Lawyers representing hundreds of sub-postmasters who have taken legal action against the Post Office for being wrongly accused of theft and fraud have served a book of evidence on the company ahead of a court case.
The Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA) collective action group blames an IT fault with the company’s Horizon computer system, which records daily transactions at branches, for the apparent loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The case comes after many were sacked, lost their homes, and even jailed when cash shortfalls were found at some Post Offices.
Evidence has since been served on the company by Freeths, the law firm heading the action, which accuses the Post Office of a “pattern of bullying and intimidation over many years”.
JFSA member Alan Bates said: “Many were pressured to pay alleged balance shortfalls and to resign - often resulting in bankruptcy and loss of homes as well as jobs. Some were even pressured to admit false accounting and were subjected to criminal prosecutions - even though there was no evidence or any proceeds of crime.”
But the Post Office has always maintained there is no evidence to show there is a problem with the IT system.
The JFSA is now urging former sub-postmasters who worked for the company from 1999 to join the lawsuit.
“What we want now is for anyone who recognises this pattern of behaviour to come forward,” added Bates.
“If Freeths do not receive full details of your claim, and a full set of signed paperwork from you by Friday 14 July, then you will miss the opportunity to join the group action.”
The group litigation action will next come before the High Court in October for a procedural hearing.
A spokesman for the Post Office said: “The Post Office welcomes the Group Litigation Order as offering the best opportunity for the matters in dispute to be heard and resolved. We will not otherwise comment on litigation whilst it is ongoing.
“We continue to have confidence in the robustness of the Horizon system, which has around 78,000 users across 11,600 branches nationwide to process six million transactions a day.”