Nick Read Paul Patterson

Former subpostmaster and founder of the group that fought for justice for the victims of the Horizon scandal has lashed out at the delays in providing compensation.

Speaking at a Business and Trade Committee hearing via video link, founder of Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance Alan Bates expressed his frustration at the lack of progress made on compensation for those affected by Horizon.

“I’m frustrated and put it mildly. I mean, there is no reason at all why full financial redress shouldn’t have been delivered by now. It’s gone on for far too long. People are suffering. They’re dying. We’re losing numbers along the way, and it’s just seems to be tied up in bureaucracy. The current scheme started in March 2022 and there are very few cases that have actually gone through or come out the other end. So, it is frustrating to put it mildly.”

When asked if justice will ever be seen, former subpostmistress Jo Hamilton said: “Well, it’ll never let my mum and dad see me have my conviction quashed. But apart from that, we need to see deeds and not words. You can, you can say things. But I just think for everybody now to draw a line under this. There has to be a way of applying a bit of common sense to this and cutting out all the red tape.”

She added that she believes there are more victims of the Horizon technology still to come forward.

Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged emergency legislation to overturn the convictions of those wrongfully accused.

Bates added that the true measure of any legislation will be “if it draws more people to come forward.”

Post Office minister Kevin Hollinrake also appeared before the committee and said he was “very confident” that compensation would be paid to those who were not convicted in the 555 subpostmasters that are in the GLO group by August of this year.

Fujitsu apology

Also speaking at the hearing was Post Office CEO Nick Read and director of Fujitsu Services Limited Paul Patterson.

Patterson began by issuing an apology on behalf of Fujitsu. “Fujitsu would like to apologise for our part in this appalling miscarriage of justice. We were involved from the very start. We fid have bugs and errors in the system and we did help the Post Office in their prosecutions of the sub postmasters for that we are truly sorry.”

Both Read and Patterson were criticised by MPs for not being able to provide answers to questions posed including when the Post Office knew that Horizon could be accessed remotely and when the situation was first discussed internally.