Post Office apologises to sub-postmasters after false convictions quashed
- Credit: PA
The Post Office has apologised for serious failures in its historical conduct of prosecutions of postmasters and postmistresses – including two from Norfolk.
It comes following the Court of Appeal formally overturning 39 convictions, that occurred between 2003 to 2013, in uncontested appeals.
Its chairman, Tim Parker, said it was “extremely sorry” for the impact the convictions had on the lives of those affected, and their families, caused by historical failures.
He said: “We are contacting other postmasters and Post Office workers with criminal convictions from past private Post Office prosecutions that may be affected, to assist them to appeal should they wish.
“Post Office continues to reform its operations and culture to ensure such events can never happen again.”
Its chief executive, Nick Read, added: “I am in no doubt about the human cost of the Post Office’s past failures and the deep pain that has been caused to people affected.
“Many of those postmasters involved have been fighting for justice for a considerable length of time and sadly there are some who are not here to see the outcome today and whose families have taken forward appeals in their memory. I am very moved by their courage.”
Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, called it "one of the genuine scandals that has engulfed the Post Office for years”.
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He said he believed he was the only MP who is also a former postmaster - having served in that role for the Post Office branches in Budgens in Holt and Aylsham - and has spoken about the scandal in Parliament more than once.
Just last month, he stood in the Commons urging Boris Johnson to call a "judge-led public inquiry" into the scandal.
Two former north Norfolk sub-postmistresses were among those who had their convictions quashed.
Alison Henderson and Siobhan Sayer were among the former postmasters and mistresses who were convicted of stealing money after the Post Office's installation of a faulty computer system called Horizon in 1999.
Ms Sayer, who worked at Erpingham Post Office, was given a suspended jail sentence at Norwich Crown Court in 2010 after she was falsely convicted of defrauding Royal Mail out of nearly £19,000.
Ms Henderson, who worked at Worstead Post Office, was also falsely convicted at Norwich Crown Court in 2010. It was said she had covered up her losses of nearly £12,000 by false accounting.