Express & Star

Horizon scandal Post Office workers to be offered £600,000 each in compensation

Postmasters who were wrongfully jailed because of glitches with a computer system will be offered £600,000 each in compensation, the Government says.

Tracy Felstead and Rubbina Shaheen both had their convictions overturned

Between 1999 and 2015, the Post Office prosecuted more than 700 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses based on information from the computer system Horizon.

To date, 86 convictions have been overturned and £21 million has been paid in compensation to postmasters with overturned convictions.

Tracy Felstead, from Telford, was wrongly jailed for six months in 2001 after being convicted of stealing more than £11,500 from the Post Office, where she worked as a counter clerk when she was 19.

Miss Felstead had her conviction overturned on appeal.

Rubbina Shaheen, who lives just outside of Shrewsbury, was jailed for 12 months in December 2010 for false accounting after the Horizon computer system generated a £40,000 shortfall in the post office accounts.

She too had her conviction overturned.

Staffordshire sub-postmasters Carl Page - who was jailed for two years in 200 - and Gillian Harrison - who was given a rehabilitation order in 2005 - also had their convictions quashed.

The Horizon software was introduced into the Post Office in 1999 and was developed by Japanese company Fujitsu for the purpose of tasks such as accounting and stocktaking.

But faults in the software led to shortfalls in branches accounts.

The Post Office demanded sub-postmasters cover the shortfalls, and in many cases wrongfully prosecuted them for false accounting or theft.

Some postmasters went to prison, losing clean criminal records, loss of liberty, experienced financial losses and were shunned by their communities.

The Government has said all reasonable legal fees will continue to be covered and any postmaster who does not want to accept this offer can continue with the existing process.

The Government says its aim is to ensure as many postmasters involved receive this offer of compensation as fast as possible to help bring a resolution to the scandal.

This includes any postmasters who overturn their convictions in the future based on Horizon evidence – they will also be entitled to compensation.

For those postmasters who have already received initial compensation payments or have reached a settlement with the Post Office of less than the £600,000, they will be paid the difference.

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.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.