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Post Office Horizon: Court Of Appeal Quash Sub Post Office Operator Case

Kathleen Crane has successfully appealed against her conviction for fraud in the Post Office Horizon Scandal at the Royal Courts of Justice on 25 January at 10 am

Kathleen Crane was convicted of fraud on 30 July 2010 as part of the Post Office Horizon Scandal. It was not until after the 2021 Court of Appeal judgement in Hamilton & Others that the Post Office carried out a review and sent Kathleen a letter suggesting that her conviction may be unsafe and confirmed they would not oppose her appeal. Not surprisingly Kathleen felt unable to take action at this time because of her terrible experiences with the Post Office and the criminal courts.

Like many other victims of the Post Office scandal, Kathleen was not part of the group of subpostmasters who brought themselves to the attention of the Criminal Case Review Commission. For good reason, she and many others avoided having anything to do with the Post Office until now. With the support of her daughter, Katy Crane, Kathleen has successfully had her appeal quashed by the Court of Appeal judges, uncontested by the Post Office. Katy and Kathleen attended the hearing this morning.

Mike Schwarz, partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, who is representing Kathleen Crane and 121 Core Participants in the Post Office Inquiry, said: “It is good news that Mrs Crane’s prior convictions have been quashed. Exceptionally in my experience, it has taken just two weeks from the point of putting in her application to appeal today’s hearing, where her case was quashed at the Court of Appeal. This verdict now unlocks the doors to significant compensation for her terrible experience of being wrongly convicted. HJA welcomes the urgency with which the Court of Appeal has acted and hopes that this will inspire others affected to seek advice about their Post Office convictions.”

Kathleen’s story

On 26 October 2000, Kathleen’s late husband Robert Crane became the subpostmaster of Old Town Post Office, Eastbourne. However, due to his ill health, Kathleen took the over running of the branch.

Following an audit on 19 January 2010, Kathleen was interviewed under caution by investigators from the Post Office. She attended voluntarily without a solicitor although a ‘Post Office friend’ was present.

Kathleen was accused of taking £18,721.52 from the Post Office but maintained her innocence.

Kathleen asked for these ‘shortfalls’ to be investigated but the Post Office failed to do so and instead she was charged with fraud by false representation between 28 September 2008 and 19 January 2010.

Following advice from her lawyer at the time, Kathleen felt under pressure to accept that the Horizon system was infallible and changed her initial ‘not guilty’ plea to ‘guilty’.

At Lewes Crown Court on 30 July 2010, Kathleen was sentenced to a 12-month community order, with 200 hours unpaid work. On top of paying back the alleged shortfall in full, Kathleen and her husband had to pay £1,550 towards prosecution costs.

1Colin Savage, Janet Skinner, Lee Castleton, Mhairi McDougall, Nichola Arch, Oyeteju Adedayo, Parmod Kalia, Sathyan Shiju, Seema Misra, Tracy Felstead, Vijay Parekh and Vipin Patel

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