The Horizon IT Scandal, which arose following the installation of the Horizon software in the late 1990s, is still impacting lives to this day. It is right that the Post Office should be held to account and the Government is committed to securing justice for the postmasters affected by the scandal.
The prime minister has confirmed that the justice secretary, Alex Chalk is considering ways of helping to clear the names of convicted subpostmasters caught up in the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history.
The Government has also established a statutory inquiry to consider whether the Post Office has learned its lessons and to provide an independent and external assessment of its work to rebuild relationships.
I will be following this issue closely and in the meantime I have oultined sources of help below;-
There is free, independent, and confidential help and advice available from Citizens Advice. Their dedicated webpage on appeals against convictions is here.
What can I do about my conviction for a Horizon criminal offence?
- Government and the Post Office strongly encourage anyone who believes they were wrongfully convicted, for any reason, to consider an appeal. Substantial compensation is available for anyone whose conviction is overturned where Horizon was essential to the prosecution.
- People with convictions can contact the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) at https://ccrc.gov.uk/post-office/ who can advise on routes of appeal. The CCRC has referred 70 such convictions to the Court of Appeal – resulting in 62 con-victions being overturned so far. The process doesn’t cost anything, and there is no need to hire a lawyer.
- Every Postmaster with overturned convictions reliant on Horizon evidence will be given an up-front compensation offer of £600,000, without the need to bring a for-mal claim. This is entirely optional and postmasters can continue with a formal claim if they wish.
I wasn’t convicted – but I was a postmaster affected by the scandal.
- Current and former postmasters affected by the scandal can apply to join the Horizon Shortfall Scheme. There is more information here and the application form is here.
I want the truth about the scandal to be told.
- Because the Government wants to make sure that the truth about the scandal is known, that mistakes are learnt from and to ensure that nothing similar happens in future, it has set up an independent inquiry under former High Court judge Sir Wyn Williams. You can follow its work here.
I have evidence about the scandal.
- If you have evidence which might help the Inquiry, please contact Solicitor@postof-ficehorizoninquiry.org.uk.