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    Scotland man awaits verdict on false confession of stealing from mother’s Post Office

    (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

    A man who falsely confessed to stealing money from his mother’s Post Office in Scotland to protect her from going to prison is now waiting to find out whether his conviction will be quashed after legislation exonerating all affected sub-postmasters in Scotland was passed last week.

    Ravinder Naga pleaded guilty to stealing £35,000 after auditors discovered a shortfall at Belville Street Post Office in Greenock. He was sentenced to 300 hours’ community service.

    Naga said he confessed to a crime he didn’t commit because his mother would not have survived prison.

    He told BBC Scotland, “If someone had to be sacrificed then better me than my mum. The family could have coped if maybe I wasn’t there but if my mum had been taken and something had happened to my mum then there would have been no recovery from that.”

    He said his health deteriorated during his community service and he struggled to get work and the only good thing to come from his confession was that his mother’s reputation was never tarnished because he took the hit.

    Naga’s solicitor Greg Cunningham said he could not be sure whether his client would be cleared by the Scottish Parliament legislation.

    He explained if Naga’s mother had been convicted there would be no doubt that she would be exonerated but his client’s situation was less certain as he wasn’t the sub-postmaster.

    However, Cunningham said Mr Naga’s business connections to the Post Office – where he helped his mother on a regular basis – meant he may be included in the bill.

     Naga’s case has also been referred to the court of appeal.

    The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which looks into potential miscarriages of justice, found that “Horizon evidence was essential to the proof of the accounting shortfall that led to the prosecution”.

    It also concluded that Mr Naga may “have pled guilty in circumstances that were clearly prejudicial to him”.

    Under the recent legislation, those convicted of “relevant offences” will have them automatically quashed when the legislation comes into force. The person convicted would need to have been working in a Post Office at the time, the conviction would need to be connected to Post Office business and the Horizon system would need to have been in use there.

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