Mr Bates vs the Post Office: The Real Story (2024) Movie Script

The village shop and post office
had come up for sale.
Someone suggested that I would be
the perfect person to take it over.
I started my first job
as a postman back in 1965.
and in 1994,
I took over the post office.
I passed my interview, so, yeah,
I was given the position.
And everything was perfect.
We had a group of pensioners
who would come in
to get their pension every week.
Very much part of a community.
28p, please, love.
How much?
You do get to know your locals.
We'd have a good banter,
a good laugh with all the customers.
It was really good.
You're not only their postmaster.
You were also an adviser to people.
It was lovely.
You felt like you were actually
the heart of the village.
Morning. With you in a minute.
No rush.
'It was idyllic.'
I felt that I'd managed
to get myself a good position.
As a postmistress, it's not easy.
'The idea was it would be
my retirement business.'
'I thought I was gonna
spend the rest of my life there.'
But I didn't know
what was ahead of me.
I went through hell.
'It was diabolical.'
Something had to be done about it.
'Look, Alan!'
'Look what we did,
look what you did!'
'Should the Post Office bosses
go to prison, too?'
'No. No, no.
'Hit them in their pockets.'
Hit them in their pockets.
That's what you want to do.
That's... That's what's gonna
hurt them.
This is the story
of a saga that began
nearly 25 years ago.
We were not mad, were we?
Dealing with Post Office
has been harder
than dealing with the mafia.
It's like fighting a steam roller.
A group of subpostmasters
from all over the UK
fought to expose one of the widest
miscarriages of justice
in British legal history.
We want answers now
to know who's actually done this
to so many people, and why.
'There begins
the long chain of accounting,
'and every ha'penny
of every transaction accounted for.'
The Post Office was established
in 1660,
and had always used paper and pen
to balance the books.
But in 1999, management introduced
something completely new...
..a computer system called Horizon.
It was the biggest IT roll-out
in Europe.
The Post Office connected 40,000
terminals across the country
to one central hub.
'An engineer arrived.'
He screwed it on the desk,
and I asked him what it was,
and he goes, "That's Horizon.
"It's going live shortly,
you'll hear all about it."
It was great,
I was really enthusiastic.
I'd been involved with developing
bespoke software packages
where I'd worked before,
and I was all for it.
Basically, I never had a problem
balancing until that was installed,
and then a couple of months
after that,
I had a very big shortfall
at the end of the week.
It said I was minus 2,000.
Just overnight,
11,000 of stamps had gone missing.
I suddenly found
I had 6,000 shortfall,
and I couldn't understand
where that had gone.
That was a ridiculous amount.
There was no way of going back
and checking stuff
like you did with the paper,
cos once you pressed that button,
it had gone.
I rang the help desk,
and they told me
to do various things,
which doubled the shortfall
to minus 4,000.
When I rang the helpline,
I was told that there was
nobody else having these problems.
Oh, yes, the helpline
was telling you,
"Nobody else has got a problem.
"You're the only one."
"You're the only one
this is happening to."
"You're the only one."
That's what they kept saying.
Then I started feeling
like I was going mad.
I knew I wasn't computer-literate,
but I wasn't stupid either.
In the end,
you were totally confused,
and nothing was done.
Under the terms of their contracts,
the 20,000 subpostmasters
were liable for any shortfall,
whatever the cause.
When it got to about 9,000 short,
I told my parents and my husband,
and I said,
"Can we re-mortgage
and put the money in?
"Cos I've got no idea
what's happening,
"but I've got to make it good."
My mum went down
to the building society
and drew it out,
and we put it into -
the money into the safe.
Every week, I was
putting money in myself.
So, we basically went through
the cash until it all ran out
to try and make up the balance
every day.
It was just up and down,
up and down.
It was never, ever right.
And on the end of the month when
we had to do the main balance...
..that's when it all
used to come out, like...
Where's this money gone?
And the amount kept growing,
so I then didn't say anything.
I kept quiet and let it grow
to 36,000.
Terrified of what was gonna happen.
In North Wales,
one subpostmaster
took a different approach.
I had 1,000 of shortfall,
and I've never been
accepting the figure
that Horizon had
thrown up each week.
