EXPEDITING APPEALS OF THOSE CONVICTED IN POST OFFICE SCANDAL – Justice secretary in talks with senior judges 

The justice secretary is meeting with senior judges today to discuss ways to accelerate the appeals of those convicted in the Horizon scandal, with cabinet minister Mel Stride saying an announcement could come this week.

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 700 Post Office branch managers were convicted after the faulty Horizon software made it look like money was missing from their shops.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said his colleague, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, is having discussions with “senior members within the justice system to see what can be done to expedite and accelerate” those appealing their convictions.

Two former justice secretaries have called for legislation to override the convictions, although other options mooted include a mass appeal, or removing the Post Office from the appeals process.

Postal minister Kevin Hollinrake met with Mr Chalk yesterday to discuss the way forward. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hollinrake said they had “devised some options for resolving the outstanding criminal convictions with much more pace”.

He also said legislation to create a presumption of innocence had been considered.

Considerable compensation has already been paid out to some of those impacted by the scandal, and more money is expected to be released in the future.

Asked if Fujitsu, the company that developed the software, would be required to contribute to compensation rather than it all coming from taxpayer coffers, Mr Stride told Sky News this would be decided following the conclusion of the independent inquiry into the scandal.

Many of the sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses were jailed, bankrupted and in some cases, took their own lives – but so far only 93 convictions have been overturned.