SCCRC refers subpostmasters’ convictions to High Court of Justiciary
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has referred the cases of former subpostmasters (SPMs) to the High Court of Justiciary.
The convictions of Aleid Kloosterhuis, Anne Quarm on behalf of William Quarm (deceased), Susan Sinclair, Colin Smith, Judith Smith and Robert Thomson have been referred to the court for determination.
The five former Post Office subpostmasters (SPMs) and Mrs Quarm are now entitled to appeal against the convictions for crimes of dishonesty arising from their role and Mr Quarm’s role as an SPM at Post Office Ltd (POL).
Aleid Kloosterhuis pled guilty in 2012, at Campbeltown Sheriff Court, to one charge of embezzlement. The court sentenced her to 12 months’ imprisonment.
William Quarm pled guilty in 2010, at Lochmaddy Sheriff Court, to one charge of embezzlement. The court imposed a community service order requiring 150 hours of unpaid work.
Susan Sinclair was convicted in 2004, after a trial at Peterhead Sheriff Court, of one charge of embezzlement. The court sentenced her to 180 hours’ community service.
Colin Smith pled guilty in 2013, at Dunfermline Sheriff Court, to one charge of embezzlement. The court imposed a community payback order requiring 180 hours of unpaid work.
Judith Smith pled guilty in 2009, at Selkirk Sheriff Court, to one charge of fraud. The court admonished her.
Robert Thomson pled guilty in 2006, at Alloa Sheriff Court, to one charge of embezzlement. The court imposed 180 hours of community service and a compensation order of £5,000.
The commission is not, by law, entitled to publish its statements of reasons.
Chairman of the commission, Bill Matthews, said: “The commission plays an integral part in the criminal justice system in Scotland, and is committed to addressing potential miscarriages of justice. Our function is to examine the grounds of review and to decide whether any of them meet our statutory test for a miscarriage.
“The cases we have referred today to the High Court are exceptional in the commission’s caseload as each one is founded upon the operation of the Post Office’s computer system, Horizon, and the conduct of Post Office Ltd.
“We have issued detailed statements of reasons which address all of the relevant grounds. It is for the High Court to decide whether to quash the convictions of the individuals concerned.”
Michael Walker, the commission’s chief executive, said: “These cases posed significant challenges for the commission. Similar cases have been litigated in England and Wales, and lengthy decisions and voluminous papers exist in relation to those court actions. We were required to consider that information and to obtain materials relevant to the six cases that we are referring.
“I thank our investigating team for their expertise and thoroughness.
“Our role in these six cases now ends – it is for the appeal court to decide whether any miscarriages of justice occurred.”
This news release should not be treated as forming part of the commission’s decisions to refer these six cases to the High Court.