Because I always felt
that if I cleared it,
I was accepting
the Horizon system's figures.
And I wasn't prepared to do that.
they got round to telling me
I had to do it or else.
And I said, "I won't do it, not
until I have access to the system."
And eventually, they decided
just to terminate my contract
without giving me any reason,
and that was it.
So, they walked off
with my life savings
and they decided to give
my post office to somebody else.
Horizon just created
a whole batch of worry,
not just for me,
but for subpostmasters
all over the country.
I shall probably clean
at least till I'm 70-ish.
I'm resigned to the fact
that I only have the state pension,
and unless I sell my house,
I need to keep working.
The Post Office used
their sweeping powers
to bring private prosecutions
against their own employees.
In 2003,
they went after Jo for the money
they said she'd stolen.
I was originally charged
with theft,
and I pleaded not guilty.
And we almost got to trial,
and they offered up a plea bargain
at the 11th hour,
And said, "Well, if you plead guilty
to false accounting,
"we'll drop the theft charge,
provided you repay the money."
That meant Jo was forced to borrow
in order to pay back the 36,000
the computer said was missing.
I could only raise 30,000
on the house,
so we had a village meeting.
And I had to explain to everybody
that I was in trouble
in the Post Office.
And someone put up their hand
and they said,
cos it was November, they said,
"Well, couldn't Jo have
an early Christmas present?"
And from the moment I told them,
I thought they were all gonna think
I'd stolen money, and they didn't,
it was quite the opposite,
and, erm... yeah.
It was very humbling.
Literally thousands of pounds
went through the letterbox.
I think we'd reached it
in about two weeks, and... Yeah.
My village.
When she went to court,
the village showed up again.
I just looked at the judge,
and he goes, "Well I'm not
considering a custodial sentence."
Well, I was literally...
Just the tears were
streaming down my face.
Jo was sentenced
to a 12-month supervision order.
But there were other people whose
ordeals left an even greater mark.
'We had a lot
of happy memories here.'
Especially when the children
used to come off the bus.
We used to look forward
to seeing them after school.
They used to come running
across this road.
'They enjoyed being here as well.
'Would've handed it over to them.
'A lot of happy memories.'
But they all got broken.
In 2009, the Post Office charged
Jess with the theft of 5,000.
And her face was splashed
across the local papers.
Family members actually went
round to the shops, local shops,
and gathered as many papers
as they could.
It was also in one
of the Punjabi papers as well.
So, basically, everybody read
that story and pointed fingers.
We had somebody come in
and spit on the floor as well.
We had car windows broken.
You know, they did try and,
like, traumatise us, really.
I got this feeling
that everybody else is thinking
that "she's a thief".
And thinking about it day and night,
day and night.
I just wanted to end my life.
I'm showing you the box.
We can cross quickly.
And this is where
the Post Office was.
Noel Thomas became a postman
at the age of 17.
In 2005, when his nightmare began,
he had only ever worked
for the Post Office.
There we are.
We're by the box
which was the Post Office
that my wife and I ran for,
erm, 36 years.
You know, it was a betrayal,
wasn't it, when we lost this?
At half past seven,
there was a knock on the door,
and, er, there was a lady
and a gentleman in the door,
and said they were Post Office
auditors, and so I let them in,
made them a cup of tea, and I told
them straightaway that I was,
erm, about 52,000 down,
so all hell let loose.
Noel was arrested and questioned
at a police station.
She was just, "Where was the money?
Where was the money?
"And what did you do with it?"
You know,
it was really aggressive.
Then the Post Office did to Noel
what they did
to many other subpostmasters.
They offered
to drop the theft charge
if he agreed to plead guilty
to false accounting.
I remember me telling him,
"Will it keep me out of jail?"
And he said, "Yes."
But unfortunately,
when I went into court,
er, the judge, erm,
came to his sentencing words,
and he said, erm, "Nine months,"
and he sort of paused.
And I waited
for a suspended sentence.
But he said, erm, "Take him down."
'I'd been a councillor,
I'd been a postmaster,
'I'd been a postman and,
er, highly thought of.'
