Nigel's Eyes

20240111 - UK Gov and the Post Office Scandal

UK Gov continues to ride roughshod over the Courts. In this case in its response to the disgraceful Post Office abuse of process that it has failed to do anything about until there's a perceived PR advantage. There is a way to deal with it. Legislation is not required. But politicians want their names in the papers so they will, again, create Statute when the Common Law already has an ideal solution.

It has been announced that the UK's government is to pass legislation to reverse the convictions of the victims of the Post Office / Horizon scandal.

There is literally no good reason to do this other than an attempt at public relations. There is a perfectly good, long-established process by which a Court can, in effect, take action on its own.

It is beyond doubt that the convictions are unsafe. The Supreme Court, as the ultimate court to which criminal appeals are made, can, of its own volition or on the petition of any party, review any case even without a formal appeal.

A one-page pleading setting out the facts i.e. that the judges in the many cases were misled by the Post Office and its representatives would be enough. The case could be called "In Re The Post Office" and there is no need for the victims to be called. The Post Office, via the Minister, would acknowledge the version of events. The Court would then issue an order that the convictions were unsafe and must be reversed, that fines be refunded with interest, that legal costs be refunded in full and that compensation be ordered according to whatever scale/formula is decided with an initial payment of, say, GBP100,000 within seven days.

Time to completion? If people get their act together, It could be done, except for setting the formula, by the end of business tomorrow.

Then... A judge would be appointed to supervise the setting of the formula, the making of payments and the expunging of records with all the necessary notices and documentation, all paid for by The Post Office which should issue proceedings against all of those culpable in this conspiracy for full recovery.

It's called "the inherent jurisdiction" and it's the most powerful tool available for, amongst other things, tempering the excesses of governments.