In all but four of the 41 Subpostmaster cases referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the Post Office said it would contest the second limb of the CCRC's Abuse of Process argument. In three cases, the Post Office said it would contest the appeal in its entirety.
This led to a split between the lawyers representing the remaining 38 appellants, first reported back in October. One group wanted to forget the second limb and get their clients' convictions quashed on the uncontested first limb. The other, smaller group, wanted the right to have their conviction recognised as an Affront to the Public Conscience, the basis of the second limb of the referral.
A hearing was held at the Court of Appeal on 17 December 2020. After hearing all the arguments, the three judges, led by Lord Justice Holroyde decided that all the appellant Subpostmasters could contest their convictions on both limbs, if they wanted to. Seema Misra's case, deemed to have circumstances where the Abuse of Process may be particularly acute, will go to the front of the queue and have her case considered first when the hearings begin on 22 March 2021. Next month!
Please see the full ruling below, which was handed down on 15 January. You can also read it here on the bailii website.
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