Legislation to determined hundreds of wrongfully convicted subpostmasters expected in July

Legislation to overturn Post Administrative heart convictions in accordance to laptop evidence role to be launched in July following exceptional regulations

Karl Flinders


Printed: 22 Feb 2024 16: 30

The authorities expects a law to overturn Post Administrative heart Horizon scandal-linked prison convictions in July, but talked about it “will no longer role a precedent”.

Fears were raised about the deliberate regulations amid questions about the connection between Parliament and the judiciary.

In January, after the dramatisation of the Post Administrative heart scandal introduced about public madden, the authorities announced that emergency regulations would be pushed via Parliament in a matter of weeks to fleet overturn the convictions of hundreds of used subpostmasters and their staff.

Between 2000 and 2015, 736 used subpostmasters and department staff were prosecuted by the Post Administrative heart and convicted of crimes equivalent to theft and pretend accounting. They were prosecuted in accordance to evidence from the Post Administrative heart’s Horizon laptop system, which changed into later proved to be error-inclined for the length of a Excessive Court proper fight that began in 2018.

Led by used subpostmaster Alan Bates, a neighborhood of 555 participants of the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA) sued the Post Administrative heart to repeat that errors within the Horizon system were inflicting unexplained accounting discrepancies. Since then, virtually 100 used subpostmasters and department staff beget had convictions overturned. It’s a ways gradually in most cases known as the ultimate miscarriage of justice in UK history.

Attributable to of the sluggish tempo of overturning convictions, the authorities announced its notion for a blanket exoneration. This created a essential pickle for the authorities in that whereas it would receive certain that each one innocent subpostmasters receive justice, it risks folks who beget dedicated crimes being exonerated and receiving compensation.

In a written assertion to Parliament, Kevin Hollinrake, beneath-secretary of voice at the Department for Business and Switch, talked about: “The authorities recognises the constitutional sensitivity and exceptional nature of this regulations. The authorities is evident that this regulations does no longer role a precedent for the future relationship between the executive, Parliament and the judiciary.”

Unprecedented intervention

Hollinrake talked about that since prime minister Rishi Sunak announced the deliberate regulations, the authorities has been working to determine the final be aware methodology “to this exceptional intervention”.

“As approved in my assertion on 10 January, the regulations is at menace of exonerate a series of folks who were, in truth, guilty of a crime,” he added. “The authorities accepts here’s a gaggle rate paying in say to receive certain that that many innocent folks are exonerated.”

To mitigate this, the authorities talked about, to overturn their convictions, all subpostmasters can beget to sign a assertion declaring they beget no longer dedicated a crime. If here’s later chanced on to be untrue, they’ll face investigation.

Computer Weekly exposed the scandal in 2009 with an investigation into complications being experienced by seven subpostmasters, including Alan Bates and Noel Thomas in North Wales, Lee Castleton in Bridlington and Jo Hamilton in Hampshire. All four featured within the brand new ITV drama, Mr Bates vs the Post Administrative heart.

Also glance: ITV’s Post Administrative heart scandal documentary, Mr Bates vs the Post Administrative heart: The trusty sage.

Also read: What you will want to know about the Horizon scandal.

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