During a period covering nearly two decades the Post Office systematically prosecuted more than 1,000 of its sub-postmasters for alleged theft.
Sub-postmasters pointed to the inadequacies of the Post Office’s Horizon IT system for the alleged financial shortfalls in Post Office branch records. Yet, throughout a series of court cases against sub-postmasters, the Post Office maintained their Horizon computer system was "robust and reliable". As a result, sub-postmasters lost their livelihoods, were pilloried by the communities they served and some went to jail.
But the Post Office got it wrong. There was no theft. Their Horizon system was defective and caused the shortfalls in branch accounts.
Worse still, a group litigation brought by over 550 sub postmasters at the end of last year showed that the Post Office was aware of the problems with the computer system many years ago, yet they ploughed on, prosecuting, regardless.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission ("CCRC") has now referred more than 45 of these cases to the Court of Appeal. The CCRC says there was an “abuse of the process of the court” by the Post Office.
A further 900 prosecutions have now been referred by the Post Office for review to a specialist crime law firm.
We’ve spoken to so many people whose lives have been ruined as a result of this scandal. It’s the ultimate David v Goliath battle.
Aria Grace Law is working as part of a team that includes Paul Marshall, a barrister at Cornerstone Barristers, on behalf of several people appealing their convictions in the Court of Appeal in the light of Mr Justice Fraser’s findings in the Bates v Post Office litigation.
The Applicants’ team (both barristers and solicitors) will be working on these appeals on a pro bono basis.
Get in touch if you’d like to know more.