AN ALLOA sub-postmaster caught up in the Horizon computer system scandal may appeal against his conviction for crimes of dishonesty.

Robert Thomson, who pleaded guilty to a charge of embezzlement at Alloa Sheriff Court in 2006, may have been a victim of a miscarriage of justice, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has ruled.

Mr Thomson was sentenced to 180 hours of community service and told to pay £5,000 in compensation.

However, he is one of six, including deceased William Quarm, now entitled to appeal against their convictions.

Between 2000 and 2014, more than 700 sub-postmasters (SPMs) were falsely prosecuted based on information from Post Office Ltd's computerised accounting and sales system, Horizon.

Since then, many SPMs south of the border have had their criminal convictions for theft, fraud and false accounting overturned.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has last week referred the cases of Mr Thomson, Aleid Kloosterhuis, Anne Quarm on behalf of deceased William Quarm, Susan Sinclair, Colin Smith and Judith Smith to the High Court of Justiciary for determination.

It ruled that the five who pleaded guilty did so in circumstances that were, or could be said to be, clearly prejudicial to them.

Bill Matthews, chairman of the commission, said: “The cases we have referred today to the High Court are exceptional in the commission’s caseload as each one is founded upon the operation of the Post Office’s computer system, Horizon, and the conduct of Post Office Ltd.

"We have issued detailed statements of reasons which address all of the relevant grounds.

“It is for the High Court to decide whether to quash the convictions of the individuals concerned.”

Regarding oppression, the commission concluded that the Horizon evidence was essential to the proof of the accounting shortfall that led to the charges being brought against Mr Thomson and others and that their prosecutions were oppressive because the process was an affront to justice.

The Horizon system started rolling out to SPM branches in 200 and from the outset, numerous branches experienced difficulties with it.

A group action of SPMs in the civil courts in England culminated in 2019 when the court released two judgments.

The court concluded that between 2000 and 2017 Horizon was not “robust”.

This led Post Office Ltd to pay compensation to most claimants.

Last year, the English Court of Appeal quashed numerous criminal convictions in cases which relied on Horizon evidence.

Michael Walker, the commission’s chief executive, added: “Our role in these six cases now ends – it is for the appeal court to decide whether any miscarriages of justice occurred.”

The commission is currently reviewing five other cases said to have been affected by Horizon and has not yet taken a final decision in each of them.

A Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service spokesman said: “We note the terms of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referral.”