• Saturday, May 25, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Seema Misra rejects apology from former Post Office boss

Misra was eight weeks pregnant with her second child when she was sentenced to 15 months in prison

Seema Misra (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A former sub-postmistress who was wrongly imprisoned while pregnant has declined to accept an apology from a former Post Office boss who praised the team involved in her wrongful conviction.

Seema Misra was eight weeks pregnant with her second child when she was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2010.

The then-managing director of the Post Office, David Smith, sent an email to his colleagues congratulating them on Misra’s conviction.

“Brilliant news. Well done,”he wrote in the email.

During an inquiry into the Post Office scandal on Thursday (11), Smith, who was the boss from April to October 2010, apologised to Misra. He mentioned that looking back, his email sent after her conviction was not well considered.

However, Misra rejected the apology saying that they (Post Office officials) need to apologise to her 10-year-old sun.

“How can I accept the apology? They need to apologise to my 10 year old, they took his mum away on his birthday,” she was quoted as saying.

“I was eight weeks pregnant – they need to apologise to my youngest son. It was terrible. I haven’t accepted the apologies.”

She told the BBC that she had seen Smith’s email before. “Seeing it again makes me more and more angry,” she added.

Misra said that they are apologising only now but had ‘missed so many chances before’.

“We had my conviction overturned, nobody came at that time to apologise. And now they just suddenly realised that when they have to appear in a public inquiry, they have to apologise,” she added.

During the inquiry, Smith said that Misra had been used as a “test case”. According to him, the success of the case led to more confidence in Horizon.

In response, Misra said, “How can they do a test on a human being?”

“I’m a living creature. I heard that my case has been used as a test case before. But hearing it again and again, it’s just annoying. It makes me more and more angry, to be honest.”

Misra went to jail on her oldest son’s 10th birthday. She was wrongly accused of stealing £70,000 from her Post Office branch in West Byfleet, Surrey. After four-and-a-half months in prison, she gave birth to her second child while wearing an electronic tag.

Misra’s conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2021. She was among over 700 sub-postmasters and postmistresses charged between 1999 and 2015 due to discrepancies caused by the Horizon computer system.

It wrongly indicated that money was disappearing from their branches. Like Misra, some were imprisoned, while others faced financial ruin, losing their livelihoods and homes. Tragically, some passed away before seeing justice served.

The ongoing public inquiry aims to determine who was aware of the problematic accounting software and when, which caused significant harm, including massive debts, health issues, damaged reputations, and the wrongful prosecution of numerous innocent sub-postmasters for theft and false accounting.

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