Pamela Lock

Year conviction was overturned:

Pamela Lock 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.

Ms Lock pleaded guilty to three counts of false accounting. She received a community sentence order with 80 hours of unpaid work. She was also (according to the Court of Appeal’s understanding) ordered to pay compensation to the Post Office in the sum of £26,071.53. As a consequence of the proceedings against her, Ms Lock was forced into retirement and she and her late husband were forced to sell their family home to stop it from being possessed.

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.

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