The CCRC yesterday welcomed a proposal from the Post Office for the CCRC to directly contact those subpostmasters and subpostmistresses convicted as part of the Horizon IT system failings.
For the past 18 months the CCRC has been appealing publicly for affected individuals to come forward to apply to have their conviction reviewed. It has also worked with the Post Office to ensure CCRC literature and information was sent out as part of Horizon Post Office mailings last year.
The Post Office has now let the CCRC know it is prepared to discuss the CCRC making direct contact with potential applicants - which has always been the CCRC's preferred option.
The CCRC has been monitoring the Post Office's progress in contacting potential applicants, with the intention of directly contacting those individuals who will need to apply to the CCRC to challenge their conviction.
It is now estimated that around 200 out of approximately 500 people have not responded to Post Office efforts to contact them and the CCRC welcomes the opportunity to step in as an independent organisation to contact all potential applicants directly.
CCRC Chair Helen Pitcher OBE yesterday said:
This is a very welcome development. This week's public inquiry into the Post Office Horizon failings has shown the deep and devastating impact these convictions have had on the individuals concerned.
Our team will want to progress this proposal quickly to ensure those who want to have their convictions overturned can get that process started. We also want to get the message out that the CCRC is independent, and that applying to us is free of charge.
To date the CCRC has had 118 Post Office applications, with the first applications lodged in 2015.
The CCRC has referred 58 cases to the appeal courts, of which 53 have been successful in having their convictions overturned.
The CCRC is currently reviewing 32 live Post Office cases.
This press release was issued by the Communications Team, Criminal Cases Review Commission. They can be contacted by phone on 0121 232 0900 or by firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes for Editors
- The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.
- There are currently 11 Commissioners who bring to the CCRC considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice.
- The CCRC usually receives around 1,400 applications for reviews (of convictions and/or sentences) each year. Since starting work in 1997, the CCRC has referred around 3% of applications to the appeal courts.
- The CCRC considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that a conviction and/or sentence would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal. Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are exceptional circumstances.
- If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.
- More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found atwww.ccrc.gov.uk The CCRC can also be found on Twitter: @ccrcupdate and Instagram: the_ccrc