The power of Mr Bates vs The Post Office in bringing about justice

It is a challenge that investigative journalist Nick Wallis, one of the key voices to first expose the Post Office scandal that began at the turn of the millennium, will know all too well.

His work helped give a voice to over 700 workers prosecuted after faulty Post Office software, known as Horizon, made it appear that money was missing.

The fight for justice in the decades since has seen Wallis publish his own book on the scandal (serialised in the Daily Mail), alongside investigations by BBC Panorama, Computer Weekly and Private Eye amongst others.

But 25 years on from the first convictions for theft and fraud, it is the four-part ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office that has renewed mass public interest in the scandal like never before.

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Westminster has tried to keep pace, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling the case an “appalling miscarriage of justice” in an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday.

The government is now under pressure to overturn wrongful convictions and deal with compensation, with ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells agreeing to hand back her CBE in response to the public outcry.

It marks a long-awaited breakthrough for victims. But why now, and why in response to a TV show?

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