The UK’s Metropolitan Police confirmed to The Occasions on Friday that it launched an investigation into the Submit Workplace over the “widest miscarriage of justice in British historical past” that noticed a whole lot of postmasters falsely accused of theft and prosecuted. The investigation considerations potential fraud prices and stemmed from an ITV drama, Mr Bates vs The Submit Workplace, that follows the story of Alan Bates, one of many postmasters who have been dismissed from their job.
Greater than 700 postmasters have been wrongfully accused of misappropriating funds between 1999 and 2015 as a result of technical points with the accounting software program utilized by the Submit Workplace branches. These accused have been both dismissed, prosecuted and imprisoned or ordered to pay giant compensations to the corporate. Many individuals have been bankrupted and a few even took their very own lives.
The Court docket of Attraction overturned the convictions of 39 individuals implicated by the error in 2021 after it dominated that their prosecution was an “abuse of course of” and an “affront to justice.” The courtroom acknowledged the technical points have been brought on by Horizon and located that the Submit Workplace knew of those issues, and due to this fact intentionally didn’t adjust to their disclosure obligations. It has since overturned greater than 90 instances relating to the matter.
To treatment victims’ losses, the UK authorities announced in September 2023 that postmasters who’ve had their convictions quashed could obtain £600,000 in compensation.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters that the federal government has put in place “three completely different compensation schemes which have already paid out virtually £150 million to hundreds of people that have been affected.” He additional inspired individuals who “assume they need to have a declare” to “come ahead, discuss to the authorities, so we will get their claims processed as shortly as doable.” He additionally mentioned the Justice Secretary is “ different choices for a way we will present assist for individuals.”
The Legal Instances Overview Fee (CCRC), an impartial organisation that investigates convictions and sentences, encouraged individuals who imagine they’ve been wrongfully convicted to problem their conviction.