David Thomas Hedges

Year conviction was overturned:
2021

David Thomas Hedges 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.

David Hedges pleaded guilty to one count of theft in the sum of £23,660.89 and three counts of fraud. He has said he did this as he “was petrified of the prospect of jail.” He was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months with an unpaid work requirement of 125 hours. He was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,000.

The basis of each of the prosecutions of the “Post Office 39” was that money missing from the branch account had been a result of theft by the sub-postmaster or mistress, or had been covered up by fraud or false accounting by the sub-postmaster or mistress. 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.

View Press (www.skegnessstandard.co.uk)

View Press (www.bbc.co.uk)

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