FOLLOWING the recent TV drama, which brought the Post Office – Horizon scandal to the forefront of the UK public’s consciousness, justice is finally being served.
Not only is the UK Government actively seeking to hear from people impacted by the injustice, but it has just emerged that Paula Vennells, the former chief of the Post Office, has agreed to relinquish her CBE.
The scandal’s disclosure, which saw the wrongful conviction of numerous sub-post managers, also comes after mounting pressure from the media and public opinion.
The announcement occurred following substantial public outcry and political pressure. Over a million individuals had signed a petition urging the revocation of her award, a reaction to the spate of fraudulent convictions under her tenure. Rishi Sunak, expressing support for a committee’s investigation, had added to the growing pressure.
Vennells’ Public Statement
In her statement, Vennells acknowledged the demands from sub-post managers and others for her to return the honour. She said, ‘I have listened and confirmed that I will return my CBE immediately.’
Her regret over the turmoil caused to the affected families was evident. ‘I am truly sorry for the devastation caused to the sub-postmasters and their families, whose lives were torn apart by being wrongly accused and wrongly prosecuted as a result of the Horizon system.’
Despite maintaining silence due to the ongoing inquiry, Vennells plans to cooperate fully and is scheduled to provide testimony in the upcoming months.
She stated, ‘I continue to support and focus on cooperating with the inquiry and expect to be giving evidence in the coming months.’ She clearly intended to assist in the inquiry, but she announced no further public comments until its conclusion.
The Horizon Scandal
On Tuesday, January 9, the UK Government issued a Statement: ‘Postmasters impacted by Horizon who may have been made bankrupt.’
It invited people impacted by the events to share their details so that the matter can be fully dealt with and due compensation can be made where appropriate.
The severe miscarriage of justice caught the public’s eye mainly due to ITV’s drama’ Mr Bates Vs The Post Office.’ Over 700 sub-postmasters faced criminal charges like theft and false accounting, with only 93 having their convictions overturned.