Horizon scandal: Two sub-postmasters vindicated as convictions quashed
Two sub-postmasters who were convicted due to a faulty computer system have been vindicated.
Susan Sinclair and the late William Quarm were cleared at the Appeal Court of the High Court of Justiciary of any wrongdoing by the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Dorrian, sitting with Lord Matthews and Lord Armstrong.
They had both been convicted of embezzlement but their cases had been referred to the court by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The SCCRC believes a number of cases should be examined by appeal judges.
More than 700 sub-postmasters in the UK were falsely prosecuted between 2000 and 2014 based on information from the Post Office’s faulty computer system, Horizon. A glitch meant that thousands were accused of taking money from their tills. Some of them were driven to suicide.
Lady Dorrian said: “It seems that some progress has been made in these cases. The court has read the material in the cases of Sinclair and Quarm and subject to anything that parties might say we are satisfied that the appeals in these cases should succeed.”
Susan Sinclair had been convicted of one charge of embezzlement; Judith Smith pled guilty to a charge of uttering as genuine and William Quram, Aleid Kloosterhuis, Colin Smith and Robert Thomson each pled guilty to embezzlement.
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC told the judges that the appeal of Mr Kloosterhuis was “under review” and that the Crown would take a position on the case later in the year.
In addition to the six referrals made on 8 November 2022, a subsequent seven cases are currently under active review.
Up to £1 billion of taxpayers’ money has been set aside to settle compensation claims and legal fees in the Horizon scandal.