Post Office still rejects subpostmaster’s overturned conviction, inquiry told

The Post Office is refusing to accept the overturned conviction of a former subpostmaster three years after they were cleared, the Horizon Inquiry has heard.

According to Edward Henry KC, who has been representing Teju Adedayo throughout proceedings, the organisation provided a written submission to the inquiry which said it “does not accept” that the now-quashed conviction of Ms Adedayo from 2005 was “unsafe”.

Ms Adedayo had falsely confessed to being responsible for the shortfalls at her post office in Kent to avoid the risk of ending up in prison. She was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing in 2021.

A quote from Post Office’s submission was read out during the questioning of the organisation’s former chair, Tim Parker, on Wednesday.

Mr Henry asked Mr Parker his view on the Post Office “effectively branding (Ms Adedayo) a criminal despite her conviction having been quashed”.

Quoting the submission, he said: “The inquiry will be aware that this (Ms Adedayo’s case) is the sole case study where the Post Office does not accept that the conviction was unsafe”.

Mr Henry described it as a “victimisation” of his client and asked Mr Parker if he rejected it, to which he responded: “Unless I have got all the facts at my disposal … I don’t think you can expect me to deliver a black and white response on this.”

He added: “I’m no longer obviously at the Post Office which precludes me a little bit from knowing what all the background is.”

Post Office Horizon IT scandal
Tim Parker, former chair of Post Office Ltd, gives evidence to the inquiry at Aldwych House in London (Screengrab/PA)

Mr Parker was appointed chair of Post Office Ltd in October 2015 and held the position until he resigned on September 30 2022.

He joined the organisation in the midst of an ongoing dispute between the company and numerous subpostmasters regarding its Horizon computer system.

More than 700 subpostmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office and handed criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015 as Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon IT system made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

Speaking at the inquiry on Wednesday, Mr Parker said: “Today I was toying with making an opening statement. Stand up, you say, ‘I’m deeply, deeply sorry’ as many people have done, and there ensued a discussion with people.

“Should I do this? Because I would like to say sorry. And the response I got was that ‘well you could do this but actually people have kind of got a bit tired of that and it all rings a bit hollow and you’re probably just going to annoy people more than give them any sense of your real desire to say sorry’.”

The Post Office has been contacted for comment.