Criminal Cases Review Commission
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Star of new ITV Drama series encourages convicted former Post Office workers to apply to the CCRC

The star of the new ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office has urged anyone who believes they were wrongly convicted as part of the Post Office Horizon scandal to contact the Criminal Cases Review Commission (“CCRC”).  

Mr Bates vs the Post Office tells the story of the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British legal history. Hundreds of subpostmasters were wrongly accused by the Post Office of theft, fraud, and false accounting as a result of a defective IT system called Horizon.   

More than 700 people were prosecuted, some were imprisoned and many lives were irreparably damaged. 

The ITV series centres on Alan Bates who campaigned for nearly 20 years to expose the scandal and who brought together hundreds of other subpostmasters who had been affected under the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance.  

Since a landmark Court of Appeal judgment in April 2021, more than 90 people have had their convictions overturned by the appeal courts.  

But actor Toby Jones, who plays Mr Bates in the ITV drama, told BBC Breakfast: “There are still people out there who we would encourage to come forward to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and say that they have suffered injustice.” 

If you believe that you have been wrongly convicted because of problems with the Horizon computer system, you can consider challenging your conviction. 

While some people can apply directly to the courts, the CCRC has to-date referred 70 convictions to the appeal courts, resulting in 62 convictions being overturned. 

CCRC Chairman Helen Pitcher OBE said: “We are continuing to raise awareness of the options open to convicted sub-postmasters and counter staff. 

“Anybody who believes a conviction was due to problems with the Horizon computer system can consider challenging their conviction.” 

“Our service is free and there is no time limit to applying to us. People can also apply on behalf of somebody else, including people who have passed away.” 

You can find out more about the Post Office scandal and how to challenge a Horizon-related conviction or sentence on the CCRC website

You can also read about some of the first convictions to be sent back to the Court of Appeal as a result of CCRC references here.  

Notes to Editors       

  1. The CCRC is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.    
  1. The CCRC investigates potential miscarriages of justice and is the only organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that can refer cases back to the court for appeal.    
  1. Access to the CCRC service is free and there is no time limit in applying.     
  1. There are currently 10 Commissioners who bring to the CCRC considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.       
  1. The CCRC usually receives around 1,400 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Since starting work in 1997, the CCRC has referred around 3% of applications to the appeal courts.       
  1. The CCRC considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal.  Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.       
  1. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair. More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at The CCRC can be found on Twitter @ccrcupdate    
  1. Post Office convictions cannot be referred to the appellate courts en masse – Blog: Why all Post Office convictions cannot be referred at once – Criminal Cases Review Commission (  
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