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Carmichael calls for ‘full compensation’ for victims of Horizon Post Office scandal

The challenges faced by a former Stromness postmistress, the late Elena Kimmett, have been raised in Parliament by Alistair Carmichael MP.

The extreme difficulties faced by a former Stromness postmistress in her attempt to get compensation from the Post Office have been raised in Parliament today.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael spoke about the local story, as he called for “full compensation” for all victims of the Horizon Post Office scandal.

Between 1999 and 2015, the Post Office prosecuted 736 sub-postmasters and mistresses based on information from the faulty Horizon IT system.

More than 700 branch managers were given criminal convictions — 93 of these convictions have been overturned to date.

Mr Carmichael, previously led a debate in Parliament on the administration of the Historic Shortfall Scheme, set up by the Post Office to compensate those victimised by the Horizon scandal, and raised concerns about the way the scheme was being run.

In particular, he raised the serious challenges faced by the late Elena Kimmett and her family in securing compensation.

Speaking in the House on Monday evening, Mr Carmichael said: “The minister has heard from me previously about the difficulties faced by the executors of my constituent, who was a victim of this scandal and has subsequently died.

“Ultimately, the difficulty with my constituent’s case was that she had been putting in her own money to make up shortfalls and the executors did not know how much they should settle for, because the Post Office itself had no idea what the proper sum ought to be.

“In such circumstances, what can the Government do to ensure every victim of this scandal gets the full compensation to which they are entitled?”

Responding for the Government, parliamentary under-secretary of state for business and trade, Kevin Hollinrake MP said: “Again, I thank the right honourable gentleman for the work he has done on behalf of his constituent and I am so sorry to hear she has passed away. I have a similar situation in my constituency.

“As the right honourable gentleman knows, compensation will be paid to the executors, who will probably be family members, so it is not about any saving of money but nevertheless we still want to accelerate the process.

“I totally agree with what he says about the lack of evidence in some cases, which may be 20-years-old. In those situations, the benefit of the doubt should be with the victim, ensuring that the settlement is assessed as generously as possible and paid out as quickly as possible.”