Post Office scandal – further conviction of sub-postmaster overturned

Following a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice this morning before Mrs Justice Farbey, the conviction of a former sub-postmaster (‘NK’) was overturned following agreement by Post Office Limited that his prosecution had been an abuse of process. The appeal had been referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. 

This decision marks the latest chapter in the Horizon IT scandal which resulted in the seminal judgment of the Court of Appeal in Hamilton & Others [2021] EWCA Crim 577 on 23 April 2021, in which the Court held that the private prosecutions of 39 sub-postmasters had been “an affront to justice”. The British Government has since set up a statutory inquiry into the scandal, chaired by Sir Wyn Williams. The plight of the sub-postmasters has attracted national and international interest. 

In this latest case of NK, he had told Post Office investigators that he had experienced unexplained shortfalls in his branch accounts and had no idea what had happened to the missing money. He was not given disclosure about the problems with the Horizon system. He was prosecuted for theft and pleaded guilty, feeling that he had no option but to do so.   

NK is represented by Tim Moloney KC and Kate O’Raghallaigh, instructed by Neil Hudgell of Hudgell Solicitors

In Hamilton & Others, Tim Moloney KC and Kate O’Raghallaigh were appointed lead advocates by the Court of Appeal and represented 29 of the 39 appellants for whom the Court found that the investigative and disclosure failings of Post Office Limited were “so egregious as to make the prosecution of any of the “Horizon cases” an affront to the conscience of the court” and that, in their conduct of the prosecutions, the Post Office “reversed the burden of proof”. The judgment of the Court in Hamilton has set a historic precedent for sub-postmasters whose convictions were based on the integrity of the Horizon IT system. 

Members of Doughty Street Tim Moloney KC, Kate O’Raghallaigh, Graeme Hall and Angela Patrick are instructed for dozens of former sub-postmasters before the Court of Appeal, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and the Post Office Inquiry.  

For a link to the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Hamilton & Others, click here.

For more information on the case, click here.