Calderdale man among seven more former subpostmasters who have had Horizon scandal convictions overturned

Seven more former subpostmasters who were wrongly convicted as a result of the Post Office Horizon scandal have been cleared by the Court of Appeal.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 10:18 am
Gregory Harding and wife Gill outside the Royal Courts of Justice

The number of former subpostmasters to have their convictions relating to the Post Office Horizon scandal today reached 72 following further acquittals at the Court of Appeal in London.

Hudgell Solicitors were in court to see a further five clients have their longs-standing convictions quashed at The Royal Courts of Justice.

Three senior judges overturned the convictions of seven people who were convicted based on evidence from the faulty IT system used by the Post Office from 2000.

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Lord Justice Holroyde, sitting with Mr Justice Picken and Mrs Justice Farbey, quashed the convictions of Pauline Stonehouse, Angela Sefton, Janine Powell, Anne Nield, Jamie Dixon Gregory Harding, Marissa Finn and Gregory Harding.

The former Post Office workers had been accused of offences including theft and false accounting related to shortfalls of tens of thousands of pounds.

Their appeals were unopposed by the Post Office, which accepted that evidence about the reliability of the Fujitsu-developed system was “essential” to their convictions.

Mr Harding who ran the Hipperholme Post Office was handed a suspended 20 weeks prison sentence and 200 hours community service when convicted at Bradford Crown Court. He had faced charges of stealing more than £20,000 in 2010. He has now been exonerated.

The 61-year-old said “words can’t describe” how he felt after being cleared by the Court of Appeal.

“I feel a lot better now,” he said, adding he was “a lot happier”.

Lord Justice Holroyde said: “We are satisfied that the decisions not to oppose the appeals in these seven cases are realistic and appropriate.”

The legal team, led by Neil Hudgell and Tim Moloney QC of Doughty Street Chambers, have now supported 58 people to clear their names.

“The Court of Appeal has cleared the names of yet more people who each have personal stories of devastating loss, hurt, worry and tragedy relating to them being wrongfully and

unfairly prosecuted for crimes they didn’t commit. Those convictions have hung over each of them for many years,” said Mr Hudgell.

“These cases today are every bit as significant and as important as the first successful appeals against conviction back in April. The rising number of acquittals make these cases no less important or significant.

"Indeed, each new acquittal adds extra importance to the continued push for answers and accountability from the Post Office, and they are further, real life evidence of the immense harm caused to so many.

“We will continue to support our clients in terms of pursuing civil claims to try and compensate them for some of their losses, although of course they can never be put back in the position

where they were before they became victims a scandal which turned so many lives upside down.

“We also continue to work towards representing our clients who are core participants of the Public Inquiry next year. It is vital they play a full role in ensuring the inquiry asks the key

questions and delivers complete transparency and accountability.”