Britain: Court clears 39 post office operators convicted due to ‘corrupt data’

Theft, fraud and false accounting convictions quashed after one of England’s biggest ever miscarriages of justice

Former post office operator Janet Skinner, centre, with her niece Hayley Adams, right, and her daughter Toni Sisson celebrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Guardian: Dozens of former post office operators have had their convictions for theft, fraud and false accounting quashed by the court of appeal after judges ruled the convictions were due to “corrupt data” from an IT system.

In the latest chapter of one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in English legal history, 39 people who were prosecuted after the Horizon IT system installed by the Post Office and supplied by Fujitsu falsely suggested there were cash shortfalls, had their names cleared on Friday.

Campaigners believe that as many as 900 operators, often known as subpostmasters, may have been prosecuted and convicted between 2000 and 2014.

In his written judgment, Lord Justice Holroyde, sitting with Mr Justice Picken and Mrs Justice Farbey, said of the 39 cleared:

“Many of these appellants went to prison; those that did not suffered other penalties imposed by the courts; all would have experienced the anxiety associated with what they went through; all suffered financial losses, in some cases resulting in bankruptcy; some suffered breakdowns in family relationships; some were unable to find or retain work as a result of their convictions – causing further financial and emotional burdens; some suffered breakdowns in health; all suffered the shame and humiliation of being reduced from a respected local figure to a convicted criminal; and three … have gone to their graves carrying that burden.”

To cheers from dozens of supporters and other former post office workers, among the first of those to emerge through the front door of the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London, was Janet Skinner, who was imprisoned for nine months.  read more..

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  1. 900 prosecutions for embezzlement by postal workers? Something really strange going on tbere; the postal service would have to assume they just happened to hire an exceptionally larcenous stable of individuals, or else the sticky-fingured ones had been sharing their tricks.
    The way the postal system settled the big money case without saying what went wrong doesn’t look good.
    A lot of innocent folks were chewed up by the system.

  2. The Post Office is believed to be the world’s oldest prosecuting authority. So the victims were persecuted by the same org that stood to lose face by the IT failure being exposed.
    The Royal mail has a spooky history.
    The ‘Secret Office’. Formed around 1653 (even the date of its inception is a mystery), the office operated within the shadows of the General Post Office (GPO) as a covert state spying institution.

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