Post Office convictions quashed through legislation

Post Office convictions quashed through legislation

Naomi Long

Legislation quashing the wrongful convictions of postmasters and subpostmasters in Northern Ireland has come into force.

The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Act 2024 received royal assent on Friday, meaning all convictions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have now been overturned providing they meet the statutory criteria.

The legislation provides for the quashing of convictions for certain offences alleged to have been committed while the Horizon system was in use by the Post Office. It also allows for the deletion of cautions for those offences.

Justice minister Naomi Long said: “This is a landmark moment which sees justice served for those wrongly convicted and accused of wrongdoing as part of the Horizon IT scandal.

“Those affected have endured many years of false accusations, financial stress and shame. This is a huge step forward in righting that wrong.”

The UK government’s Department for Business and Trade will continue to work on the new Horizon convictions redress scheme for those who have had their convictions quashed by the legislation, which is expected to be fully operational by the summer.

Mrs Long said: “No amount of financial redress can fully compensate for the years of stress and suffering that subpostmasters have experienced. I hope it is delivered quickly and seamlessly and I hope it offers some solace to all those who have been affected.”

Work is ongoing within Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice to identify and notify those affected. At this stage, postmasters have been advised that they do not need to take any further action.

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