14 May 2024
MP Vara calls for Horizon Scandal Lawyers to be held to account

Former Justice Minister Shailesh Vara MP today spoke in the House of Commons to hold to account the Post Office lawyers responsible for prosecuting the sub-postmasters affected by the Horizon scandal.

Whilst recognising that there is currently an inquiry being conducted into the scandal, Mr Vara asked the Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk KC MP, what his Department was doing to

“hold to account those lawyers who prosecuted sub-postmasters despite the evidence being to the contrary?”

In a robust reply, the Lord Chancellor said that

“Anybody who appears in court, but particularly prosecutors, must be mindful of their solemn and sacred duty to disclose material to the defence that might reasonably be considered capable of undermining the case for the prosecution” and added that this was “literally the most important rule.”

He went on to say that

“if they failed in this case, [he] would expect the appropriate authorities to take robust and prompt action.”

Following the exchange, Mr Vara said:

“The manner in which the sub-postmasters were treated is appalling and those responsible must be brought to account.

I am grateful to the Lord Chancellor for his robust and very clear response to my question.

There have clearly been failures in the legal process, as well as by some of the lawyers acting for the Post Office. Those failings need to be thoroughly investigated, and action taken where necessary.”