More than 550 sub-postmasters branded crooks by means of their very own bosses became the tables the day before today by means of taking the Post Office to courtroom.
In a landmark magnificence motion, they instructed the High Court in London their lives were ruined by means of false accusations of robbery.
Some had tried suicide whilst others had died combating for justice in a dispute spanning extra than a decade, the courtroom heard.
More than 550 sub-postmasters branded crooks by means of their very own bosses became the tables by means of taking the Post Office to courtroom (pictured). From left, Jasvinder Barang, Karen Wilson, Scott Darlington, Jo Hamilton, Sue Knight, Nigel Night and Tracey Merritt
One widow introduced some of her past due husband’s ashes in a small field so he may in the end ‘have his day in court’.
Running publish administrative center branches in village shops, the sub-postmasters and mistresses had been the backbones of their communities till the Post Office prosecuted them as thieves.
Many had been jailed, ended up bankrupt and had their excellent reputations shredded over 1000’s of kilos supposedly ‘missing’ from their department accounts.
But it later emerged that system defects in new pc terminals put in of their stores can have been blamed for the shortfalls.
Ex-postie became 60 in jail
One of the claimants within the High Court case is Noel Thomas, who spent his 60th birthday in the back of bars. He was once sentenced to 9 months after pleading to blame to false accounting over £50,00zero ‘missing’ from his tiny publish administrative center in Anglesey.
The ex-postman’s issues started when the Horizon pc machine stored reporting cash as missing after 2000.
Noel Thomas (pictured) was once sentenced to 9 months after pleading to blame to false accounting over £50,00zero ‘missing’ from his tiny publish administrative center in Anglesey
Mr Thomas, now 71, instructed a BBC documentary: ‘They said I was the only person who had a problem. They don’t know the place the cash is and I don’t. I didn’t scouse borrow it.’
He was once charged with robbery and false accounting however the former was once dropped in go back for him admitting the latter.
The Post Office later admitted in paperwork observed by means of Panorama that whilst it might now not rule out robbery, the missing cash was once ‘probably caused by operational errors’.
The Post Office insists there’s not anything considerably incorrect with its computer systems and has up to now spent £5million of taxpayers’ cash on legal professionals to struggle off the claims of its former sub-postmasters.
They got here from in every single place the rustic the day before today for the primary courtroom listening to of their lengthy quest for justice. The Post Office faces a repayment invoice of as much as £1billion if it loses.
Jo Hamilton, 61, a former postmistress from Hampshire who now has a prison file, stated outdoor courtroom: ‘We have come right here as of late to hunt justice. It isn’t concerning the cash, it’s about clearing our excellent names.
One widow, Karen Wilson (pictured) introduced some of her past due husband’s ashes in a small field so he may in the end ‘have his day in court’
‘None of these people are thieves. They were hard-working pillars of the community who never even had a parking ticket until this wretched computer system came along.’
Karen Wilson, 64, whose postmaster husband Julian died from most cancers two years in the past after combating for justice for a decade, stated: ‘I have some of his ashes with me because I promised him I would never give up fighting to clear his name.’
About a dozen of the 557 claimants attended courtroom the day before today. Their QC, Patrick Green, instructed Mr Justice Fraser that many claimants were unfairly jailed for offences together with false accounting, fraud and robbery, when the true wrongdoer was once the malfunctioning Horizon pc machine that information over the counter transactions in publish workplaces.
‘The sub-postmasters accuse the Post Office of not bothering to investigate glitches in the IT system, while relentlessly pursuing them through the courts for money which the computers claimed was missing,’ he added. The case will final months and is being break up into two or 3 trials. The first will decide the contractual courting between the claimants and the Post Office.
The Post Office denies the allegations and argues the load of evidence is at the claimants to exhibit that the Horizon pc was once accountable.
It stated they had been merely looking to ‘avoid their responsibility’ for the losses and described the case as ‘an ambitious attempt to rewrite the contract’ between it and the sub-postmasters.
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