Five more former sub-postmasters have had convictions set aside after their cases were sent back to court by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).
The convictions of Andrew Gilbertson, Ian Davies, Therese Gooding and Amer Hussein were set aside ( on 27 September 2023) at Southwark Crown Court. One of the five cases has asked to remain anonymous.
All five former sub-postmasters had argued that their convictions were unsafe because their cases featured evidence from the now discredited Horizon computer system.
CCRC Chairman Helen Pitcher OBE said: “The CCRC has remained at the forefront of Post Office Horizon cases and continues to raise awareness of the options open to convicted sub-postmasters and counter staff.
“Anybody who believes a conviction was due to problems with the Horizon computer system can consider challenging their conviction and these latest cases referred by us to the appeal courts confirm this.
“Our service is free and there is no time limit to applying to us. People can also apply on behalf of somebody else, including people who have passed away.”
The CCRC has so far sent 68 Post Office / Horizon cases to the appellate courts and is urging any convicted former Post Office worker who believes their conviction might be unsafe to get in touch.
The convictions that were set aside at Southwark Crown on 27 September are:
- Ian Davies, who pleaded guilty at Swansea Magistrates’ Court in October 2006 to charges of false accounting and was fined £500.
- Andrew Gilbertson, who pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates’ Court in March 2002 to the theft of £24,870. Mr Gilbertson was later given a six-month prison sentence at Manchester Crown Court which was suspended for two years.
- Therese Gooding, who pleaded guilty at Wirral Magistrates’ Court in March 2001 to charges of theft and false accounting. She was later sentenced to 200 hours’ community punishment at Liverpool Crown Court.
- Amer Hussain who pleaded guilty at Bristol Magistrates Court in August 2005 to the theft to £3,367. He was later sentenced to a Community Punishment and Curfew Order and was ordered to pay compensation of £6,746.85.
- A former Post Office employee has requested anonymity.
All five had pleaded guilty at a Magistrates’ Court and so were previously unable to appeal their convictions.
The CCRC had concluded that there was a real possibility that the Crown Court would conclude that convictions depended on flawed Horizon computer data and would therefore allow the appeals.
While the number of Post Office cases sent back to the courts by the CCRC already makes it the most widespread miscarriage of justice the organisation has ever reviewed, there are thought to be many more unchallenged potentially unjust convictions.
Many former Post Office workers will be able to appeal directly to the courts, but those who have already been unsuccessful on appeal or who have pleaded guilty in a Magistrates’ Court are encouraged to apply to the CCRC to review their case.
A review by the CCRC can lead to a conviction or sentence being referred to the courts for review and being overturned. A review can only take place with the consent of the person involved.
In addition to needing individual consent to review a case, cases involving Post Office staff must be reviewed individually to determine whether the Horizon data was instrumental to the conviction. More information on this point can be found in this blog.
Anybody who thinks that their conviction might be affected by the issues with the Horizon system can contact the CCRC directly on 0121 233 1473 or find out more at www.ccrc.gov.uk/postofficecases/.
Notes to Editors
This press release was issued by the Communications Team, Criminal Cases Review Commission. They can be contacted by phone on: 0121 232 0900 or by email: email@example.com.
Notes to Editors
1. The CCRC is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.
2. There are currently 11 Commissioners who bring to the CCRC considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.
3. The CCRC usually receives around 1,400 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Since starting work in 1997, the CCRC has referred around 3% of applications to the appeal courts.
4. The CCRC considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal. Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.
5. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.
6. More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk. The CCRC can be found on Twitter @ccrcupdate and Instagram the_ccrc