Horizon: Commission orders ‘largest-ever’ Court of Appeal referral

Postal, Post Office (PO)


Historic CCRC verdict marks another major step towards justice for postmasters…

The majority of wrongful convictions arising from inherent faults within the Horizon computer system are being sent to the Court of Appeal, following a landmark decision by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

Of 61 cases that were put to the Commission, 39 have been sent on for appeal – 35 of which were Crown Court convictions and are being sent to the Court of Appeal, while four were magistrate court convictions and are therefore being sent to Crown Court for appeal.

The remaining 22 – which are newer cases – are being considered further by the Commission.

After meeting remotely over two days this week, CCRC chair Helen Pitcher announced the decision and pointed out that ‘this is by some distance the largest number of cases we will ever have referred for appeal at one time.’

Commission members have ‘got through a huge amount of work, particularly since the judgment in December, in order to identify the grounds on which we are referring these cases’, Ms Pitcher continued.

 ‘And we will continue to do whatever we need to in order to make decisions in the remaining cases as quickly as we reasonably can’.

Reacting to the development, CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey said that he, the union and our postmaster members “warmly welcome the decision of the CRCC.

“Postmasters have been “waiting for many years for justice and now it’s looking increasingly likely that their convictions will be quashed,” Andy continued.

“If it wasn’t for the desperate coronavirus crisis situation, the Horizon scandal would be the biggest story across the UK – the sheer scale of this injustice cannot be overestimated.”

Andy reiterated the CWU’s demand for a judge-led full public inquiry into this affair – a demand which, he insists, the CCRC verdict reinforces.

“We are also calling for those responsible to be held to account as, to date, no Post Office Director has been dismissed for their part in this national scandal,” he pointed out.

“There may now be grounds for legal action to be taken against the most senior people in the PO at the time for their part in this scandal that has evidently devastated the lives of some many innocent Postmasters who were just trying to provide a  vital service to their communities.”

 Further information

·      Tragically, one of the 39 Postmasters, Mr Julian Wilson, passed away four years ago before receiving the justice he campaigned for for many years and so deserved.  His widow was in court during the trials last year wherever possible to listen to the evidence and the final judgement. The Wilsons’ story was reported as part of the Daily Mail’s coverage of the trial: click here         

·      Nick Wallis, the independent journalist who has been following this matter closely has published an update on his blog: click here

·      An article was also published in Computer Weekly by Karl Flinders, who has also been instrumental in publicising the plight of these wrongly convicted Postmasters for many years: click here