Unravelling the The Post Office Scandal
You’ve probably caught wind of the ITV 4 part series “Mr. Bates vs the Post office,” as talk to this miscarriage of justice is everywhere right now. It’s been a real eye-opener for me. This scandal hits close to home, considering the deep connection I have with the postal service through my Nan, who held the title of the longest-serving postwoman in our hometown.
I remember waiting for her to finish her shift at our local post office branch. She played a significant role in our lives, especially as my Mother worked full time, and those moments with her are etched into my fondest memories. This series has not only resonated with me on a personal level but has also shed light on the profound impact of the events on individuals and their communities.
Hundreds of former sub postmasters and subpostmistresses were wrongly accused of stealing because of accounting mess-ups, but turns out, it was all down to the horizon IT system, designed by the tech giant Fujitsu.
Bates v Post Office – Meet Mr Bates
Mr. Alan Bates is a former sub postmaster who played a pivotal role in uncovering the Post Office Scandal, one of the most extensive miscarriages of justice in British history. He was among the first to challenge the Post Office after being wrongly accused of accounting discrepancies, which were actually due to faults in the Horizon IT system supplied by Fujitsu.
Alan Bates ran a post office in Craig-y-Don, a part of Llandudno in North Wales, when he started noticing unexplained shortfalls in his accounts. Like many other sub postmasters, he faced serious accusations and suffered personal and financial hardships as a result. In 2004, he founded the Justice for Sub postmasters Alliance (JFSA), an organization aimed at supporting others in similar situations and to campaign for justice.
Bates and the JFSA tirelessly campaigned to bring the truth to light, resulting in a group litigation order against the Post Office. This culminated in a landmark High Court ruling in 2019 that found significant flaws in the Horizon computer system and vindicated many of the accused sub postmasters.
A Miscarriage of Justice in UK
These former post office workers were caused a great deal of pain because of those false accusations. They were pillars of their communities, but suddenly found themselves labelled as thieves. The accusations were all about the money not adding up, but the huge shortfalls in cash were caused by faults in the horizon system.
For years, they had to carry the weight of being falsely accused, wrecking their reputations and personal lives. The toll on them and their families was huge and in some tragic cases too much to bare. A Special report was published by the Magazine Private Eye which you can read here – PRIVATE EYE SPECIAL REPORT
Money Troubles at the Post Office
The accusations came from money that didn’t match up in the sub postmasters’ and sub postmistresses’ records. This raised a bunch of red flags and got the post office investigator to start poking around. The internal inquiry concluded that post office staff were messing with the cash, which led to criminal charges.
But here’s the thing: just because the money didn’t add up doesn’t mean someone was stealing. There could be all sorts of reasons for those mix-ups, like computer errors, people making mistakes, or even shady stuff happening from outside the post office.
Clearing Their Names
After years of fighting tooth and nail, it finally came out that Horizon Software was behind all those money mix-ups and false accusations. That meant the convictions were tossed out, giving a bit of relief to those who had been wrongly accused. But even though they got cleared, the damage had been done, and getting their lives back on track wasn’t easy.
Heartache and Hardship
The fallout from those false accusations hit these folks hard. Jobs lost, money troubles piling up, and the toll on their mental and emotional well-being was no joke. Families felt it too; they had to watch their loved ones go through all this public mess and deal with the fallout at home too. Sadly it is now known that 4 victims of the post office scandal took their own lives, as a direct result of the stress caused by this miscarriage of justice.
Even though the convictions were overturned, it didn’t magically fix everything. These folks are still facing a mountain of challenges in getting their lives back on track.
Convicted Post Office Workers are Seeking Justice
The settlement in 2019 was a big deal—it made the post office directors pay up a hefty sum for all the chaos they caused. But now they’re trying to back out of the compensation scheme, claiming they weren’t at fault. The post office’s approach is not sitting right with the public or the victims.
The government has disclosed that an estimated 138 million pounds has been distributed to more than 2,700 individuals through three different Post Office compensation initiatives. This financial reparation is part of the effort to address the grievances of those affected by the issues surrounding the Post Office’s accounting system.
In April 2021, 39 former sub postmasters had their convictions quashed at the Court of Appeal in a case that built on the 2019 High Court judgements.
Yet while these Post Office workers celebrate, there remains a significant number of postmasters who are still waiting for their own compensation. They have endured financial and reputational damage due to the scandal, and many are anxious to receive the funds they are owed to help rebuild their lives.
Alongside the need for financial compensation, there’s also the matter of clearing their names. Some postmasters still carry the weight of wrongful criminal convictions on their records, and they are seeking to have these convictions overturned. The process can be lengthy and complex, but it is a critical step in restoring justice and trust in the system. It’s clear that, while progress has been made, there’s still a long road ahead for complete resolution and for all affected postmasters to receive the justice and compensation they are due.
The victims are still fighting for justice and answers. They’ve been through a lot because of those false accusations, and they deserve to have their stories heard. And you know what? It’s not just about getting things sorted for them; it’s about making sure this kind of mess never happens again.
Customers Call for a Boycott
If customers choose to boycott the Royal Mail in solidarity with Mr. Bates and the innocent victims of the The Post Office Scandal, it’s important to note that the primary impact will be felt by hardworking postal workers. These workers, who are dedicated to their jobs and provide essential services to the community, may experience disruptions in their work and potential financial repercussions due to a decrease in mail volume. While the intention behind the boycott is to show support for those affected by the scandal, it’s crucial to consider the unintended consequences on the livelihoods of these frontline workers.
Before you jump on the boycott bandwagon, think about some other ways to make your voice heard. How about shooting a quick email to your MP, signing a few online petitions, or getting the word out through your social media circles? It’s all about shining a light on the issue and really pushing for what’s right.
Have your Say!
Join the conversation! Drop your thoughts in the comments below—every opinion counts, and we can’t wait to hear from you.