Five more former subpostmasters today had longstanding convictions overturned as cases relating to wrongful Post Office prosecutions continue to be brought before the courts.
Almost three years after the first cases were quashed in December 2020, the number of convictions overturned today reached 91.
The prosecutions of Therese Gooding, Andrew Gilbertson, Elaine Hood and Amer Hussain were all referred for appeal to Southwark Crown Court by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), following representation by their legal team at Hudgell Solicitors.
Mrs Gooding had been sentenced to 200 hours community punishment at Liverpool Crown Court in 2001, relating to charges of theft and false accounting which were brought against her.
Mr Gilbertson had been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Manchester Crown Court in 2002, in relation to an alleged theft of £24,870.71 from his branch accounts.
Mrs Hood was sentenced to 120 hours of community service and ordered to pay £950 towards prosecution costs at Derby Crown Court in 2003, relating to five charges of theft brought against her by the Post Office.
Mr Hussain was handed a community punishment order with conditions that he undertake 240 hours of unpaid work and abide by a curfew for a period of six months when sentenced for theft in 2005. He was also ordered to pay £6,746.85 in compensation and to pay £200 towards prosecution costs.
Also having his conviction quashed today was Ian Davies. He was handed a £500 fine and ordered to pay £1,171 in prosecution costs in relation to three charges of false accounting in 2006, having already paid back an alleged shortfall in accounts.
Only a ‘trickle of cases’ now reaching courts
Lawyer Neil Hudgell, who has now helped 74 people to clear their names, says he hopes that the latest successful appeals, and the recent Government offer of a minimum £600,000 compensation for those to have convictions quashed in court, will encourage people to come forward.
“We’re pleased to see another five cases quashed by the courts today. The process continues, but one of the real challenges remains the low number of people who have come forward relative to the number of convictions,” he said.
“We are still talking below 150 from over 700 convictions. We still get a trickle of enquiries, but it is a trickle. I think the mention of the possibility of over half a million pounds in compensation alongside the quashing of their convictions, assuming the conviction is based on Horizon, has to serve as some added incentive.
“I don’t think it will lead to a stampede, as money has never been the main driver in this. It has all been about redemption and accountability, but still this latest development may hopefully lead to some more people feeling able to come forward.”
The Post Office Horizon Scandal Podcast Series
Hudgell Solicitors’ Post Office Horizon Scandal Podcast series, with Neil Hudgell, is available to listen to now on Spotify. The episodes are available as follows.
- Episode 1 – ‘It was so bad it was unbelievable’
- Episode 2 – The impact on lives
- Episode 3 – Pursuing justice
- Episode 4 – The £600,000 compensation offer
- Episode 5 – The fight for justice continues
Hudgell Solicitors are the legal firm at the forefront of the continuing fight for justice for former Sub-postmasters who were victims of what is now recognised to have been the biggest miscarriage of justice in UK legal history.