All of a sudden, er,
it was all taken away from me,
like taking a mat
from under your feet, if you like.
It was bloody horrible.
'My journalistic life
has been dominated by this.'
I mean, it's the biggest story
I've worked on.
It's probably the biggest story
I'll ever work on.
In 2009, the story hadn't
hit the press yet.
Social media was in its infancy.
Even though many subpostmasters
were being prosecuted,
each one of them thought
they were the only one.
But that was about to change.
This particular article began
because we were contacted by
a subpostmaster about his problems.
Often when you get contacted
by a single person,
it's very hard to stand up a story.
But one of my former colleagues,
an alarm bell rang in his head,
and he thought,
"I've heard this before."
And I think
it was four years earlier,
he'd been contacted by Alan Bates,
who'd had the same problems.
Then they started
to build up a picture.
People having the same problems,
people being told the same thing
from the Post Office,
which eventually led to them
gathering information
about four other subpostmasters
and doing this first story.
But we were so worried
about legal action.
We didn't publish it for a year.
This was the response
from the Post Office.
That was an outright lie.
We knew of seven postmasters
who had complained,
and also, we know that computers
have problems,
especially complex systems.
subpostmasters who had problems
were seeing the story,
contacting each other,
which then started the campaign.
That's the seven
from Computer Weekly,
then there's, er,
two that came via our website.
But where are all the others?
So we thought, "Let's see
if we can get people together,
"and let's see
how big the problem actually is."
Somewhere central.
We didn't know if anyone
was gonna turn up, but, er,
slowly but surely, people turned up.
We all sat round in a circle
telling our stories,
and you almost felt embarrassed
about having to say,
"Oh, I'm Jo,
and I've been done for 36,000."
But I realised, "Oh, my God,
we're all exactly the same."
That's when the stories...
A jigsaw started coming together,
if you know what I mean.
And we'd all had our lives
completely tipped upside down.
People had been losing houses,
cashing in their pensions,
they'd been borrowing money
off relatives,
marriages were splitting up.
We all looked like
we'd been in a war
and just weary with the stress
that we'd been put through,
and the shame of it.
It was diabolical.
But that's when we knew
something had to be done about it.
And that's when we picked
Alan Bates as chairman.
That was really
the start of everything,
and that's where the JFSA,
Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance,
was born.
It was like a switch got turned,
and the Post Office was the enemy.
They'd gone from this trusted brand
to a monster.
And it was like,
"We are gonna get them."
This is the view I have of him
most of the time.
I mean, most mornings,
this is what he's doing,
and as you can see,
he's still in his dressing gown.
For the past 20 years,
Alan and his partner, Suzanne,
have had their lives dominated
by one thing.
The whole of this Post Office issue
has, er, turned into probably
the worst unpaid full-time job
you can imagine.
I'm gonna do the cat,
and I'll have her sitting down
on the carpet here,
looking up at him as if to say,
"Well, when are you gonna finish,
you know?
"When are you gonna take a break?"
Because you are hearing stories
of such distress and family ruin.
So you couldn't give up
working on something like this
because it developed
a life of its own.
And it wasn't just me.
Other people were
chasing their own MPs.
The good thing about being an MP is,
if you contact someone like
the Chairman of the Post Office
and say, "I'd like to meet you
to talk this through,"
they tend to respond.
Erm, Mrs Hamilton?
That's me.
James Arbuthnot.
Thank you for coming.
'He came out to the shop
and met my parents.'
And he was just
a thoroughly decent guy.
There are two other cases
in my constituency alone.
Wow, really?
It's very odd, isn't it?
I thought, "There's something
obviously not right."
'And so I went to see
'the then Chief Executive
of the Post Office, Paula Vennells.'
We're the ones who are going
to keep the Post Office
as relevant and as loved
and as trusted in the communities
that it is today.
Paula Vennells was hired
by the Post Office in 2007.
By 2012, she'd worked her way up
to the top job,
and used her in-house PR
to highlight her commitment
to subpostmasters.
I say this very specifically,
putting our subpostmasters
and the colleagues
who work in our agency branches
right at the forefront
of everything we think about.
