Toby Jones plays Alan Bates in ITV’s Mr Bates vs the Post Office(Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
More than 700 Post Office branch managers were accused of wrongdoing after faulty Fujitsu accounting software made it appear as though money was missing from their outlets.
The four-part series, released on New Year’s Day, told the real-life story of how dozens of innocent people were sent to jail for theft and fraud and others were driven to bankruptcy and suicide before a group led by Alan Bates (Toby Jones) took the Post Office to the High Court in a fight for justice.
Determined to prove his innocence, Alan, who in 2003 had possession of his Post Office in Craig-y-Don, north Wales, spent years tracking down others who had also been accused of falsifying records and pocketing money from their businesses, whilst at the same time the Post Office was taking 700 employees to court for theft, false accounting and fraud.
It was ruled in the High Court case that the missing money was the fault of computer errors and the Post Office was ordered to pay £58million in compensation for the false prosecutions. However, after their legal costs were paid, the group were left with only £12million, which totalled around £20,000 each, far less than some had lost.
Scotland Yard said on Friday evening officers were ‘investigating potential fraud offences arising out of these prosecutions’, for example, ‘monies recovered from sub-postmasters as a result of prosecutions or civil actions’.
Alan Bates fought for justice (Picture: Roland Hoskins/ANL/REX/Shutterstock)
The force also said in the statement: ‘The Met is investigating potential offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice.
‘These potential offences arise out of investigations and prosecutions carried out by the Post Office.
‘The investigation was launched in January 2020 following a referral from the DPP.
‘Two people have been interviewed under caution. Nobody has been arrested.’
Viewers have been left shocked by series (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)
Many viewers have been shocked to discover what had previously been labelled one of the UK’s ‘biggest miscarriages of justice’, as well as details about how people were pushed to even take their own lives while trying to clear their names.
Up until the start of this week, the petition had around 1000 signatures, within days, it had over 300,000 signatures.
In 2020, the government initiated an independent inquiry, which was then converted to a public one the following year, looking into whether the Post Office and software supplier Fujitsu knew about the faults in the IT system.
It was intended to be completed a few months ago but is still ongoing.
The real-life Alan Bates says in the documentary Mr Bates vs the Post Office: The Real Story that he is not finished with his fight against the Post Office.
Mr Bates vs The Post Office is available to watch on ITVX
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