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6 subpostmaster convictions referred for appeal in Scotland

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Six previous subpostmasters in Scotland will have appeals versus criminal convictions heard after being referred by Scotland’s Criminal Cases Review Commission

Karl Flinders

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Published: 08 Nov 2022 13: 12

Scotland’s Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has actually referred 6 cases of prospective wrongful convictions of subpostmasters, based upon computer system proof, to the High Court of Justiciary.

The appeals versus the prosecutions of previous subpostmasters Aleid Kloosterhuis, William Quarm, Susan Sinclair, Colin Smith, Judith Smith and Robert Thomson will now be heard in the appeal court of Scotland.

The previous subpostmasters were all prosecuted by the Post Office for unusual shortages in their branch accounts, which might have been triggered by computer system mistakes, according to a judgment in the High Court in England.

SCCRC chairman Bill Matthews stated: “The cases we have actually referred today to the High Court are extraordinary in the Commission’s caseload as every one is established upon the operation of the Post Office’s computer system, Horizon, and the conduct of the Post Office. We have actually released comprehensive declarations of factors which attend to all of the appropriate premises. It is for the High Court to choose whether to quash the convictions of the people worried.”

Computer Weekly initially reported on the issues with the Fujitsu-supplied Horizon system in 2009 when it revealed the stories of a group of subpostmasters whose lives were messed up when they were blamed for accounting shortages brought on by computer system mistakes ( see timeline of Computer Weekly posts listed below)

Some were imprisoned, lots of were greatly fined, great deals were made insolvent and households were messed up. It has actually been referred to as the greatest miscarriage of justice in UK legal history. An overall of 736 previous subpostmasters were prosecuted in England, based upon proof from the Horizon computer system utilized in Post Office branches. Up Until the High Court judgment in 2019, the Post Office had actually rejected that unusual deficiencies might be triggered by Horizon mistakes.

The CCRC started examining English cases in 2015 and the very first convictions to be reversed was available in December 2020 In England, more than 80 previous subpostmasters have up until now had their criminal convictions reversed, and more are anticipated.

In September 2020, Following a great deal of cases referred for appeal by England’s CCRC, the SCCRC took what it referred to as an “uncommon action” and composed to more than 70 individuals with prospective wrongful convictions. It started evaluating the very first set of cases in March 2021.

Scotland has a different legal system and the SCCRC is typically about 10% of the size of the CCRC in England in regards to cases.

SCCRC CEO Michael Walker stated: “These cases presented considerable obstacles for the Commission. Comparable cases have actually been prosecuted in England and Wales, and prolonged choices and large documents exist in relation to those court actions. We were needed to think about that info and to acquire products pertinent to the 6 cases that we are referring today.

” Our function in these 6 cases now ends– it is for the Appeal Court to choose whether any miscarriages of justice happened.”

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