It was Paula Vennells who suggested
that what we needed
was forensic accountants
to go into the allegations,
and we said,
"That's exactly what we need.
"Who would you recommend?"
Ron Warmington runs Second Sight.
I was Head of Investigations
for one of the world's biggest banks
for many years.
And now I'm meant to be retired.
The only reason I'm not retired
is because of this case.
Ron's investigation was paid for
by the Post Office itself.
But, obviously, we had
very serious concerns that
it's gonna be a bit of a whitewash.
So Alan and the MPs brought in
their own top forensic accountant.
Kay Linnell flew at me
like a tigress.
I don't doubt
your paper qualifications,
I have them here in front of me,
but I see nothing to persuade me
that Second Sight
is remotely capable
of producing
a truly independent report.
Clearly suspecting that either
we were hired to do a whitewash
or that
we'd be hopelessly incompetent -
probably, she thought both.
The involvement
with the Post Office
started with Jo Hamilton,
my local subpostmistress.
Kay volunteered
to help the subpostmasters.
I had no idea
how long it would take,
but I knew we had a room of people
who had lost everything
or were losing everything,
and people were still being
prosecuted almost on a daily basis.
And I knew we had to do something
to try and stop the tide
or raise the profile.
She clearly was exactly
the person we needed.
Having had that meeting
with Ron and Ian,
which I suspect they will remember,
I was satisfied
they would do an independent job.
Ron's team began their investigation
in 2012.
At that time,
the Post Office continued
to prosecute subpostmasters.
Basically, I was told I was going
to get two years in prison.
In the West Midlands,
Jess was convinced a faulty PIN pad
on her Horizon terminal
had caused the shortfall.
And she pleaded not guilty to theft.
But the case dragged on
for three years.
Went to numerous courts
up and down the country.
In Wolverhampton Crown Court,
the judge said,
"Where's the PIN pad?"
And the Post Office said,
"The PIN pad's been taken away
for repair."
And so the judge said, "Well...
"If it's gone for repair,
it was faulty."
That's when it all got thrown out,
By then, the damage had been done.
The stress that we'd been through,
the trauma that we'd been through,
lied to, bullied,
it all mounted up,
and I ended up in hospital.
And I-I went to commit suicide.
I even tried to commit suicide
in hospital.
Jess was so ill,
the doctors decided to treat her
with electroconvulsive therapy.
All I remember
is they used to put this...
Like a helmet type thing on my head.
And the shockwaves
were going through my brain.
So I had... I think I had
14 treatments like that.
After that, I lost all my memory.
I don't remember anything
from my childhood.
I couldn't sleep
unless I had sleeping tablets.
Put me on numerous medication...
..which I'm still on today.
And it's all down
to the Post Office.
During Ron's investigation,
it became clear
the Post Office had
some serious questions to answer.
There were documents which
looked extremely suspicious,
very poor investigative processes
that were directed
blatantly at simply
recovering assets
by trying to get
the easiest conviction possible,
which generally
was false accounting,
using as a cudgel,
bluffing that they had a theft case.
I'm pretty used to being able
to detect crooks.
But when I really dug deeper,
I didn't find any evidence
of theft at all.
We didn't know whether
the investigation would work,
but the very fact that they had
access to Post Office's data,
erm, seemed quite promising.
And at that time, we did understand
that Post Office... did actually
want to get to the truth.
I felt we were getting somewhere.
Ha, little did I know
how long the journey was gonna be.
Remote access to the system
was always a huge concern.
And the reason why
was it meant that someone else
could be accessing your accounts
on your counter in your Post Office,
and you did not know about it.
When the Post Office rolled out
their new computer system,
every subpostmaster's computer
was hard-wired to a central hub.
This was located at the headquarters
of the company
who designed and managed Horizon,
Post Office were quite adamant
that no-one else
could ever access the systems
or do anything like this at all.
And that was something
that we wanted Second Sight
to prove had occurred,
or how it had occurred.
I went to Fujitsu headquarters
with the intention of helping
and looking at the system,
and how we accounted for
bureau de change within branches.
Er, Michael Rudkin
to see George Delph.
That was the purpose of my visit.
'I arrived, as scheduled,
about ten o'clock in the morning.'
