100th Horizon scandal conviction overturned by appeal court

Three former subpostmasters have had their decade-old convictions quashed at the Court of Appeal, taking the total number of quashed convictions due to the Horizon scandal to 100.

On Thursday, Allen Reynolds, Nilufar Ali and Davinder Bangay were cleared of their convictions for theft or fraud, each dating back to between 2008 and 2011, court staff said.

Each of the former Post Office workers was ordered to carry out at least 100 hours of unpaid work in their sentencings, with two of the former subpostmasters ordered to pay back more than £10,000 each after then-unexplained shortfalls in their accounts.

According to the Post Office, the three appeals were lodged within the past two weeks and bring the total number of convictions successfully overturned to 100, including eight cases prosecuted by other bodies than the company.

More than 700 Post Office branch managers around the UK were prosecuted between 1999 and 2015 after faulty Horizon accounting software made it look as though money was missing from their shops.

Hundreds of subpostmasters and subpostmistresses are still awaiting compensation despite the Government announcing that those who have had convictions quashed are eligible for £600,000 payouts.

The saga prompted an outcry across the country after it was dramatised in the ITV series Mr Bates vs The Post Office in early January.

Solicitor Neil Hudgell, representing the three people cleared on Thursday, said: “We have three more badly wronged people today who have left court without a stain on their character.

“They are all heavily traumatised and private people, who are grateful for the outcry of public support, but who would like to reflect on matters in their own way, away from the glare of publicity.”

A Post Office spokesperson said: “We are deeply sorry for past wrongs. We’re doing our utmost to ensure any injustices are put right as swiftly as possible and full, fair compensation paid.

“We continue with extensive work to support and progress the overturning of wrongful convictions and strongly encourage people who have not yet come forward to appeal to consider doing so.”