Post Office Horizon scandal: More subpostmasters cleared

Person using Horizon

The Court of Appeal has cleared 12 more former subpostmasters who were wrongly convicted of offences during the Post Office Horizon scandal.

It brings the total of judgements overturned to 57, but hundreds more are hoping for similar decisions.

Between 1999 and 2015, they were sacked or prosecuted after money appeared to vanish from accounts at their branches.

The problems were caused by the Horizon computer system in Post Office branches which turned out to be flawed.

Some subpostmasters were imprisoned after being convicted of stealing money.

In April, 39 people had verdicts against them overturned, following on from the overturning of six other convictions in December.

More people have been affected by this than in any other miscarriage of justice in the UK.

Significant bugs

The Horizon system, developed by the Japanese company Fujitsu, was first rolled out in 1999 to some post offices to be used for a variety of tasks including accounting and stocktaking.

But from an early stage, it appeared to have significant bugs which could cause the system to misreport, sometimes involving substantial sums of money.

Horizon-based evidence was used by the Post Office to successfully prosecute 736 people.

Three judges quashed the convictions of Robert Ambrose, Hasmukh Shingadia, John Armstrong, Timothy Brentnall, Jerry Hosi, Gurdeep Singh Dhale, John Dickson, Abiodun Omotoso, Malcolm Watkins, Sami Sabet, Carina Price and Rizwan Manjra.

Their appeals were unopposed by the Post Office.

At a hearing in March, the court heard subpostmasters’ lives were “irreparably ruined”, with some losing marriages, jobs and homes after they were prosecuted by the Post Office.

An independent inquiry is being held into the affair.

Listen to the background of the saga: The Great Post Office Trial on BBC Sounds