Barry Capon

Year conviction was overturned:

Barry Capon was one of the “Post Office 39,” a group of former sub-postmasters and post-mistresses who were convicted of offences including theft, false accounting, and fraud, based on information from a computer system called Horizon which suggested that money had gone missing from post-office branch accounts.

Mr was accused of stealing £24,377.31 from Heath Road Post Office over a period of nearly six years, based on identified shortfalls in his accounts. At an audit, he said that he had been inflating cash figures to cover earlier losses. His father was present at the audit and said that there had been problems since changing to Horizon online. Mr Capon’s father repaid the shortfall.

Mr Capon faced charges of false accounting and theft. He pleaded guilty to four counts of false accounting and one count of theft was ordered to lie on the file. He received a community sentence order with an unpaid work requirement of 180 hours.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal accepted findings that bugs, errors, and defects in Horizon could, and did, cause discrepancies and shortfalls in branch accounts. The court concluded that if the Horizon data was not reliable then there was no basis for the prosecution, and the convictions were quashed. The court noted that failures of investigation and disclosure in the cases prevented the appellants from challenging, or challenging effectively, the reliability of the Horizon data.

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