Business

Exonerating criminals ‘price worth paying’ to resolve Post Office scandal, government says

Overturning the convictions of guilty sub-postmasters to exonerate all those unfairly prosecuted due to the Horizon scandal is a “price worth paying”, according to the government.

Under new legislation, the government says it will “quash all convictions which are identified as being in scope”.

The Post Office minister says that possibly exonerating people guilty of crimes is a “price worth paying” to ensure innocent people are cleared.

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Writing to the House of Commons, postal minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “As noted in my statement on 10 January, the legislation is likely to exonerate a number of people who were, in fact, guilty of a crime.

“The government accepts that this is a price worth paying in order to ensure that many innocent people are exonerated.”

The Horizon scandal has been called one of the largest miscarriages of justice in British history, after thousands were prosecuted, accused of stealing money, due to the faulty Horizon software developed by Fujitsu.

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In an attempt to ensure people are truthful in signing up for compensation linked to convictions being overturned, they will have to sign a disclaimer confirming their innocence.

“Any person found to have signed such a statement falsely in order to gain compensation may be guilty of fraud,” Mr Hollinrake added.

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