Post Office responds to Court of Appeal Horizon case

The UK Post Office has responded to a Court of Appeal decision made in favour of its postmasters over the Horizon scandal with an apology and a resolution to improve its relations with them.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has referred a total of 47 convictions of postmasters to the Court of Appeal in which the Post Office acted as prosecutor. The Post Office has chosen not to oppose 44 of those.

Tim Parker, Chairman of the Post Office, said: “I am sincerely sorry on behalf of the Post Office for historical failings which seriously affected some postmasters. Post Office is resetting its relationship with postmasters with reforms that prevent such past events ever happening again.”

In a statement the Post Office said, “Post Office wishes to ensure that all postmasters entitled to claim civil compensation because of their convictions being overturned are recompensed as quickly as possible. Therefore, we are considering the best process for doing that. Further details will be published in due course.”

The organisation has set up an ‘extensive disclosure exercise’ to identify any material that may affect the safety of any historical prosecutions relevant to the Horizon scandal between 1999 and 2013.

The Post Office continued, “This exercise covers Post Office’s conduct as prosecutor between 1999 and 2013 and is examining among other things, issues such as Post Office’s knowledge of, and attitude towards the reliability of Horizon, the nature of postmasters’ contracts, and Post Office’s approach to all cases prosecuted during that period which relied on Horizon.

“This work is expected to be completed within the next few months and Post Office will update the court and the appellants on the results.”

New CEO Nick Read has undertaken a wholesale review of the organisation. He said, “We are forging a new relationship with postmasters helping them to build thriving Post Office businesses for customers and communities throughout the UK. The difficult lessons of the past are being learnt, and we are making fundamental changes to our culture, practices and operating procedures.”