UK sub-postmasters to get interim payout for wrongful convictions

Sub-postmasters who have been wrongly convicted of criminal offenses in a post-office IT scandal each receive an interim fine of up to £ 100,000 funded by the British government.

The payments are a step towards the full settlements for the 59 sub-postmasters who have so far overturned their criminal convictions, in what some MPs have described as one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in recent times.

The individuals were convicted of theft, fraud and false bookkeeping, after prosecution between 2000 and 2013 by the state post office for financial deficits in branch accounts. Later it was revealed that it was caused by the post office’s faulty IT system called Horizon.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said on Thursday that the initial compensation is aimed at ensuring the sub-postmasters ‘are not left out of pocket’ as the government and the post office work for the full settlements.

About 700 sub-postmasters have been prosecuted by the Post Office and hundreds are still struggling to destroy their convictions, following the latest set of 12 individuals. won the legal battle to clear their names this week.

The convictions ruined the lives of many sub-postmasters, some of whom were prosecuted or forced into bankruptcy after the post office told them to repay thousands of pounds related to the accounting differences. Some were even sent to prison.

“While nothing will compensate for the years of pain they have endured after this appalling injustice, I hope this first step provides some comfort,” said Paul Scully, Secretary of the Post Office.

“The post office has started turning around to deal with its mistakes in the past, and this government will support them where possible,” he added.

In a speech delivered in April, Post Office CEO Nick Read called on the government to provide swift support to the victims of the Horizon scandal, as the company does not have enough resources to provide meaningful compensation itself. not.

The government’s support for the post office is a boost ahead of the autumn three-year comprehensive spending review, in which the organization hopes to receive subsidy obligations.

Read welcomes the government’s funding to speed up interim payments, which will help recover those who suffered as a result of the wrongful conviction.

“While we cannot change the past, it is an important step towards meaningful compensation for victims, and we will offer payments as soon as possible,” Read said.

The interim payments will be made within 28 days of receiving an application from people whose undead conviction is based on evidence related to the Horizon IT system.

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