UK's Post Office Horizon IT System

published on 2024/01/13

It has been described without exaggeration by the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, as one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in UK history: the hounding and prosecution of thousands of people who owned and ran smaller post offices for alleged fraud between 1999 and 2015, the overwhelming majority of whom were falsely accused.

The initial fault was with Horizon, a digital accounting system installed by the IT multinational Fujitsu, which wrongly said post office branches had cash shortfalls. This was then compounded by the Post Office, the company behind the network, which rejected any fault with Horizon and insisted operators must have taken the money, to the extent of covering up the real problem.

Overall, 3,500 branch owner-operators were wrongly accused and more than 900 prosecuted, with many of these jailed and ruined. Some suffered significant ill health, local ostracism and family breakup, and in a handful of cases, suicide.

The Guardian

Oh dear