• Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Ex-post office boss apologises for celebrating jailing of pregnant postmistress

Seema Misra was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2010, after being wrongfully blamed for a £74,000 shortfall in her accounts. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

A former post office managing director has told the inquiry committee he is ‘hugely apologetic’ for celebrating when a pregnant postmistress was wrongfully jailed in Britain’s post office scandal.

Seema Misra, who was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2010, after being wrongfully blamed for a £74,000 shortfall in her accounts, told Eastern Eye in January that more than a decade later she still gets flashbacks about her time in prison and being tagged.

In an email sent to post office executives, the ex-post office boss, David Smith, apologised for an email saying the jailing of pregnant sub-postmaster Seema Misra was “brilliant news.”

He wrote: “Knowing what I do now, it is evident that my email would have caused Seema Misra and her family substantial distress to read, and I would like to apologise for that.”

Smith said his comment of “brilliant news” earlier was in relation to Horizon (IT system) being “proved to be robust following the testing of evidence in the trial,” reported The Telegraph.

“I would absolutely never think that it was ‘brilliant news’ for a pregnant woman to go to prison, and I am hugely apologetic that my email can be read as such.”

Misra, the former Surrey sub-postmistress, had told Eastern Eye that she was prepared to abort her unborn son, for whom her husband and she had been trying for eight years if it meant having him in jail.

Misra said that no amount of money could compensate her family for the suffering they endured and continue to face.

Hundreds of self-employed workers at the state-owned Post Office were wrongly prosecuted or convicted between 1999 and 2015 for false accounting, theft, and fraud because of glitches in a software system that incorrectly showed money missing from accounts.

In a more than 20-year scandal, some postal workers were sent to prison, and others lost their livelihoods and homes.

An independent inquiry as well as a police investigation into the scandal are being carried out, and business executives and former ministers are under scrutiny, reported Reuters.

Pakistan Weekly

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