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Stroud Horizon victim still waiting for compensation

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Chalford Hill Post Office Manager Nichola Arch, falsely accused of theft by the Post Office in 2000, but found not guilty in court, is still fighting for proper compensation 24 years later.

Ms Arch lost her livelihood, her business, her reputation and her home following the Post Office’s accusations, despite being fully exonerated.

Dr Simon Opher, local GP and Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the Stroud constituency said: “This case is shocking. That the Government has still not offered adequate compensation two decades after Nicki was acquitted is bad enough, but this week’s suggestions that senior Post Office executives were rewarded for delaying and minimising compensation payments is beyond the pale. 

“Nicki was in her twenties when she was accused. She’s had her life taken away from her. Rishi Sunak needs to get a grip and do the right thing right now. The hundreds of victims of the Horizon scandal like Nicki Arch must receive proper reparations as a matter of absolute urgency.”

In one of the higher profile Horizon cases, Nichola Arch was dismissed by the Post Office in January 2000 after apparent accounting irregularities were reported by the Horizon system which she was asked to trial in Chalford Hill as part of an initial roll-out of the now discredited system. 

Ms Arch had been raising concerns with the Post Office and Fujitsu – the Horizon system’s developers and operators – about its reliability and accuracy, and protested her innocence of any wrongdoing since its introduction. Despite concerns being raised by dozens of other Post Office Managers and subpostmasters, the Post Office pressed criminal charges. Although she was found not guilty at Bristol Crown Court in 2002, by then Nichola Arch’s reputation as an upstanding, popular and trustworthy pillar of the local community had already been ruined. 

“The Post Office has been dragging its feet for too long. Decades in fact. And now it needs to pay proper compensation for their victims’ real losses. Not the paltry amounts they’re trying to get away with.” Nichola Arch said. “We have lost colleagues along the way who didn’t live long enough to have the injustice they suffered properly recognised, and financial amends made.

“Even the Government’s latest commitment to address full compensation claims within 40 days isn’t being met. Mine has been outstanding for 56 days and counting. It’s appalling.”

“I call on the Government to do the right thing, and get these claims resolved once and for all.”

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