William Graham 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.
Mr Graham was accused of false accounting and theft on the basis of an alleged shortfall of £65,521.07, indicated by Horizon. He pleaded guilty to two counts of false accounting, and one count of theft was ordered to lie on the file. He was sentenced to 32 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months with an unpaid work requirement of 100 hours.
Following conviction, Mr Graham lost his job and struggled to find work with the offence on his record.
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.
Following his acquittal Mr Graham stated that he was “very happy, but also angry that it’s taken this long.”
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- Offence: False accounting
- Jurisdiction: England & Wales
- County: Kent
- Ethnicity: White
- Gender: M
- Offence convicted of: False Accounting
- Year of initial conviction: 2009
- Year conviction was overturned: 2021
- CCRC Referral: Y
- Post Office Case: Y
- Tried with others: N
- Link to full case: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Hamilton-Others-v-Post-Office-judgment-230421.pdf
- Crown argued case at CofA: Argued one ground but not the other
- Retrial: N