Thursday 26 March 2020

CCRC refer 39 Post Office cases to the Court of Appeal

Jo Hamilton (l) and Seema Misra (r) - successful 
The Criminal Cases Review Commission is to refer the convictions of 39 Post Office applicants to the court of appeal.

After two days of deliberations, commissioners decided to refer the convictions on the basis that each prosecution could have amounted to an abuse of process.

One applicant whose referral was successful emailed me this morning to say:

"I shaking I’m so bloody happy right now. If that committee was in front of me now I’d kiss them all. I’m shaking, crying my stomach is turning like I’m on a rollercoaster."

Another said to me: "I’m over the moon. I’ve waited my whole adult life for this."

The Subpostmasters' convictions were variously for theft, fraud and false accounting and the CCRC says the abuse of process argument is based on issues with the Post Office’s Horizon computer system.

The CCRC can only refer a case for appeal if it considers that there is new evidence or new argument that raises a real possibility that the appeal court will quash a conviction. It says the information which came to light over the course of the epic civil litigation (which this blog was set up to report) was instrumental in providing that new argument and evidence.

Of the remaining 22 cases, the CCRC says it has further work to do before it will be in a position to announce decisions as to whether or not it can refer them. Although the CCRC has been sitting on many of the 61 cases for nearly five years, around 20 people have applied since the Horizon Issues judgment in December and it may be that many of those cases are still being investigated.

Helen Pitcher, Chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, said:
“This is by some distance the largest number of cases we will ever have referred for appeal at one time. Our team has got through a huge amount of work, particularly since the judgment in December,  in order to identify the grounds on which we are referring these cases... we will continue to do whatever we need to in order to make decisions in the remaining cases as quickly as we reasonably can.”
The referrals will be formally made when the appropriate papers are sent to the relevant appeal courts (36 cases will be referred to the Court of Appeal as convictions obtained in the Crown Court, and three will be referred to the Crown Court as magistrates’ court convictions). Covid-19 restrictions may mean that that process may now take a some time to complete.

Lucy Allan MP said "This is fantastic news... the Post Office had extraordinarily claimed ‘few if any,’ would be referred. Getting closer to justice thanks to so many brilliant campaigners."

The people being referred are:

Surname, Forename - Offence(s) - Date of Conviction - Court of Conviction

Ashraf, Kamran - Theft - 28/1/04 - South Western Mags’ Court
Barang, Jasvinder - Fraud 3/8/12 - Luton Mags’ Court
Brennan, Lisa - Theft - 4/9/03 - Liverpool Crown Court
Buffrey, Wendy - False accounting - 17/10/10 - Gloucester Crown Court
Burgess, Tim - False accounting - 12/8/11 - Teesside Crown Court
Capon, Barry - Theft and false accounting - 9/10/09 - Ipswich Crown Court
Clark, Nicolas - False accounting - 23/2/10 - Doncaster Crown Court
Cousins, Wendy - Theft - 5/5/09 - St Albans Crown Court
Darlington, Scott - False accounting - 22/2/10 - Chester Crown Court
Fell, Stanley - False accounting - 27/7/07 - Leicester Crown Court
Felstead, Tracy - Theft + false accounting - 2001 - Kingston-Upon-Thames CC
Gill, Kashmir - False accounting - June 2010 Oxford Crown Court
Graham, William - False accounting - 14/1/11 - Maidstone Crown Court
Hall, Alison - False accounting - 30/6/11 - Leeds Crown Court
Hamilton, Jo - False accounting - 2008 - Winchester Crown Court
Hedges, David - Theft and false accounting - 7/1/11 - Lincoln Crown Court
Henderson, Allison - False accounting - 15/12/10 - Norwich Crown Court
Holmes, Peter - False accounting - 22/12/09 -Newcastle-Upon-Tyne CC
Hussain, Neelam - Theft - 20/6/11 - Wolverhampton Crown Court
Hutchings, Lynette - False accounting - 30/7/12 - Portsmouth Crown Court
Ishaq, Khayyam - Theft - 7/3/13 - Bradford Crown Court
McDonald, Jackie - Theft and false accounting - 21/1/11 - Preston Crown Court
Misra, Seema - Theft and false accounting - 21/10/10 - Guildford CC
O’Connell, Dawn -False accounting - 12/9/08 - Harrow Crown Court
Owen, Damien - Theft - 7/12/11 - Mold Crown Court
Page, Carl - Theft - 1/1/07 - Stafford Crown Court
Parekh, Vijay - Theft - 8/11/1 - Harrow Crown Court
Patel, Vipinchandra - Fraud - 3/6/11 - Oxford Mags’ Court
Rasul, Mohammed - Theft - 20/6/07 Manchester (Minshull) Crown Court
Robinson, Della - False accounting - 30/11/12 - Manchester Crown Court
Rudkin, Susan - False accounting - 23/3/09 - Stafford Crown Court
Sayer, Siobhan - False accounting - 15/2/10 Norwich Crown Court
Shaheen, Rubbina- False accounting - 22/11/10 - Shrewsbury Crown Court
Skinner, Janet - False accounting - 5/1/07 - Kingston Upon Hull Crown Court
Thomas, Hughie (Noel) - False accounting - June 2006 - Caernarfon Crown Court
Thomson, Pauline - False accounting - 1/2/10 - Maidstone Crown Court
Trousdale, Christopher - False accounting - 8/3/04 Scarborough Mags’ Court
Ward, Gail - False accounting -15/10/07 - Bristol Crown Court
Wilson, Julian - False accounting - 15/6/09 - Worcester Crown Court

More on what happens now these cases have been referred.

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