A supporter celebrates outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, on April 23, 2021, following a court ruling clearing subpostmasters of convictions for theft and false accounting. – Dozens of former subpostmasters, who were convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting because of the Post Office’s defective Horizon accounting system, have finally had their names cleared by the Court of Appeal. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
THE government on Monday (18) announced that every postmaster convicted because of a flawed IT system will be offered hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation.
Some 700 people running small local post offices were found guilty of false accounting and theft between 1999 and 2015 because of a software bug that made it look like money was missing.
Some were imprisoned or left out of pocket after being asked to make up the shortfalls, while others failed to find other jobs and lost their homes.
The scandal surrounding the Horizon IT system has been described at a public inquiry into the affair as “the worst miscarriage of justice in recent British legal history”.
Eighty-six postmasters have so far seen their convictions overturned and £21 million has been paid in compensation.
The government said those who have already received interim compensation or have settled with the Post Office for less than £600,000 will be paid the difference.
“This is about righting a wrong and providing some form of relief to those wrongfully caught up in this scandal,” said post office minister Kevin Hollinrake.
“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.”
The wider compensation scheme including other post office staff caught up in the scandal has paid more than £120 million to 2,600 individuals, the government said.