A now-deceased postmaster who pled guilty to embezzlement is to have her case reviewed.
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has referred the case of Joanne Hughes on behalf of the deceased, Caren Lorimer, to the High Court of Justiciary for determination.
In 2009, Mrs Lorimer pled guilty at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court to one charge of embezzlement from a Post Office.
The court imposed a community service order requiring 300 hours of unpaid work and a compensation order for £15,000.
In 2022, the applicant applied to the commission, seeking a review of Mrs Lorimer’s conviction.
The commission concluded that Mrs Lorimer had pled guilty in circumstances that were, or could be said to be, clearly prejudicial to her and that “Horizon evidence” was essential to the proof of the accounting shortfall that led to the charge being brought against her.
It added that the prosecution was oppressive because the process was an affront to justice.
More than 700 branch managers were prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015 after faulty Horizon accounting software made it look as though money was missing from their shops.
Hundreds of subpostmasters and subpostmistresses are still awaiting compensation despite the Government announcing that those who have had convictions quashed are eligible for £600,000 payouts.
On Tuesday, Michael Walker, the commission’s chief executive, said: “The SCCRC is the body which reviews potential miscarriages of justice in Scotland. Subpostmasters are still coming forward to tell us that they have suffered a miscarriage of justice.
“We encourage anyone who hasn’t yet done so to get in touch. If the person affected has died, we will accept applications from next-of-kin. Our service is free and easy to use. You don’t need a solicitor.
“If you believe that you or a close family member might have suffered a miscarriage of justice as a result of Horizon, our staff would be pleased to talk you through the application process.”
A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “COPFS is committed to the fair and effective prosecution of crime.
“The Lord Advocate has expressed her confidence in and support for the established appeals processes.
“The Crown will contribute appropriately to the work of SCCRC and the Appeal Court.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country