• Thursday, June 13, 2024

News

Post Office: Sushma Blaggan’s conviction overturned after 20-year battle

Blaggan’s husband said that Horizon scandal ‘destroyed their lives’

By: Pramod Thomas

FORMER sub-postmistress Sushma Blaggan has had her conviction overturned this week after a 20-year fight for justice stemming from the Post Office Horizon scandal.

Blaggan, 62, operated Dale Acre Post Office in Litherland, Merseyside, while her husband, Narrinder, 58, managed the connected retail shop.

The couple encountered issues with the Horizon accounting system, and in 2004, an audit revealed an unexplained £8,000 shortfall. Blaggan was subsequently suspended and convicted of theft, resulting in 240 hours of community service.

A decade later, Narrinder faced similar issues at the Monument Place Post Office in Liverpool, leading to his suspension and financial ruin, as he was forced to sell his branch and remortgage their home.

Blaggan’s conviction was quashed by the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday (22). She and her husband attended the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry immediately afterward, accompanied by their legal team from Hudgell Solicitors. Former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells also gave testimony on the same day.

“For Sushma to have appeared in court two decades after being wrongfully prosecuted, and for an inquiry only to be hearing from Ms Vennells as to what went wrong on the very same day, just shows how badly subpostmasters have been let down. Sushma was destroyed by what happened to her,” Narrinder was quoted as saying.

“When she was first suspended she tried to commit suicide, and then she did so again after she had been convicted.” It destroyed our lives. This should have been prevented, and certainly justice should have been done for sub-postmasters much quicker than this. We should have had answers and the full truth long ago.”

According to reports, the Blaggans faced severe repercussions, including racial abuse and financial strain following the conviction. Narrinder had to work multiple jobs, and the family endured significant emotional and financial hardships.

Sushma is now on lifelong medication due to the trauma, and they plan to seek compensation from the Post Office.

The couple will now seek compensation from the Post Office and are being advised by Hudgell Solicitors.

Other former subpostmasters who were exonerated on Wednesday include Assad Alli, Marion Chapman, Thomas Mulhall, Kimberly Connors, and Seema Rahman. This brings the total number of people who have had their convictions related to the scandal overturned to 109.

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