'Went into reception.'
Mr Rudkin, George Delph, hi.
'Within a few minutes,
my chaperone arrived.'
I was really taken aback
by the number of security doors
that we had to pass through.
I was encouraged to enter into
the boiler room by my chaperone.
And in doing so, I then recognised
to the right-hand side of me,
there's two Horizon terminals
on this workbench.
One of the guys not happy with
my presence gets up and walks out.
My chaperone said,
"This is my covert operations team
and my covert operations room."
He proceeded to enter into
this particular account,
and he started, er,
altering figures,
which I said to him,
"Is this real-time?"
He says,
"Look, I'll just prove it."
He says, "I'll alter the Euro
figures in this branch's accounts."
You're inside some subpostmaster's
Horizon, and he doesn't know?
In total disbelief, I said,
"Are you sure you can
alter these figures in real time?"
And he said, "Yes."
I said,
"Well, for your information..."
I've been telling my members
for years,
no-one else has access
to their branch accounts.
' "And here you are proving
that you've got remote access." '
At which there was an immediate look
of disdain on his face,
and then ushered me out,
and more or less thrown out
as though I was...
..a thief.
I said to Michael, "Your story
is really, really interesting.
"But Post Office, of course,
"will ask for evidence
to support what you're saying.
"So we need to find
the visitors book."
The so-called visitors book
that I signed,
ironically, is the only
visitors book that's disappeared.
"So, Michael, you need to have
a look through your email records
"to see if you can find the
invitation that came through to you,
"so get to it, Michael,
I need it, and I need it quickly."
I had a telephone conversation
with Ron.
I said, "I have the evidence.
Are you in front of your computer?"
He said, "Yes."
I said, "Well,
I'm pressing send now." I did.
The reply came back.
"Oh, my effing good God.
"They are now going to become
a hostage to fortune."
The day after Michael's visit
to Fujitsu,
Post Office officials
paid him a visit.
What come as an even greater shock
was the orders that then came
into my bedroom at 8:30
that following morning,
sat on the edge of my bed, and said,
"You've got a 44,000 shortage
in your office."
My wife, Susan,
who's managing the branch,
ended up being convicted
with 300 hours community service,
electronically tagged
for six months.
She had to live through
and endure that experience.
In 2013, Second Sight
published their initial findings.
With Ron's report
in the public domain,
Post Office management
changed their approach.
Paula Vennells rang me up to say,
"What we're proposing
is a mediation scheme
"between the subpostmasters
and the Post Office,
"with a senior judge
as the mediator.
"And that will be able to get
to the bottom of all these cases."
And I said,
"Well, that sounds right and proper.
"Let's go ahead with that."
Alan put forward 150 cases
for the new scheme.
The whole process was only meant
to take X amount of months in total.
It was running into years.
You're supposed to go to mediation
with a willingness to settle,
but it appeared that the Post Office
was sending two lawyers
who turned up and said,
"You're out of time to make a claim,
it's over six years old. Forget it."
I think they were actually
uncovering the real truth
of what had been going on,
and they didn't want
to come forward with it.
The Post Office has spent
public money on a mediation scheme
which they themselves
have set out to sabotage.
In Westminster, James Arbuthnot
was working hard to keep the case
in the public eye.
And they've broken their word
to Members of Parliament
in so many different respects
that it is frankly bewildering.
If you could just introduce yourself
for voice transcription purposes.
Paula Vennells,
Chief Executive of Post Office.
And then Paula was called in
to face MPs.
'People do not like appearing
in front of select committees.'
Because the select committee
may get to the bottom of things
that the witnesses may prefer
that they didn't.
Before the hearing,
Paula Vennells asked colleagues
to help clarify what she should say.
Here we go.
A copy of her email
has since come to light.
"Urgent: Accessing Horizon.
"Dear both, your help,
please, in prep for the SC,
"the select committee hearing."
That's obviously the question
she's being warned
she's gonna have to answer.
This is a system that works well,
and it works well
for the vast majority of people.
For those it doesn't work for,
we are doing our utmost.
I've got Nadhim,
and then I've got Brian...
The MPs wanted to know why
the Post Office had been obstructive
during Second Sight's investigation.
