United Kingdom

Post Office scandal victims to be given up to £100k compensation

The Court of Appeal earlier this week cleared 12 more former subpostmasters who were wrongly convicted of offences, bringing the number of judgments overturned to 57. Hundreds more are working to get their own convictions quashed in a case related to a faulty IT system in Post Office branches, known as Horizon, which saw subpostmasters accused of theft and fraud.

Around 550 postmasters were sacked and several prosecuted when money appeared to vanish from accounts at their branches between 1999 and 2015.

The problems were caused by the Horizon system. Some subpostmasters were imprisoned after being convicted of stealing money.

Post Office chief executive Nick Read said he welcomed the Government support in ensuring compensation is made as quickly as possible is “a priority”.

He added: “Whilst we cannot change the past, this is an important step towards meaningful compensation for victims and we will offer payments as soon as possible.”

The Post Office is contacting postmasters and says it will aim to make an offer of an interim payment within 28 days of receiving an application from those whose overturned convictions relied on Horizon evidence.

It has been estimated that the taxpayer faces a total bill exceeding £300million.

Paul Scully, Postal Affairs minister, said: “The suffering and distress these postmasters and their families have gone through cannot be overstated.

“While nothing will make up for the years of pain they faced after this appalling injustice, I hope this initial step provides a measure of comfort.

“The Post Office has started to turn a corner in terms of dealing with its past mistakes ‑ and this Government will support them in doing so wherever possible.”

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