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Calls for judge-led inquiry into Post Office IT scandal which saw Telford and Shrewsbury arrests

By Rory Smith | Shrewsbury | Crime | Published:

There must be a judge-led inquiry into the Post Office's computer glitch which saw more than 900 prosecutions, the Shadow Technology Minister has said.

Tracy Felstead, left , from Telford, and Rubbina Shaheen, right, from Worthen, near Shrewsbury, have both had their cases referred to the Court of Appeal

Chi Onwurah has called for the investigation into the Horizon IT system fault which saw postmistresses from across the UK, including in Shrewsbury and Telford, jailed over false financial discrepancies while pleading their innocence.

Last year, 550 claimants brought legal action over their treatment by the Post Office Ltd and won, but the majority of the damages they received were wiped out in legal costs.

Tracy Felstead from Bournside Drive, Brookside in Telford was jailed for six months in 2001 for theft and false accounting after her till was found to be £11,500 short. The 37-year-old received a share of a £58 million settlement.

Meanwhile, Rubbina Shaheen from Shrewsbury was jailed for 12 months at Shrewsbury Crown Court in 2010 after she was accused of stealing £43,269.

The government announced it will undertake an independent review to "consider whether Post Office Ltd has learned lessons from the Horizon dispute and court case".

Calling on the government to accelerate and strengthen an independent review into the Horizon scandal, Ms Onwurah, who represents Newcastle upon Tyne Central, said: “This scandal cannot be swept under the carpet. It was an appalling miscarriage of justice that saw hundreds of innocent, hard-working people falsely accused, bankrupted and imprisoned.

“The government finally announced an independent review but its scope is too limited and does not cover the failings in managerial and ministerial oversight. The subpostmasters need the truth, not a tokenistic lessons learned exercise that fails to hold anyone to account.

“These people, and their families, deserve to understand how this miscarriage of justice could have happened, and to receive proper vindication at last.”

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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