Sub-postmaster wrongly sent to prison while pregnant rejects apology from ex-Post Office boss

Business

A former Post Office executive who celebrated the conviction of a pregnant sub-postmaster has said sorry.

Former managing director David Smith made the apology to the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry, which is investigating who knew what and when about the faulty accounting software that ruined lives and led to the conviction of hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters for theft and false accounting.

The scandal received renewed attention after an ITV drama, Mr Bates vs the Post Office, aired early this year.

The Horizon software, developed by Fujitsu, incorrectly generated financial shortfalls at Post Office branches throughout the UK.

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As a result, sub-postmasters were forced by the Post Office to make up for the losses, selling homes and going deep into debt in the process.

Many suffered ill-health, some died by suicide and many more had their reputations ruined and left their communities.

More on Post Office Scandal

One of those wrongly convicted was Seema Misra, who was sentenced to 15 months in jail and served four months while pregnant.

“Brilliant news”

In 2010 Mr Smith emailed Post Office prosecutors, congratulating them on a job well done in jailing Ms Misra.

“Brilliant news. Well done. Please pass on my thanks to the team,” he said.

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A wrongly convicted pregnant sub-postmaster has told Sky News she

The message was intended to celebrate proving Horizon was robust, Mr Smith said, rather than someone going to prison.

“I would absolutely never think that it was ‘brilliant news’ for a pregnant woman to go to prison and I am hugely apologetic that my email can be read as such. Regardless of the result, I would have thanked the team for their work on the case,” Mr Smith’s evidence statement to the inquiry said.

“However, seeing this email in the light of what I know now, I understand the anger and the upset that it will have caused and sincerely apologise for that.”

“It is evident that my email would have caused Seema Misra and her family, substantial distress to read and I would like to apologise for that”.

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