Subpostmasters wrongly convicted of theft from Britain's Post Office took the firm to court to clear their names
The sub-postmasters who were wrongly convicted of theft have taken Britain's Post Office firm to court to clear their names. Photo: AFP / Tolga Akmen AFP News

As part of the ongoing investigations into the Post Office scandal, Investigator Robert Daily, rejected any responsibility in the wrongful conviction of a Post Office Manager.

The British Post Office scandal saw more than 900 sub-postmasters and postmistresses prosecuted for stealing large sums of cash between the years 1999 and 2015.

Despite the missing funds being down to a technical malfunction with the Horizon computer system, the Post Office went on to take 700 people to court.

Several Post Office employees were sentenced to time in prison for false accounting and theft.

The manipulated case, which forced the employees to confess to the theft to avoid prison time, also saw people lose their homes and livelihoods. Many victims were left with huge debts and bankruptcy.

The scandal also led to illnesses, induced by stress, and relationships breaking down. At least four Post Office employees took their lives after being wrongly accused.

Out of the wrongly accused group, in 2017, a group of 555 sub-postmasters took the Post Office to court. The case went on for two years, until in 2019, the workers were promised £58 million in compensation.

Three years later, in February of 2021, a public inquiry into the scandal was opened by Sir Wyn Williams.

According to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the Post Office case is "the most widespread miscarriage of justice the CCRC has ever seen and represents the biggest single series of wrongful convictions in British legal history".

Investigator Robert Daily, who helped prosecute Peter Holmes and Willian Quarm, responded to probes, stating: "I was only doing my job."

Holmes, who was wrongly criminalised and unfortunately died from a brain tumour in 2015, never saw the Court of Appeal clear his name when the public inquiry was first opened in 2021.

In 2008, Holmes criticised the computing system Horizon, alluding to injustices and a potential malfunction. One of the investigation documents, that was shown to the inquiry, found that Daily responded to Holmes' complaints with: "This has been checked and the allegations are unfounded."

Two years after he was also convicted for embezzlement, Quarm also passed away. The 69-year-old is amongst many others who were left "depressed and ashamed" and missed out on seeing their convictions overturned.

According to Quarm's wife, her late husband was made to "believe that he had brought this shame on us all and the only reason he pled guilty was to try and keep him out of prison".

"It was shocking... The fear in his eyes, I'll never forget it," she told reporters.

While questioning the Investigator on whether he had doubts about the Horizon computing system, according to Christopher Jacobs, a Lawyer representing a large group of sub-postmasters, Daily responded by saying: "I can only tell you that when Mr Holmes brought up Horizon in an interview with myself, from what I recall, that's the first time I heard someone bring it up in an interview."

Jacobs, who is also representing Marion Holmes, widow to the late Peter Holmes, continued to tell Daily that he doesn't believe his innocent claims.

"So, what you're saying is that you were told constantly that sub-postmasters would raise these issues, but this was the first one that you were involved in where issues were raised," the Lawyer pushed on.

Admitting his past mistakes, Daily replied to the questioning and said: "We should have not been doing any investigations whatsoever."

The current investigations into the Post Office scandal are expected to continue until at least 2026.

According to Sir Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the exhausting amount of research sets out to find whether there was any "deliberate malice" by any person involved, including those at Horizon and the Post Office itself.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner also announced that the investigation findings will be published late next year.