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    UK asks Scotland to develop its own legislation to overturn postmasters’ convictions

    Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

    UK government is in talks with Holyrood to develop its own plans to overturn Horizon IT scandal victim postmasters’ wrongful conviction after Scottish government urged UK ministers to extend plans.

    A new UK Bill has been introduced to give those wrongly convicted the option to settle for £600,000, without the need to bring a formal claim. The legislation is expected to clear the majority of victims in England and Wales by the end of July.

    The Scottish government said extending it would bring “certainty and clarity for those who have suffered in Scotland”, BBC reported.

    In a letter to the UK Postal Minister Kevin Hollinrake, Scottish Justice Secretary Angela Constance said including Scotland and Northern Island in the Bill was “the best way to achieve parity” across the UK.

    She wrote, “Extending the Bill to Scotland would ensure there is no delay to the quashing of convictions and access to compensation since any Scottish legislation could not be finalised until after the UK Bill is passed.”

    Constance claimed that in a meeting with UK Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, Michael Gove, he indicated that the government was “open to such an extension” and had prepared draft clauses demonstrating how the Bill could be amended to include Scotland.

    However, the UK government said Scotland should have its own legislation and it was working with the Scottish government “to ensure equitable outcomes for victims”.

    A spokesperson added, “In Scotland prosecutions were undertaken by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Is it therefore right that overturning convictions in Scotland is determined, delivered and scrutinised by the Scottish government and the Scottish Parliament.”

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