Jardine urges Government action on Horizon

10 Jan 2024
Christine Jardine standing in front of the Forth Rail Bridge

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine has called on the Government to speed up delivery of compensation to victims of the Post Office Horizon scandal.    

There are a number of routes to compensation available to affected sub-postmasters, with £163,000 for those whose fraud convictions have been overturned, advice available for those seeking to appeal, and support for those who were not convicted.      

Many victims in England and Wales were prosecuted privately by the Post Office, with Ms Jardine today (Wednesday 10th January) calling on the UK Government to remove the Post Office's "carte-blanche" ability to bring such cases. As the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is the only body able to prosecute in Scotland, fewer Scottish sub-postmasters were unfairly convicted of fraud with the exact number of Scottish victims still currently unknown.  

Just two convictions were overturned last year, with a further four appeals currently under consideration. Further cases are due to be heard by courts this week.        

Christine is concerned that these low numbers may lead to some sub-postmasters - including those who were not convicted - missing out. She is urging anyone in Scotland who believes they were impacted to come forward, so the Government can speed up the delivery of compensation they are entitled to.     

She said, “The Horizon scandal is an appalling miscarriage of justice, and it is shocking that we still do not know how many people in Scotland fell victim to these errors.  

“Although the Post Office could not prosecute in Scotland, this did not prevent postmasters having their careers thrown into jeopardy and their lives deeply affected by the major problems caused by Horizon.    

“We know that, sadly, some sub-postmasters who were victims of the error passed away before they got compensation, and delays have caused more stress for victims. Whilst we also need answers from the Crown Office about when it first knew about the issue, the first priority must be ensuring Government gets compensation to victims more quickly. 

“We have seen the impact that the actions of the Post Office have had on innocent postmasters laid bare. I do not believe that this private company should have carte-blanche to bring such prosecutions, and it is time for the Government to act and prevent this happening again, by stripping the Post Office of this ability. 

“As we do not know exactly how many people in Scotland were affected, I would also urge anyone who was affected or believes they may have been to come forward, so the Government can provide the compensation that everyone impacted by this dreadful scandal deserves."