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Forensic investigation could clear postmistress’s name

Member: Nifa

A postmistress who was jailed after the investigation by the Post Office into financial irregularities at post offices across the country has been boosted by the intervention of a firm of forensic accountants. Rubbina Shaheen, who kept a post office in Shrewsbury was jailed for 12 months in 2010 for false accounting after being accused of stealing £43,000 but has always protested her innocence.

Now the independent firm has written to the Government claiming that its report into the Horizon computer system used by the Post Office, which many thought was to blame for the irregularities, was misrepresented. Mrs Shaheen believes that the letter is a significant step in her fight for justice but she is just one of 100 sub-postmasters and mistresses across the UK who are seeking to overturn convictions or court rulings from this case.

At the time, the Post Office claimed that the report by Second Sight, the firm it hired to investigate the irregularities, said there were no “systemic problems” with the Horizon system. However, Second Sight has now written to the Government saying its report was misrepresented and that failings with the computer system led to the financial discrepancies.

Buoyed by the letter, Mrs Shaheen said she believes the Post Office is doing its best to cover up the results of the investigation undertaken by Second Sight. She was jailed after pleading guilty to false accounting having been initially accused of theft. However, she maintains that she only did so because her lawyer advised her that by doing this she would receive a non-custodial sentence.

We have acted for a number of individuals accused of theft and have reported to the court on the deficiencies of the Horizon system, so we await the outcome of the current litigation with interest.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 18 August 2015

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