federal government is keen to pursue Fujitsu for compensation, if the continuing public inquiry locations blame on the Japanese IT agency.

Dozens of victims have been sharing their tales over the nation’s main information shops in latest days. Many suffered abuse in their communities and mentioned that their youngsters have been bullied consequently of the false allegations and destructive publicity on the time.

Tom Hedges, who ran a Post Office close to Skegness, England, till his removing in 2009 and conviction in 2010, instructed the BBC on Wednesday that his and his household’s lives have been “wrecked” by the allegations. His conviction was lastly overturned in 2021.

“Frankly, it wrecked my life, my household’s life, and everyone I do know’s life. It was essentially the most horrendous factor I’ve ever been via,” he mentioned on a particular broadcast.

“I used to be very fortunate in a method, I did not go bankrupt like rather a lot of individuals, and I simply really feel very privileged to sit down right here this morning and handle the nation as a result of of the great TV show that ITV have produced.”

A disclosure listening to was held on Wednesday in the newest stage of the general public inquiry, which is anticipated to increase into the center of this 12 months.



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