Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Xander Elliards

All Scottish Post Office scandal victims will be cleared, Humza Yousaf says

ALL subpostmasters wrongly convicted in Scotland because of the Post Office Horizon IT scandal will be cleared, Humza Yousaf has said.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, Yousaf said he was keen to work with the UK Government after it announced plans for the victims of the scandal to be “swiftly exonerated and compensated”.

Yousaf wrote to the Tory leader: “I am writing to you regarding the Post Office Minister, Kevin Hollinrake MP’s announcement in Parliament today that the UK Government intends to legislate to reverse the convictions of sub-postmasters convicted of criminal offences as a result of the Post Office Horizon IT system.

“I welcome this announcement. The Post Office Horizon scandal requires urgent action to ensure those affected by unjust convictions can finally receive justice.

“In the course of his statement, the minister noted that the power to legislate to reverse convictions imposed by the Scottish courts is devolved to the Scottish Parliament but that he is keen to work with the devolved Governments to ensure that subpostmasters in Scotland and Northern Ireland are not disadvantaged.

“Scottish ministers are keen to work with the UK Government to deal with the impact on sub-postmasters convicted in Scotland, ensuring that a UK-wide approach is taken to exonerate those wrongfully convicted in Scottish courts.

“Given the unique circumstances arising from the Post Office Horizon scandal, it is right that normal processes for appeals are set aside to ensure that justice can now be delivered for those whose lives were greatly impacted by their wrongful conviction.

“The Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs, Angela Constance MSP, will contact her counterpart, the Secretary of State for Justice, to discuss how best to progress work in this area, whether this is by ensuring that the UK legislation will either apply directly in Scotland or by developing separate Scottish legislation to deliver the same effect for Scotland.

“I trust that we can work together to ensure that those affected are now able to have their convictions overturned and obtain compensation.”

Almost 1000 sub-postmasters were convicted of crimes including theft and embezzlement on the basis of evidence from the flawed Horizon IT system.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said it estimates up to 100 people were convicted in Scotland as a result of Horizon.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the prosecutors said the Post Office claimed the system would have no impact on legal cases.

Asked if the Crown Office chose not to look again at the convictions in Scotland relating to Horizon because of assurances from the Post Office and if it felt it had been misled, the service said on Wednesday that it could not provide a response.

On Tuesday, Scottish Justice Secretary Angela Constance (above) told MSPs that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission – the body tasked with assessing possible miscarriages of justice – has sent seven cases to the appeal court, two of which have resulted in overturned convictions.

Deputy Crown agent Kenny Donnelly said: “We are working with the Post Office to ensure that case material is recovered as efficiently as possible to ensure that appeals currently before the court can be expedited and all potential future appellants can be identified and their cases reviewed.

“COPFS estimates up to 100 Scottish cases may be affected.

“This is lower than in England and Wales due to COPFS policy decisions made in response to awareness of the Horizon system issues, and the fact that all cases in Scotland were prosecuted by the procurator fiscal under the application of Scots criminal law.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.