Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf has on Thursday written to prime minister Rishi Sunak calling on joint working to ensure a UK-wide approach is taken to exonerate those wrongly convicted of criminal offences as a result of the Post Office Horizon IT system.
The UK government has on Wednesday announced that it will unilaterally quash the wrongful theft convictions of hundreds of sub-postmasters targeted due to faulty software in England and Wales, and offer them immediate compensation.
Welcoming the move, Yousaf said the Scottish ministers are keen to work with the UK government to deal with the impact on sub-postmasters convicted in Scotland, ensuring that a UK-wide approach is taken to exonerate those wrongfully convicted in Scottish courts.
“Given the unique circumstances arising from the Post Office Horizon scandal, it is right that normal processes for appeals are set aside to ensure that justice can now be delivered for those whose lives were greatly impacted by their wrongful conviction,” Yousaf said in the letter.
While announcing the decision to legislate to reverse the convictions of sub-postmasters in parliament, post office minister Kevin Hollinrake has noted that the power to legislate to reverse convictions imposed by the Scottish courts is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, adding that he is keen to work with the devolved governments to ensure that sub-postmasters in Scotland and Northern Ireland are not disadvantaged.
Yousaf informed that Angela Constance, the cabinet secretary for justice and home affairs, will contact her counterpart, the secretary of state for justice, to discuss how best to progress work in this area.