The Submit Office Offences Invoice leaves mighty unresolved

The passing of a law to exonerate many of the victims of the Submit Office scandal used to be positively perfect files – however the following authorities must address the ambiguity that left thirteen of us outside its remit


  • Lord Chris Holmes

Printed: 25 Jun 2024

Had been it now not for an unexpected identical old election announcement on an otherwise unremarkable moist Wednesday in Can also merely, we would now be debating the Submit Office Offences Invoice within the Home of Lords.

On the face of it, this is unproblematic. The Invoice used to be handed in what’s believed as “wash up”, the duration following the high minister’s announcement when the full bills earlier than Parliament at that point are both handed or dropped.

It is very perfect that the Invoice did receive thru. It is goodbye tedious, for so many a couple of of those wrongfully convicted postmistresses and postmasters.

Sadly, on the opposite hand, it is not the full story. There aren’t less than three factors which we must accumulated have been in a space to mutter about and, potentially, resolve thru a vote within the Lords had we had the likelihood.

Thirteen excluded from justice

The most mandatory and urgent of those is the actual fact that the invoice would now not shroud all of those so horrifically wrongly convicted. There are thirteen of us that the authorities deliberately space outside the provisions of the invoice.

Their reasoning, wrongly in my undercover agent, is that as a result of their appeals had been heard and upheld by the Court docket of Charm, Parliament might perchance well now not intervene. 

Certainly, this is punishing those other folks for their assiduity in getting their conditions to the appellant court in as snappy a time as that you might perchance well perchance possibly reveal. 

If they’d now not, they’d have been integrated within the provisions of the invoice. This must be urgently addressed by the following authorities.

This will perchance perchance have been without danger and rapidly carried out by merely eradicating Clause 1(2)(c) which reads: “This Act applies to a conviction in England and Wales for a associated offence the put the conviction has now not been knowing to be by the Court docket of Charm in England and Wales”.

Our aim used to be to safe away this clause because the invoice stepped forward thru the Lords. We failed to receive the likelihood.

When the King’s Speech is be taught by His Majesty on 17 July, I desperately hope there might perchance be legislation to tackle this continuing depraved. The fact, I ache, is there will now not. Our stress must proceed except justice is delivered for all.

Submit Office vitality to raise prosecutions

2nd, possibly essentially the most pernicious half of all these court cases, is the characteristic of the Submit Office because it introduced these private prosecutions. I had proposed an modification to, on the least, hit upon at this vitality and the device in which it had operated in this occasion.

The wording of my modification used to be: “The secretary of exclaim must, within six months of the passing of this Act, lay earlier than Parliament a epic on allotment 6 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. The overview must, among assorted things, shroud: the characteristic of allotment 6 within the convictions of those whose convictions were quashed under this Act; and whether or now not additional safeguards, equivalent to reporting requirements on the usage of such prosecutions, are wished.”

Again, this is an urgent topic for the fresh authorities as we were denied the choice to carry out this switch.

Admissibility of computer evidence

At closing, there might perchance well be the indispensable demand of how computer evidence is adduced and examined in our merely machine

It is most productive within the closing 25 years that such evidence can also be, within the occasion you are going to, taken on the nod, and in that point it has been assumed to be bone fide. 

If anything else illustrates the insufficiency of such an device it is the abilities of those on the depraved slay of the Submit Office action.

I had tabled an modification to tackle this precise topic. My proposed modification would have space out: “The secretary of exclaim must, within six months of this passing of this Act, lay earlier than Parliament a overview of the characteristic of computer evidence within the convictions quashed under this Act. The overview under subsection (1) might perchance well merely encompass ideas to tackle any factors identified by the overview when it comes to requirements of computer evidence aged in court court cases.”

A truly indispensable topic, accumulated short of urgent attention. A big demand for our justice machine within the age of man-made intelligence.


We failed to receive the choice to carry out the Submit Office Invoice greater. It finds its manner into statute as a suboptimal portion of legislation, handed thru an insufficient, rushed wash-up direction of, leaving several indispensable factors unresolved. For the following authorities, this must be on the head of page no doubt one of their priorities.

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