Grant Allen was one of 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. The basis of each of the prosecutions in these cases 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. However, the accounts of a branch post office did not in fact reflect missing cash or stock but was a result of a bug within the Horizon system which caused errors or defects.
Mr Allen could not work out why his accounting system was showing a shortfall in figures and raised concerns about Horizon. Despite the fact he had raised concerns, he was prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions. He was pressured into pleading guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation in relating to a shortfall of just over £13,000 and sentenced to a 12 month community order and 200 hours of unpaid work.
Mrs Allen’s conviction was quashed based on evidence indicating that the Horizon computer system was faulty, and responsible for incorrectly flagging shortfalls in accounts. Documents disclosed as part of his appeal showed that the case against him had been pursued despite the Post Office being aware of questions about the reliability of the Horizon system.
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- Offence: Theft / fraud
- Jurisdiction: England & Wales
- County: Cheshire
- Ethnicity: White
- Gender: M
- Offence convicted of: Fraud by false representation
- Year of initial conviction: 2013
- Year conviction was overturned: 2022
- Post Office Case: Y
- Link to full case: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2022/1197.html
- Crown argued case at CofA: N
- Retrial: N