Paula, why don't you
give those files over?
What's the problem?
Erm, so, I...
I think the point I want
to pick up first, if I may...
No, just...
No, answer my question first.
Why won't you give Ian Henderson
those files? Why?
We have...
As far as I'm aware, Mr Zahawi,
we have shared whatever information
was appropriate on every single...
That's not what
Ian Henderson's saying.
It is the first time personally
I have heard that.
You're the head of the organisation.
Will you provide it? Yes or no?
I'm not prepared,
on behalf of the Post Office...
Right, I've got my answer,
so you won't...
No, you haven't got your answer,
you haven't heard a yes or no.
I'm simply saying
that at the moment,
I'm not able to answer
your question.
'It was pointed out to her
time after time
'that she was in charge
and the decisions were with her.'
But it just seemed to wash over her.
Well, this sounds like a shambles
to me.
You came in here, opened by saying
the system's working beautifully.
You now realise why you're in front
of the committee, is that right?
The system... The reason...
Ian said...
I just couldn't understand
why, even after that,
she didn't take things on board
and actually be honest and own up
and actually try and resolve it,
which she should've done
far earlier.
I'm very sorry
that I can't answer that. It's..
When I listened to the evidence
from Paula Vennells...
..I realised
what we were gonna be up against,
and just what it looks like.
I have been told that
we're providing information.
It looks like
it's a massive corporate cover-up.
Then, a few weeks after
the select committee hearing,
the Post Office
changed their approach again.
Post Office dynamited
the mediation working group
and fired everybody.
I think at that stage,
she decided it was preferable
to cover up the injustice
and to allow these subpostmasters
to go to the wall.
And I think that's shocking.
We were growing information,
we were growing data.
For more than ten years,
Alan Bates and his team
of campaigners
had been carefully
gathering evidence bit by bit
against the Post Office.
Because we had those documents,
there was a possibility then
of starting some sort of litigation
in the civil courts
against the Post Office.
If we could find a legal firm
to take it on board for us.
'The headlines this morning.
'A report has criticised
the Post Office for sacking
'or prosecuting subpostmasters
'without establishing the cause
of cash shortfalls
'at their branches.'
Driving into work, normal day,
into Leeds,
and I heard a BBC radio programme.
'If the cash recorded
by the computer system
'does not match up with the cash
that's actually held at the branch,
'then they are held responsible
for it.'
I thought, "There may be something
we could do about this to help,"
because it didn't sound right,
so I contacted Alan Bates.
I explained the case to him,
I showed him the type of evidence
that we had at the time.
And I explained we had no money
at all,
but we felt there was a case there.
So I needed to weigh up
whether or not
we could raise the necessary
litigation funding.
There are specialist funders
who are willing to take the risk,
but only if there are enough of you.
Because otherwise we knew
that Post Office would outspend us
and we would lose.
The only way that we were gonna
be able to break through this
and uncover it
was a full-scale group action.
Group litigation orders are used
when you've got very poor claimants
and they've got enough similarity
in their cases
that you can literally fund one case
and solve a lot
of people's problems.
It was the only way, and to do that,
we needed a much larger group
of postmasters.
How many would you need?
At least 500.
The meeting kicked off
a nationwide search
to find subpostmasters
who'd had problems with Horizon.
Eventually, 555 people pursued
a group litigation order
against the Post Office.
The case against Post Office
was very much to expose
the way individuals had
been mistreated in there.
The lack of information
that was available from Post Office.
The flaws in the system
they'd never owned up to.
The denial that had happened,
the bullying that had gone on.
The abuse of individuals, the way
that they'd raided people's houses.
The way they'd been so high-handed,
God almighty, didn't give a damn,
their Post Office
and they can do what they want -
that's what we wanted exposing.
Alan had found the lawyers,
they'd got the funding.
And we were on.
Alan and the Justice
For Subpostmasters Alliance
finally took the Post Office
to court to seek financial redress.
Well, I went four days
after my mum died.
She'd said to me,
"Please don't stop."
And she said, "I'll be with you.
"Wherever you are,
I'll be with you."
And, erm, yeah, four days later,
I went to court.
