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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Post Office Horizon Victims to be Exonerated

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Bill passed to provide justice to wrongly convicted sub-postmasters.

Legislation has been passed that will automatically exonerate sub-postmasters who were wrongly convicted as a result of the faulty Horizon IT system, the day after Royal Assent is granted.

Those whose convictions are quashed under the Post Office (Horizon System) Offences (Scotland) Bill will be able to access the UK Government financial redress scheme.

After the Scottish Parliament agreed to use its emergency procedure, the Bill has been introduced and passed in just over two weeks – to allow justice and redress to be delivered to victims as swiftly as possible in line with the UK Bill, which did not cover sub-postmasters in Scotland.

Sub-postmasters who previously sought to appeal their convictions will now also be exonerated, following a Scottish Government amendment to the Bill, brought at Stage two, in Parliament.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said:

“I hope this Bill goes some way to bring justice to innocent sub-postmasters who had their lives ruined by being wrongly convicted of offences of dishonesty on the basis of tainted evidence from the faulty Post Office Horizon system.

“As the UK Government’s legislation was not extended to cover Scotland, we have worked as quickly as possible to ensure parity for affected sub-postmasters here, who will also be able to access the UK Government’s compensation scheme.

“The unprecedented step of introducing legislation to right this terrible wrong was necessary to respond to the scale of the scandal and the length of time that victims have waited for justice.

“We will now be seeking Royal Assent for the Bill as quickly as possible so affected sub-postmasters can have their convictions quashed and then access the compensation they deserve.”

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