Six former Post Office workers wrongly convicted of stealing from their employer because of a flaw in the computing system have finally had their names cleared following a years-long legal battle.
The ex-postmasters had all noticed cash shortfalls in the Fujitsu-developed Horizon computer system - in use between 1999 and 2015 - but had no idea where the missing money had gone.
The Post Office had known about the issues in the accounting software at the time but failed to inform the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about them, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Scores of employees were then accused of stealing from their own tills and pressured into pleading guilty to crimes they never committed.
The scandal has been described as one of Britain's biggest miscarriages of justice.
But after years of legal battles, Norman Barber, 62, and wife Amanda Barber, 51, of Warrington, Cheshire, along with Mohamed Aslam, 60, Anthony John Gant, 51, of Shrewsbury, Balbir Grewal, 66, of Luton, and David Hughes, 35, also of Warrington, were all cleared on Thursday.
Judge Deborah Taylor told the six: 'It may have taken some time but each of these defendants walk away from the court with no stain on their character.'
Six former postmasters had their convictions relating to the Post Office Horizon IT scandal quashed on Thursday (Pictured right to left: Norman Barker, Amanda Barker, Balbir Grewal, Kirsty Gant, Anthony Gant and his stepdaughter Megan)
Mr Gant had pleaded guilty to false accounting at Shrewsbury and North Shropshire Magistrates' Court on October 29 2007 and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment suspended for 12 months and 100 hours of unpaid work - he has now had his name cleared
Mr Gant was all smiles with his wife and step-daughter outside court on Thursday after having his conviction quashed
The group's convictions were quashed after a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in January 2001. This takes the total number of Post Office referrals made by the CCRC to 57
They had attended court alongside supporters to finally see their convictions overturned.
Their convictions were quashed after a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in January 2001.
This takes the total number of Post Office referrals made by the CCRC to 57.
But hundreds more convicted postmasters are expected to have their names cleared as their cases make their way through the courts.
Simon Baker, QC, for the Post Office, told the court there are 'clear and cogent reasons' to quash the convictions for each of the appellants.
Had the CPS been aware that the Horizon system was showing shortfalls where none existed, none of the postmasters would have been prosecuted at the time, the court heard.
The six postmasters cleared today are among hundreds who are believed to have admitted crimes they did not commit in the Post Office Horizon scandal. The six had admitted to the following:
Mr Aslam pleaded guilty to false accounting at Newport Magistrates' Court on January 23 2007 and was sentenced to 60 hours of unpaid work and a £300 fine.
Mrs Barber pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at Warrington Magistrates' Court on June 6 2012 and was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work.
Mr Barber also pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at Warrington Magistrates' Court on June 6 2012 and was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work.
Mr Gant pleaded guilty to false accounting at Shrewsbury and North Shropshire Magistrates' Court on October 29 2007 and was sentenced to 6 months' imprisonment suspended for 12 months and 100 hours of unpaid work.
Mr Grewal pleaded guilty to false accounting at Luton Magistrates' Court on August 13 2001 and was sentenced to a suspended sentence and a community order.
Mr Hughes pleaded guilty to making a false instrument at Workington Magistrates' Court and was sentence to a community order of 12 months and 100 hours of unpaid work.
'In all of these cases, the Post Office cases that were brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, verdicts of not guilty will be entered against all of the appellant for the reasons set out by the Court of Appeal in the case of Hamilton and others,' said Judge Taylor.
It comes after the Post Office agreed this week to hand over secret emails from its lawyers which could explain why hundreds of its subpostmasters were wrongly prosecuted for fraud, theft and false accounting.
Insiders estimate that the ongoing inquiry will be given tens of millions of documents, spanning over 20 years of e-mails and letters between Post Office staff and internal legal advisers, barristers and solicitors' firms.
The documents will allow the inquiry to test claims made by the Post Office's former chief executive, Paula Vennells, a part-time priest, that she was led astray by her legal advisers.
The Post Office does not legally have to hand over the papers but volunteered them at the request of the inquiry's chairman, Sir Wyn Williams.