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Statement: NFSP welcomes new legislation

Feb 26, 2024 |

The NFSP welcomes the change in legislation announced last week which will exonerate hundreds of postmasters who were convicted in the Horizon scandal.

The new legislation was announced by Postal Affairs Minister Kevin Hollinrake and is expected to come in by the end of July, but only applies to convictions in England and Wales.

It will quash all convictions made ‘by a set of clear and objective criteria’ which can be found here. 

The legislation does not include prosecutions made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), nor any victims in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The NFSP is concerned that this could result in many more victims who will not be exonerated.

There were 238 people who were charged, prosecuted, and convicted by the DWP.

The NFSP has raised concerns previously with Post Office Ltd (PO) that there are still employees of PO who were involved in internal discussions about bugs, defects, or errors, where directions were given for minutes not to be taken, or were part of the investigation. Given the role this played in the scandal developing and the way in which PO went about investigating the victims of Horizon, can we have any confidence that the DWP had a more robust process?

Minister Hollinrake’s statement said: “While it is for the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to decide on, and progress, their own approaches to the quashing of convictions, we will work with them to ensure those are compatible with the UK compensation scheme - so that compensation can be paid to victims across the whole of the UK.”

The NFSP wants to see a UK-wide legislation put in place immediately to ensure all victims are exonerated and compensated.

Minister Hollinrake’s statement said only postmasters or their employees / officers or family members, or direct employees of the Post Office will be within the defined class of convictions to be quashed.

The NFSP cannot ignore the fact 122 employees of PO were just as much victims of the Horizon scandal as postmasters were. They were charged, prosecuted, and convicted in the same manner and by the same people as postmasters were. What support did they get? And what support are they now receiving from their representative body?

All victims, irrespective if they were a postmaster, assistant, or employee of PO must have their convictions overturned and compensation paid as soon as possible.