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Gordon MP welcomes move to compensate Horizon Scandal victims

By David Porter

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Gordon MP Richard Thomson has welcomed publication of a Parliamentary Bill - the Post Office (Horizon System) Compensation Bill - to ensure that the Sub-Postmasters affected by the scandal do not miss out on compensation.

Between 2000 and 2014, over 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted based on information from the Horizon system, which saw staff wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting.

However, in December 2019 a High Court judge ruled that the system contained a number of “bugs, errors and defects” and there was a “material risk” that shortfalls in Post Office branch accounts were in fact caused by the Horizon system.

Since then, many sub-postmasters have had their criminal convictions overturned, although not before some were sent to prison for crimes they never committed and some even took their own lives.

Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said: “This Bill is a welcome step forward.

"The fine detail will need to be carefully looked-at, but the Bill confirms that the government does intend to provide full and fair compensation to the sub-postmasters and no-one should be discriminated against in that by arbitrary timescales.

“It’s important now that this progresses as quickly as possible and people get their compensation in early course. The Sub-postmasters who have been caught up in what is one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in legal history deserve nothing less.

“The public inquiry into the Post Office Horizon IT scandal is still ongoing but there’s enough evidence already been uncovered to confirm that the Post Office knew about problems with Fujitsu’s Horizon system for years and knowledge of these faults was not disclosed to the courts when they were being invited to convict postmasters of wrongdoing

“Post Office officials essentially perverted the course of justice and, once the inquiry concludes and all the evidence is gathered in, those responsible need to be held to account for their actions.”

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