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Post Office Offences Bill to be extended

30 April 2024

The Government has tabled amendments to expand the territorial extent of the Post Office Offences Bill. Convictions resulting from the Post Office Horizon scandal in Northern Ireland will now be within scope.

The Government has proposed amendments. These widen the Post Office Offences Bill’s reach. Now, it includes convictions from the Post Office Horizon scandal in Northern Ireland.

This comprehensive pardon will quash scandal-related convictions automatically. It includes 26 in Northern Ireland. This action clears many individuals’ names, whose lives the scandal ruined.

Like in England and Wales, Northern Ireland convictions must satisfy criteria before quashing. These include:

  • Prosecutions initiated by the state prosecutor or police.
  • Offences occurred between 1996 and 2018, related to Post Office business.
  • Offences were theft, fraud, and false accounting.
  • Offences were against sub-postmasters, their staff, officers, family members, or direct Post Office employees. They worked in a Post Office using the Horizon system software.

Postal Affairs Minister Kevin Hollinrake said:

” We always carefully consider the territorial extent of each piece of legislation and are rigorous in our commitment to devolution. However, it has become apparent that the Northern Ireland Executive does not have the ability to rapidly address the 26 convictions known to be within its purview.

It has become clear that postmasters in Northern Ireland could have their convictions quashed significantly later than those who were convicted in England and Wales, which would be unacceptable.

This follows the decision to introduce landmark legislation – which is making its way through parliament – to quash the convictions of hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters wrongly convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal. This will speed up the financial redress process – where we are offering a £600,000 fixed sum which can be administered quickly for those who accept it.”

Source: Other Tue, 30 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0100

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