INVERCLYDE’S MSP Stuart McMillan has sought assurances from Scotland’s Lord Advocate that all victims of the Post Office scandal will benefit from any moves to quash convictions – citing the plight of a constituent who repaid £30,000 to prevent his sub-postmistress mother being jailed.

Dorothy Bain KC gave a statement in the Scottish Parliament in which she told MSPs that some individuals ‘were prosecuted when they should not have been’.

Ms Bain apologised to those who suffered a miscarriage and insisted prosecutors were given assurances that the Horizon IT system was ‘robust’.

Following the statement, Stuart McMillan said: “I was contacted yesterday by the lawyer of a constituent who was prosecuted for stealing £30,000 from the Post Office.

Greenock Telegraph:

“He’s not a sub-postmaster, although his mother was, and they were prosecuted for the theft.

“My constituent even repaid the £30,000 so his mother didn’t need to go to jail.

“I do not imagine at all that this will be a unique case, but can I ask if any quashing of convictions and legislation will be extended to cover everyone where their convictions are directly related to Horizon and also the Post Office?”

In her response, the Lord Advocate noted that the case Mr McMillan referred to was currently live before the Court of Appeal and, as such, she could not comment on it.

She cited ‘very old’ cases and ‘complexity’ as two of the issues which make the Crown’s job ‘time consuming and challenging’.

Ms Bain added: “Although evidence obtained from Horizon system may have featured in any case, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the prosecution was reliant on this evidence and that no crime was committed.

Greenock Telegraph: Dorothy Bain KCDorothy Bain KC (Image: PA)

“In many cases, there was an immediate and unequivocal admission of guilt by the accused, but identification and corroboration of the offence came via the Horizon system.

“One difficulty encountered is the passage of time and we’ve been required to recreate to the best of our ability what the prosecution case may have been based on information from a variety of sources.”

MSPs heard that of the 73 individuals written to by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, a total of 16 had come forward – with seven being referred to the High Court.

Four of these have since resulted in convictions being overturned.

Ms Bain also said there was a ‘good reason’ as to why those who were wrongly convicted have faced lengthy waits for justice.

She told MSPs: “It wasn’t until 2019, when the English court decided that the Horizon system was fundamentally flawed – in the face of repeated assurances by those from those of the Post Office – that we could begin to make the progress that we’re now making for all of those people who have suffered a miscarriage of justice.”