Post Office Managers Convicted of Stealing Due to Faulty IT Systems to Receive £600,000 Compensation
Every Post Office manager who was convicted of stealing cash because of faulty IT systems will be given £600,000 in compensation, the Government has announced.
The Horizon Scandal and Wrongful Convictions
Dozens of postmasters were convicted of theft or false accounting between 1999 and 2015 because the Horizon computer system used to monitor their accounts wrongly showed shortfalls in their branches. The Horizon scandal saw postmasters wrongly accused of stealing from the tills because they could not tally up the money they had taken from customers with the amount they owed to the Post Office. Courts routinely relied on evidence from the faulty accounting software to impose convictions, ruining the lives and livelihoods of hundreds.
Interim Compensation and Legal Proceedings
They have already been offered £100,000 in compensation each as an interim payment, and many are currently involved in a legal process to seek more. However, the Department for Business and Trade has now said that any postmasters who agree to end legal action will be given a total of £600,000, as well as money to cover their legal fees. Those who have already settled with the Post Office for a lower amount will be paid the difference.
Compensation for Overturned Convictions
There are 86 individuals who have had their convictions overturned and they have already received £21m in compensation between them. If they all claim the £600,000 payment, it will cost the Government around £30m more. Additionally, any other postmasters who have convictions quashed in the future will also be eligible for the scheme.
Government Commitment to Righting the Wrong
Post Office Minister Kevin Hollinrake said, “This is about righting a wrong and providing some form of relief to those wrongfully caught up in this scandal. Too many postmasters have suffered and for too long, which is why the Government remains committed to seeing this through to the end until it is resolved and ensuring this cannot ever happen again.”
Ensuring Justice and Preventing Future Scandals
The Government’s decision to compensate postmasters affected by the faulty IT systems aims to provide them with the relief they deserve after enduring years of wrongful convictions. By acknowledging the failures of the Horizon computer system and offering substantial compensation, the Government hopes to rectify the injustices faced by these individuals. Moreover, this compensation scheme also serves as a deterrent, ensuring that such a scandal cannot occur again in the future.
The decision to grant £600,000 in compensation to postmasters convicted of stealing due to faulty IT systems marks a significant step towards rectifying the injustices resulting from the Horizon scandal. This compensation aims to provide relief to the wrongfully accused and serves as a reminder of the importance of accurate and reliable technology in the justice system. The Government’s commitment to seeing this through until the end signifies their dedication to righting the wrongs inflicted upon the postmasters and preventing similar scandals in the future.