Richard's North West Durham constituent, Betty, will finally get justice after decades of fighting as the Chancellor of the exchequer steps in to ensure that victims of the Post Office Horizon Scandal are properly compensated for their losses.
Betty, (pictured above) who is now living in Medomsley, has fought for decades against the Post office. Richard met with her at his summer surgery last year and he has been following closely and pressing for action on her behalf ever since. Today, it was announced that the Government will ensure that all the postmasters will get the compensation they deserve for the injustice they incurred.
So what happened?
In 1999 a new IT system was introduced by The Post Office - but it contained fundamental faults. Its internal workings meant that thousands of sub-postmasters were wrongly accused of stealing from The Post Office. This included Betty, born and bred in Co. Durham, and her late husband.
They lost their businesses, and many lost their homes. The stress and financial impact drove many to family breakdown, and many died early due to the stress brought on by the situation, hundreds were wrongly imprisoned and many even killed themselves.
It turned out that The Post Office knew much earlier than they said that this was not the subpostmaster’s fault and this was finally exposed in court. Still, The Post Office fought them every step of the way.
But because the original 555 postmasters who brought the original case were only able to do so on a “no win no fee basis” - and the legal fees cost tens of millions of pounds - the original 555 didn’t get fully compensated for the horrific losses they had endured. For some, this runs to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It has turned into one of the biggest miscarriages of justice cases ever with hundreds wrongly convicted and those who at the end who fought and won, not getting full compensation. The sole shareholder of The Post Office is the U.K. Government.
You can watch the Panorama investigation that helped and explains the case in full via the links here: https://www.postofficetrial.com/.../bbc1-panorama-scandal....
Today, it has been announced that the Government will step in to ensure that those victims of the scandal will receive the compensation they deserve: https://www.gov.uk/.../victims-of-post-office-horizon....
Richard Holden MP comments:
"For people like my constituent Betty; it means this horrific saga will finally come to an end. Sadly for many; they will have already died in the intervening two decades and I’ll be fighting to ensure that their estates benefit and historic convictions get overturned.
"The Northern Echo report the story here: http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/.../20012485.county.../.
“The Horizon scandal was utterly horrific. So many honest, decent, hard-working small business people were affected, many of whom have died while waiting for justice.
“I am delighted that the Chancellor has stepped in to ensure that those postmasters who led the fight will finally get the compensation they rightly deserve after the disgusting way the Post Office fought these decent people every step of the way.”
"I am glad that alongside many other MPs who have been fighting for their constituents, we are finally seeing justice. I am just sad that it took so long for Betty and her family."