Michael Madden

Michael Madden says people affected by the scandal have found confidence to come forward since the ITV drama aired

More people affected by the Post Office scandal have come forward since the ITV drama aired, a solicitor has said.

Michael Madden, who represents 20 sub-postmasters in Northern Ireland, said he had been approached by at least six more this week alone.

More than 900 people were prosecuted after faulty software wrongly made it look like money was missing.

Some people went to prison for false accounting and theft, while others were financially ruined by the scandal.

The controversy has been catapulted back into the spotlight by the ITV drama – Mr Bates vs The Post Office – which was broadcast last week.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the government would bring in a new law to “swiftly” exonerate and compensate victims.

He was addressing the scandal in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The law will not automatically apply in Northern Ireland or Scotland, but Postal Affairs Minister Kevin Hollinrake said that Downing Street was “keen” to extend the provisions.

The courts system in Northern Ireland is different from England and Wales.

Between 1999 and 2015, the Post Office prosecuted 700 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses based on data from faulty Horizon software. Some 283 more cases were brought by other bodies including the Crown Prosecution Service.

A public inquiry into the scandal began in February 2021 and was due to resume again on Thursday after breaking for Christmas.


Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle’s North West Today programme, Mr Madden said the response since the programme aired had been unbelievable.

“Even in the last week I have had a number of people come forward and contact me… there have been at least half a dozen that have come forward,” he said.

“I had one lady in particular which I am very confident has a very strong application to the Court of Appeal and potentially to this new scheme proposed.

“Even after years and years of these cases going to the court, people who have very good cases are only coming forward now.”

“It’s about time and it’s great that people now are getting the courage and confidence to come forward and get their reputations restored since the drama.”

Mr Madden said the drama had catapulted the scandal back into public consciousness and highlighted the devastation that it had caused to so many people.

BBC News