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Justice in UK Post Office scandal comes too late

A Post Office branch in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, on Wednesday Jan 19, 2023.

A Post Office branch in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, on Wednesday Jan 19, 2023.

(James Hill/EYEPRESS)

Between 1999 and 2015, 3,500 postal workers in the UK were accused of theft, fraud, and false accounting. Forced to repay the money, they fell into bankruptcy and financial ruin. For many, the convictions resulted in prison sentences, addiction, and even suicide.

They were all innocent.

In reality, the Post Office was using financial software that had a habit of misreporting substantial sums of money. Although the truth was discovered in 2010, the Post Office continued to relentlessly pursue and prosecute postal workers until 2019, when a group of 500 of them won their case in the High Court. To date, only 93 of the estimated 700 wrongful convictions have been overturned.

It took until Wednesday for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to offer a blanket acquittal to the wrongly accused – one that will take effect by the end of the year. Why now? Sunak was likely responding to a new TV drama about the scandal, which is spurring public outrage at the PM, who gave the Japanese company behind the faulty software billions of pounds of contracts after they were known to be responsible for the accounting errors.

Brits didn’t need another reason to be mad at Sunak. His Conservative Party is already polling terribly because of a poor economy and nationwide feeling of general dysfunction.

According to Eurasia Group’s Mujtaba Rahman, “the narrow path to victory doesn’t exist anymore for Sunak.” Even if he manages to delay the election until November, Rahman expects the Labour Party to win the majority.


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