The Post Office Scandal
This is the true story of how hundreds of innocent people fought to clear their names against the Post Offices refusal to accept responsibility for its failings.
Proud pillars of their communities were stripped of their jobs and livelihoods. Many were forced into bankruptcy and or borrowed from friends and family to give the Post Office thousands they did not owe. The really unlucky ones were sent to prison.
★★★The show will be introduced with a foreword by Danny Pike, the BBC Radio Sussex and BBC Radio Surrey.
We will also be joined onstage by Sami Sabet, a Sussex Sub Postmaster who had not one, but two Post Offices’ in Sussex. ★★★
Soon to be adapted into a primetime ITV drama, this jaw-dropping, unique and gripping story is now the subject of a compelling stage show.
Journalist/broadcaster Nick Wallis (BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Great Post Office Trial’, Private Eye’s ‘Justice Lost in the Post’, BBC1’s Panorama ‘Scandal at the Post Office’, The One Show and Channel 5’s ‘Criminals Caught on Camera’) has drawn on his decade of covering the story to write a best-selling book (‘The Great Post Office Scandal’ - serialised by the Daily Mail and featured by the Sunday Times), and it is this book which forms the basis of his new show.
Nick expertly chronicles the twists and turns of the scandal, taking in the shambolic commissioning of the disastrous Post Office Horizon IT system and examining the punitive methods employed by the Post Office - bypassing the police and the Crown Prosecution Service - to create the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK legal history. Nick then narrows in on the subsequent cover-up, and the staggering legal battles fought and won by campaigning Subpostmasters, against all odds. As the public inquiry into the scandal reveals yet more horrors, Nick will be able to explain the very latest developments and their significance.
Nick will be talking about his experiences and reading from his best-selling book, followed by a Q&A section, giving the audience an opportunity to explore areas in more detail.
*On some dates there may also be a special guest or two affected by the scandal who will join Nick on stage to answer questions and provide first-hand testimony.
THE BACKGROUND STORY
This is the story of how innocent people fought back to clear their names against a background of institutional arrogance and obfuscation, a fight dragged out by the Post Office's refusal to accept responsibility for its failings.
On 23rd April 2021, the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions of 39 former Subpostmasters and ruled their prosecutions were an affront to the public conscience. It is a scandal that which been described as one of the most widespread and significant miscarriages of justice in UK legal history. The 39 were just a few of the 706 people who, between 2000 and 2015, had been prosecuted by the Post Office for criminal offences on the basis of IT evidence.
The evidence came from Horizon, the Post Office's deeply flawed accounting system which threw up duplicate entries, lost transactions and made erroneous calculations. If these errors resulted in apparent losses in individual branch accounts, Subpostmasters were forced to settle the discrepancies from their own pockets, sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands or tens of thousands of pounds. Those who could not pay were sacked and taken to court. Proud pillars of the community were stripped of their jobs and livelihoods. Many were forced into bankruptcy or borrowed from friends and family to give the Post Office money they had not taken under threat of losing their business investments and jobs. The really unlucky ones were sent to prison.
Nick Wallis, an award-winning freelance journalist and broadcaster, has been pursuing this story since 2010 when he met a taxi driver who told him his pregnant wife had been sent to prison for a crime she did not commit. Since then, he has recorded interviews with dozens of victims, insiders and experts, uncovering hundreds of documents to build up an unparalleled understanding of the story. Using these sources, Nick has been instrumental in bringing the scandal into the public eye.
He broadcast his first investigation for the BBC in 2011. In the same year that he took the story to Private Eye. He has subsequently made three Panoramas, a Radio 4 series, and raised thousands of pounds to crowdfund his own court reporting for the Post Office Trial website. Nick has now written the first definitive account of the scandal which he will be touring to UK Theatres throughout 2022/23.
He takes us from the ill-fated deal that brought Horizon into existence, through years of half-truths and obstruction, to the tearful scenes at the Court of Appeal in 2021. He exposes the secrecy and mistrust at the heart of the story, and the impact that had on the victims. He also chronicles how this story's hero, Alan Bates, started as a lone public voice of dissent but went on to beat the Post Office - against overwhelming odds - at two of the highest courts in the land and win some redress for the victims.
Thursday 30th June 2022 at 7:00pm