Nick Wallis delivers talk on the Horizon Post Office scandal at the launch of the Manchester Innocence Project
Journalist and author of 'The Great Post Office Scandal’, Nick Wallis, joined us for the official launch of the Manchester Innocence Project with a talk detailing over ten years of his experiences following the Post Office Horizon IT scandal, which saw hundreds of post office managers wrongly convicted for false accounting.
On Thursday, 17 February 2022 the School of Social Sciences celebrated the official launch of the Manchester Innocence Project, a pro-bono organisation aimed at helping the wrongfully convicted and promoting positive change in the justice system.
The Manchester Innocence Project was established when the ‘Miscarriage of Justice Review Centre’ at The University of Manchester was accepted into the US-based Innocence Network. The Project is one of only 13 non-US based members of the Network, and one of only two projects in England and Wales.
Under the supervision of academic and legal professional staff, students volunteering with the Manchester Innocence Project have the opportunity to investigate live criminal appeals, where there is evidence of a miscarriage of justice.
Nick Wallis spoke at length on the Great Post Office Scandal, one of the UK’s most significant miscarriages of justice which saw more than 700 people prosecuted by the Post Office between 2000 and 2014, due to faulty information from a computer system called Horizon.
Although sub-postmasters complained about bugs in the system showing shortfalls in accounting, 736 branch managers received criminal convictions, with many serving jail time.
A total of 72 former sub-postmasters have had their convictions overturned, with many more expected to go through the courts. A public inquiry into the Post Office Horizon IT dispute is expected to continue for the rest of the year.
Nick has been investigating the Post Office scandal since 2010 and has been instrumental in bringing the scandal into the public eye. He has authored a book, fronted a ten-part series for Radio 4 and hosted a BBC Panorama, based on his investigative work.
Former sub-postmasters, Tom Hedges and Pete Murray, also spoke to the audience about their experiences with the Post Office, Horizon, and the ongoing fight for justice.
We were honoured that Chancellor Lemn Sissay opened the event, to show his support for the Manchester Innocence Project.
Nick said “It was a delight to meet Lemn Sissay OBE and be invited by Manchester University to speak about the Post Office Horizon scandal. Hundreds of people were wrongfully prosecuted over IT evidence and found themselves unable to fight against a system which was loaded against them. I hope the Manchester Innocence Project will use the Post Office scandal as a case study going forward. The justice system has much to learn from it.”
Find out more about the Manchester Innocence Project.