The Post Office persistently pursued two sisters, Jacquie El Kasaby and Rose Stewart, for a £34,000 discrepancy even after a criminal trial was ruled out due to issues with the Horizon computer system.
In November 2012, it was mistakenly found that their accounts were down by more than £34,000 at the Gorbals Post Office. Jacquie said, when the auditors turned up, ‘the seeds of shame were planted that day. And that’s when my world, the life that I was living, that was changed that day.’
The Post Office investigators hunted the sisters down, despite Glasgow procurator fiscal Angus Crawford concluding in 2014 that no trial could be pursued due to issues with the Horizon computer evidence.
Eventually, a mediation process led to the Post Office requiring the sisters to pay £10,000 to settle the debt, which had severe consequences. This included the loss of their jobs at the Gorbals Post Office where Jacquie and Rose worked and enduring mental health challenges. Mr. Cleghorn, their advisor, said they should have been notified of the concerns over the Horizon computer system, ‘the withholding of such crucial information from a formal mediation process in order to extract money should be investigated.’
The Post Office scandal was responsible for wrongful convictions all over the UK. As previously reported by the Justice Gap, multiple former Post Office workers across the UK were affected by false convictions and discrepancies in the accounts, which were caused by glitches in the Horizon computer system used by the Post Office. As a result, many individuals lost their jobs, incomes, and reputations, despite being innocent.
Yesterday evening, the BBC aired a Disclosure programme specifically looking at the Post Office Scandal in Scotland. The Scottish justice system undertook various actions, such as apologizing to victims, overturning convictions, and assessing past cases for potential faulty evidence. The BBC programme interviewed families of wrongfully convicted victims. One such story discusses the case of Caren Lorimer who was diagnosed with cancer in November 2021 and died four months later before being able to clear her name.
The ongoing pursuit of individuals like Jacquie and Rose, even after a criminal trial was ruled out, highlights the enduring impact of the Post Office scandal. It underscores the need for comprehensive actions to rectify the damages caused by the faulty Horizon system and the importance of preventing such injustices in the future.
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has invited victims of a miscarriage of justice, including Caren Lorimer, to apply to see whether their cases can be referred to the Court of Appeal.