Today the Court of Appeal quashed convictions for theft, fraud and false accounting against thirty nine former post office operators. The judges rules that the convictions against them were made on the basis of “corrupt data” from an IT system.
The convictions were made after the Post Office installed the Horizon IT system that was supplied by Fujitsu, which suggested there were cash shortfalls. It is believed by campaigners potentially nine hundred operators may have been prosecuted and convicted between 2000 and 2014 as a result of the Horizon IT system.
The impact upon the individuals was significant as a number were sent to prison or were made bankrupt. The convictions also had a detrimental impact upon their relationships and ability to obtain alternative employment.
It is understood that the Post Office settled a civil claim brought by 555 claimants for £57.75m, that amounted to £12m after legal costs in December 2019. As part of the settlement, the Post Office did not accept liability. In November 2020, the Metropolitan Police opened an investigation into potential perjury by IT experts from Fujitsu in respect of the evidence they gave during the criminal trials.
Further appeals, investigations and trials in respect of the scandal are likely to continue.