Teju (Tara) Adedayo, 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.
Ms Adedayo found inexplicable discrepancies on her Post Office Horizon computer system. After handing over £50,000 to the Post Office to account for the discrepancy, the Post Office prosecuted her. She confessed to false accounting and pleaded guilty to the crime. She was given a 50-week sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service. She has stated that she confessed “under duress” in order to mitigate her sentence, feeling pressured into making up a story about what she had done with the allegedly stolen money.
On appeal, the Court of Appeal accepted findings that bugs, errors, and defects in the Horizon computer system 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 conviction was 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.
Ms Adedayo described her family being dragged to hell and back as a result of her conviction. Her and her husband were forced to remortgage their family home and she was left unable to find work due to her criminal record.
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- Offence: False accounting
- Jurisdiction: England & Wales
- County: Kent
- Ethnicity: Black
- Gender: F
- Offence convicted of: False Accounting
- Year of initial conviction: 2006
- Year conviction was overturned: 2021
- CCRC Referral: Y
- Post Office Case: Y
- Tried with others: N