WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
July 19 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Did the Post Office pervert the course of justice in the Horizon scandal?

Did the Post Office pervert the course of justice in the Horizon scandal?

A barrister who represented subpostmasters in the Horizon scandal has written to the Department of Public Prosecutions requesting consideration of charges against the Post Office for perverting the course of justice.

The Post Office’s Horizon computer system was the basis for the conviction of more than 700 subpostmasters – Post Office branch managers – for theft and fraud over a period of decades. Horizon was later found by in a civil case, to be ‘not remotely robust. At least 30 victims have died before receiving justice.

Paul Marshall, who represented subpostmasters whose convictions were quashed in the Court of Appeal, has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, stating that ‘the Post Office’s manifestly seriously incomplete disclosure… was not by inadvertence or oversight, but was intentional and integral to a commercial strategy’. You can read more in the Sunday Times and see the text of the letter in Nick Wallis’s Post Office Scandal site.

This is not the first time that criminal action has been mooted against the Post Office in this matter. Mr Justice Fraser, the judge who had found that Horizon was unreliable, had also previously written to the Department of Public Prosecutions. In May 2021, a senior legal adviser to the Post Office anonymously told the BBC “a deliberate failure to comply with the rules usually amounts to a perversion of the course of justice. I can probably name half a dozen people… who should be very worried.”

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has quashed a further five convictions in connection with the Horizon scandal as affronts to justice. Lord Justice Holroyde ruled that the Post Office ‘had consistently failed to be open and honest about the issues affecting Horizon, and had effectively steamrolled over any Subpostmaster who sought to challenge its accuracy’. This brings the total number of quashed convictions to 78.

The Wyn Williams inquiry into the Horizon scandal continues. It is expected to conclude in Autumn this year.

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