Post Office accidentally publishes the names and addresses of 555 subpostmasters wrongfully convicted in Horizon scandal

20 June 2024, 08:36

More than 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office and handed criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015
More than 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office and handed criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015. Picture: Getty

By Charlie Duffield

The Post Office has accidentally published the names and home addresses of 555 sub-postmasters wrongfully convicted in the Horizon scandal.

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A dossier allegedly entitled “Confidential Settlement Deed”, is understood to have revealed the details of 555 of those involved in suing the Post Office in 2019, including their postcodes.

It was on the website in full on Wednesday, but was then taken down, according to The Daily Mail.

A Post Office representative said: “The document in question has been removed from our website. We are investigating as an urgent priority how it came to be published. We are in the process of notifying the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of the incident, in line with our regulatory requirements.”

An ICO spokesman said: “We have not received a data breach report on this matter. Organisations must notify the ICO within 72 hours of becoming aware of a personal data breach, unless it does not pose a risk to people’s rights and freedoms.

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Paula Vennells apologises to subpostmasters at Post Office Horizon IT inquiry

“If an organisation decides that a breach doesn’t need to be reported, they should keep their own record of it and be able to explain why it wasn’t reported if necessary.”

More than 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office and handed criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015 as Fujitsu’s faulty system, Horizon, made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

In 2017, legal action was launched against the Post Office by the 555 sub-postmasters and two years later, a High Court judge ruled that Horizon contained a number of “bugs, errors and defects” and there was a “material risk” that shortfalls in Post Office branch accounts were caused by the system.

The Post Office agreed to pay out £58m to them.

A banner is held by 'Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance' campaigners, on 22nd May 2024, in London, England
A banner is held by 'Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance' campaigners, on 22nd May 2024, in London, England. Picture: Getty

On Wednesday, Duncan Tait, former chief executive of Fujitsu, told the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry that he saw “no red flashing lights” warranting an investigation into the system used by sub-postmasters despite repeated concerns being raised.

Sub-postmasters’ concerns about Horizon were put before Tait shortly after he joined Fujitsu’s UK business as managing director in 2009. He told the inquiry: “My understanding at the time was that these claims were unfounded.”

Hundreds of victims are still awaiting compensation, despite the Government stating those who have had convictions quashed are eligible for £600,000 payouts.

Additionally, today the Horizon IT inquiry will hear from Graham Ward, a former Post Office security team casework manager and financial investigator, Tony Kearns, senior deputy general secretary of the Communications Workers Union, and Kay Linnell, forensic accountant and adviser to the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance.

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