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Post Office ‘accidentally publishes details of wrongly convicted sub-postmasters’

The Post Office has accidentally published the names and home addresses of hundreds of sub-postmasters wrongfully convicted in the Horizon scandal, according to reports.

A dossier allegedly entitled “Confidential Settlement Deed”, is said to have shown the details of 555 of those involved in suing the Post Office in 2019, including their postcodes. It was on the website on Wednesday but later taken down, the Daily Mail reported.

A Post Office spokesperson said: “The document in question has been removed from our website.

“We are investigating as an urgent priority how it came to be published. We are in the process of notifying the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of the incident, in line with our regulatory requirements.”

An ICO spokesperson said they had not received a data breach report, but added: “Organisations must notify the ICO within 72 hours of becoming aware of a personal data breach, unless it does not pose a risk to people’s rights and freedoms.

“If an organisation decides that a breach doesn’t need to be reported they should keep their own record of it and be able to explain why it wasn’t reported if necessary.”

More than 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office and handed criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015 as Fujitsu’s faulty system, Horizon, made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

Hundreds of victims are awaiting compensation despite the Government announcing that those who have had convictions quashed are eligible for £600,000 payouts.

In 2017, legal action was launched against the Post Office by the 555 sub-postmasters.

Two years later, a High Court judge ruled that Horizon contained a number of “bugs, errors and defects” and there was a “material risk” that shortfalls in Post Office branch accounts were caused by the system.

The Post Office agreed to pay out £58m to them.

Separately, today the Horizon IT inquiry will hear from Graham Ward, a former Post Office security team casework manager and financial investigator, Tony Kearns, senior deputy general secretary of the Communications Workers Union, and Kay Linnell, forensic accountant and adviser to the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance.

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