Among Alan's group
of 555 subpostmasters
were people whose lives had been
devastated by the Post Office.
Many had been bankrupted,
prosecuted or imprisoned.
Gathering enough evidence
at the beginning of the case
was challenging because
Post Office had the evidence,
which meant we were having
to build the case
with one arm tied behind our backs.
But during the case, the Post Office
was forced to disclose evidence
they'd always claimed
was irrelevant.
So, what we've got here
is a known-error log.
So what this records is the fact
that there were internet problems,
network problems,
which were causing the error
in the system,
which in turn were messing up
the figures
and causing a financial discrepancy.
This particular example showed that
the transaction that had gone wrong
needed to be manually corrected.
They had teams and teams of people
doing it all day long, year on year.
Quite often in litigation cases,
in court cases, lawyers will say,
"Well, very rarely are we ever
gonna find a smoking gun."
These were smoking guns.
Not just one smoking gun,
multiple smoking guns,
which prove to us
and prove to the court
that there were multiple problems
in the system,
there had been from day one
when it was installed.
And that was why Post Office
lost the court case.
At the end of the court hearings,
Justice Fraser delivered
a 330-page judgement
outlining his findings
on the Horizon system.
On the day the judgement
was handed down,
our side was totally crammed
with people.
The other side of the court,
there were just two people.
They knew what was gonna happen,
they knew which way this judgement
was going to land, and it did.
Mr Justice Fraser's
Horizon Issues judgement:
"This approach by the Post Office
"has amounted, in reality,
to bear assertions and denials..."
"..that ignore
what has actually occurred."
"It amounts to
the 21st-century equivalent
"of maintaining
that the Earth is flat."
Good old Justice Fraser.
The judge said there seemed
to be a culture of secrecy
and excessive confidentially
within the Post Office.
We couldn't be more happy
with the judgement from the court.
This has been the result
of many years' work
to achieve justice
for over 550 people.
It was overwhelming. It was utterly,
utterly damning of Post Office,
and it just vindicated everything
we'd ever said about them.
The win was one of the best days
of my life.
The civil justice system in the UK
had got to the truth.
But the win came
at huge financial cost.
Although the Post Office agreed
to pay 57.5 million in damages,
after legal costs,
the subpostmasters were left
with around 20,000 each.
But the civil court win
did enable the subpostmasters
to appeal
their criminal convictions.
These subpostmasters have not only
had their convictions quashed,
but they've been exonerated
by the Court of Appeal.
I'm not a criminal any more,
I'm a victim.
To date,
93 out of 736 subpostmasters
have had their names cleared.
The sun was shining, and I was free.
How do you feel now?
Very happy.
At last, you could go home
and tell people you were innocent.
That emotion will...
It was like lifting
that big rucksack
with rocks on your back for years,
and getting rid of it.
Thank you, all.
Let him through, please.
You know,
you could just throw it away.
It was such a big, big relief,
cos the Post Office did a lot
of damage, really, to him.
It's something that we couldn't
fathom that was gonna happen to him.
I didn't have this many people
at my wedding.
But I'm seeing my dad coming back
now, you know, bit by bit.
So we are really grateful,
you know, that we've had this chance
to see that, cos not many have.
Well done. Well done.
God's got me through everything.
I just thought I wanted to
bring you here to show you as well.
I've built myself up.
I've made myself stronger,
and I want everybody to know
that I wasn't a thief.
I didn't rob the Post Office,
as they say.
That's what matters to me,
my name cleared.
And it needs to be told.
Our stories do need to be out there.
It's not just...
a little group of people,
it's hundreds.
Hundreds of people
have been through this.
Everybody ready?
A statutory inquiry has been set up
to find out what went wrong.
Would you not remember
something that significant?
I'm afraid I don't.
I'm sorry, I don't have
an awful lot of memory on that.
I don't remember that at all.
I know who should be
held to account.
I mean, it's the people
who have had a very cushy lifestyle
on vast quantities of money,
whilst they've made hundreds, if not
thousands of individuals suffer,
whilst knowing the real truth
of what's been going on
and denying the truth
to all these individuals.
Those are the people
who should be held responsible.