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Exonerations for wrongly convicted sub-postmasters

Post Office Horizon law coming into force.

Sub-postmasters in Scotland who were wrongly convicted as a result of the Post Office Horizon scandal will be automatically exonerated tomorrow (14 June 2024).

The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences (Scotland) Act received Royal Assent today (13 June 2024) and comes into force tomorrow. The legislation was passed in the Scottish Parliament on 30 May 2024 to deliver justice to victims as swiftly as possible and enable them to access the UK Government financial redress scheme.

Working with the Crown Office, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission and the Post Office, the Scottish Government will notify those affected and ensure police and court records are amended. There is also a route for victims to bring their cases to the attention of Ministers.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance has written an open letter to sub-postmasters setting out next steps.

The Justice Secretary said:

“This legislation automatically exonerates sub-postmasters who were convicted of crimes of dishonesty that they did not commit due to the Post Office’s faulty Horizon IT system, meaning they are eligible to access the redress scheme.

“Of course, no amount of compensation can fully mend the lives that were torn apart by this miscarriage of justice. I do hope, however, that this legislation goes some way to righting the terrible wrongs of the past.

“I will be writing to those affected to tell them their convictions have been quashed and ensuring court records are changed, so the victims of this scandal can have their good names restored as quickly as possible. They have already waited too long for justice.”

Background

The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences (Scotland) Act automatically exonerates convicted sub-postmasters where the following criteria are met:

  • the conviction was for embezzlement, fraud, theft, uttering or an ancillary offence committed between 23 September 1996 and 31 December 2018
  • the person was carrying on a Post Office business, or working in a Post Office for the purpose of a Post Office business
  • the conviction was in connection with carrying on, or working for the purpose of the Post Office business
  • the Horizon system was being used for the purposes of the Post Office business in the relevant Post Office

Those who meet the criteria and whose appeals were refused in the High Court will also be exonerated.

Post Office Horizon scandal: Justice Secretary’s open letter to postmasters

Sub-postmasters can make the Scottish Government aware of any convictions by emailing PostOfficeConvictions@gov.scot or by writing to:

Post Office Convictions
Room GW14
Saint Andrew’s House
1 Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Channel website: http://www.gov.scot/

Original article link: https://www.gov.scot/news/exonerations-for-wrongly-convicted-sub-postmasters/

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