Assisting people with convictions

We have contacted the majority of people with relevant convictions in cases prosecuted by Post Office between 1999 and 2015, although there remain a very small number of people that we are still unable to trace despite continuing strenuous efforts to do so.

Many people have already successfully appealed their convictions, or are taking forward appeals – you can see the detail here. We urge anybody who believes they may have been affected and who has not been contacted to let us know and we will do our utmost to assist. We can be contacted at disclosure@postoffice.co.uk.

We understand that there may be people who would prefer to leave the past behind them, that revisiting a painful part of their life is incredibly difficult and they may not want to respond to Post Office. But no unsafe conviction should be missed. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body that investigates potential miscarriages of justice, therefore agreed to our proposal that they will contact people who have not yet responded to Post Office.  More details about this can be found on the CCRC website here.

Appeals process for historical criminal convictions in Post Office Horizon cases

We understand that people may find it very painful to be reminded of the past when considering an appeal. There may be a lot of questions or concerns, and the legal process may seem daunting. We want to assure anyone that has been affected that support and help is available.

If you have previously tried to appeal and failed, or pleaded guilty in a Magistrates’ Court, or if the person who was convicted has died and a close relative wishes to appeal on their behalf, you can apply to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). The CCRC is an independent body and their service is free. They are familiar with historical Post Office cases, conduct individual investigations and reviews and decide whether cases should be referred to the appeal Courts. Cases referred by the CCRC must be heard by the appeal Courts who then determine the safety of convictions. Information about the CCRC and application forms can be found on their website.

People who have not previously appealed and were convicted in a Crown Court or convicted in a Magistrates’ Court after pleading not guilty, can appeal directly to the appropriate Appeal Court. This may mean seeking permission in the first instance. To date, Post Office cases have been heard by Southwark Crown Court if the convictions were in Magistrates Courts. For convictions in Crown Courts, Post Office cases have been heard by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

If you have been contacted by Post Office about your conviction and you get in touch with us, we will send you further information. This will include how you can obtain help and legal advice, including the names of law firms who are already dealing with Post Office cases. You can request disclosure from Post Office which means we will provide any information we hold that may undermine the safety of your conviction. By contacting Post Office and obtaining information, you are not committing to making any decision about whether or not you may wish to appeal. That decision is entirely up to you. We respect your privacy and information is not disclosed to anyone else except you or your legal representative if you provide permission for this.

 

People whose Horizon-related convictions are overturned can apply for interim payments of up to £100,000, in advance of full and final compensation.  You can read more details here.