Last month, the Post Office reaffirmed its support for the majority of convictions made under the Horizon system.

Last month, the Post Office reaffirmed its support for the majority of convictions made under the Horizon system.

The Postal Service acknowledged sending letters to government officials stating that it would continue to pursue legal action against over half of the post office operators involved in the Horizon controversy, as recently as last month.

Even though there has been a significant amount of worry and outrage following what has been deemed as the United Kingdom’s most egregious miscarriage of justice, the correspondence from the Post Office’s top executive, Nick Read, indicated that it will resist any efforts to reverse the convictions in 369 instances.

The Post Office discreetly released a letter after the government announced on Thursday that it would proceed with its legislation to automatically overturn convictions related to the scandal by July.

Read contacted Alex Chalk, the justice secretary, stating that the Post Office would strongly oppose any appeals in 369 cases, just days after the ITV show Mr Bates v the Post Office concluded. The following day, due to public pressure, Rishi Sunak announced a proposal to overturn numerous convictions through a parliamentary act.

The letter from Read indicates that the Post Office would be obligated to oppose any efforts to reverse the convictions. However, according to former Post Office chair Henry Staunton, the letter was actually an attempt to sabotage the government’s plan for widespread exoneration.

The upcoming week, Liam Byrne, a member of the Labour Party and leader of the business committee, will be interviewing Read. Byrne stated, “This is more proof that the Post Office is not functioning properly and requires a legally binding mandate to fulfill its duties.”

On January 9th, Read wrote a letter to Chalk, stating that the government’s choices should be well-informed.

After conducting an external legal review, he stated that the Post Office concluded it would have rejected appeals from 369 out of the 700 post office operators it prosecuted if they had gone to court. This was due to additional evidence, aside from Horizon, that supported the convictions.

According to Read, the Post Office would have to oppose 369 appeals due to a court ruling and other available information.

According to Read, there are 11 more cases being examined and 132 cases where there is not enough evidence to make a decision. Only 30 additional convictions were found to be potentially incorrect.

On Thursday, Kemi Badenoch, the business secretary, and Kevin Hollinrake, the Post Office minister, were both sent a copy of the letter from the Post Office. This comes after Staunton’s statement last weekend disclosing that the letter had been mailed.

Staunton stated that Read was instructed by UK Government Investments (UKGI), the organization responsible for overseeing the government’s ownership of the Post Office, to send this letter.

The UKGI has firmly denied this allegation. A representative stated: “We vehemently reject the allegations made by Mr Staunton, both in terms of the information presented and the implications about UKGI’s involvement. We did not request the letter as Mr Staunton has alleged and were only made aware of it after it was shared with government officials. It is not within UKGI’s jurisdiction to determine government policy on these matters, as that responsibility lies with the appropriate departments.”

In the written correspondence, Read stated: “This situation presents significant difficulties in terms of politics, the judiciary, and communication. This is in response to intense pressure from the public and parliament to expedite or circumvent the usual appeals process.”

We do not make any judgments about your decisions. However, it is important for you to fully comprehend the complex and sensitive nature of the situation at hand, according to you and your colleagues.

Attached to Read’s letter was a legal opinion from the Post Office’s solicitors at Peters & Peters. The firm’s head of business crime, Nick Vamos, wrote that “it is highly likely that the vast majority of people who have not yet appealed were, in fact, guilty as charged and were safely convicted”.

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According to the Post Office’s website, the Peters & Peters note reflects the opinions of its author and the Post Office has no intention of trying to influence the government to reject mass exoneration.

Kevan Jones, the Member of Parliament for the Labour party, has been advocating for this cause since 2009. He expressed surprise at the fact that the Post Office sent out this letter just last month.

He stated, “I am wondering who directed Read and what was the reasoning behind this letter?” The secretary of state claimed that Read acted on his own accord. However, I find this hard to believe since I have been part of the advisory board discussions for the past few weeks.”

During the period of 1999 to 2015, numerous post office operators were charged by the Post Office due to errors in the Horizon IT system, which falsely indicated that money was unaccounted for.

Over 900 individuals have been found guilty in connection to the scandal, with 700 of those convictions being pursued by the Post Office. However, only around 100 have been overturned thus far. This situation has been recognized as one of the largest cases of wrongful convictions in British history.

Next week, Read is scheduled to make an appearance before the House of Commons business select committee on Tuesday.

On Monday, Badenoch informed Members of Parliament: “The only logical explanation is that Nick Read made the decision to compose that letter. I did not request it, the Post Office denies involvement, and UKGI was not involved.”

The Post Office, on the webpage where the letters were published, expressed their full support for the government’s efforts to expedite the exoneration of individuals who have been wrongly convicted and to provide compensation for victims. The purpose of sharing this information is to aid in the government’s decision-making process.

In a statement made by Hollinrake, it was stated that although the legislation may absolve individuals who have committed a crime, it is a necessary sacrifice in order to ensure the exoneration of many innocent people.