Sami Sabet

Year of crime:
2008-2009
Year conviction was overturned:
2021

Sami Sabet 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.

During an audit in March 2008, shortfalls were identified at Mr Sabet’s branches. At his Mill Lane branch a shortfall was identified of £26,797.78 and at his East Beach branch a shortfall of £23,821.39 was identified.

Mr Sabet had reported errors and that put him in a cash flow problem, although he did not associate this directly with the Horizon system. To satisfy these error notices he paid £30,000 of his own money and continued to challenge the error notices by contacting the Managing Direction of Post Office Limited. However, Post Office Limited still continued to demand that Mr Sabet owed money. Mr Sabet fell into financial difficulties and used Post Office monies to cover his bills and inflated the cash figures in his account.

On the 26th June 2009, in the Crown Court in Lewes, he pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud. On the 7th August 2009, Mr Sabet received a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years with a requirement of 180 hours unpaid work.

Mr Sabet’s convictions were quashed when errors in the Horizon system were identified as the cause of the shortfalls.

The former sub-post master said that the ordeal caused serious heartache and a catalogue of health issues. “It’s an incredible feeling that’s taken almost 12 years,” (Source: The Argus, 2021) he said. “There wasn’t a single minute of a day that passed without me playing back what has happened and thinking of the unfairness of it.” (Source: The Argus, 2021) “I spent 10 years in absolute misery,” he said. “I got diabetes, had a heart attack, had open heart surgery. And I’m now deemed severely sight impaired. It’s all part of the anguish I’ve had over the years.” (Source: The Argus, 2021)

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  • Offence: Theft / fraud
  • Jurisdiction: England & Wales
  • County: Sussex 
  • Gender: M
  • Offence convicted of: Two counts of fraud
  • Year of crime: 2008-2009
  • Year of initial conviction: 2009
  • Year conviction was overturned: 2021
  • CCRC Referral: Yes
  • Post Office Case: Y
  • Link to full case: https://www.casemine.com/judgement/uk/615fd8362c94e0256f3759e0
  • Retrial: No