23/04/2024

Minister's Welcome NI's Inclusion In Post Office Offences Bill

Minister's have welcomed a decision to include Northern Ireland in the Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill.

The decision by the UK Government follows strong representations by the Executive Ministers to ensure that those affected here are treated on the same basis as their counterparts elsewhere. The decision recognises that Northern Ireland faces significant and unique challenges to delivering the necessary legislation at an expedited pace following the Executive's recent restoration after two years.

First Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "The decision to include sub-postmasters here is the fastest and fairest solution for all. This is a prime example of the Executive working together to deliver for people here. Those wrongly convicted have already endured years of emotional and financial stress through no fault of their own. They now deserve a swift resolution with their convictions overturned in the quickest and most seamless manner."
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Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly added: "This is good news for sub-postmasters in Northern Ireland who have been wronged by the Horizon IT scandal. Amending the Westminster legislation is the fastest solution including in terms of accessing financial redress. I sincerely hope those affected take some comfort from knowing there will be no additional delays in having their convictions overturned."

Justice Minister, Naomi Long said: "It was always my view that sub postmasters in Northern Ireland should receive equitable treatment in line with their counterparts in other parts of the UK. The amendments to the Westminster Bill will enable the wrongful convictions to be overturned in the quickest possible way and will finally remove the enormous burden and shame that many sub-postmasters have carried for years. These victims had their lives overturned in an instant and whilst it will not erase the pain experienced, I hope it will allow the UK Government to deliver financial redress to those affected in the same speedy fashion."


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