Home Top News “I Was 8-Week Pregnant”: Indian-Origin Woman Who Was Wrongly Jailed In UK

“I Was 8-Week Pregnant”: Indian-Origin Woman Who Was Wrongly Jailed In UK

“I Was 8-Week Pregnant”: Indian-Origin Woman Who Was Wrongly Jailed In UK


Seema Misra, now 47, had her conviction quashed in April 2021.


An Indian-origin former manager of a Post Office in England wrongly jailed while pregnant has rejected the apology of a former boss of the government-owned entity during an ongoing public inquiry into the accounting scandal.

Seema Misra, now 47, had her conviction quashed in April 2021 as the Court of Appeal ruled that she had been wrongly imprisoned over 12 years ago after being accused of stealing GBP 75,000 from her Post Office branch in Surrey where she was the sub-postmistress.

During Thursday’s hearings for the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry in London, former Post Office Managing Director David Smith apologised for a congratulatory email he sent after Ms Misra’s conviction.

“It was intended to be a congratulatory email to the team, knowing that they had worked hard on the case,” Mr Smith said in his written evidence to the inquiry.

“However, knowing what I do now, it is evident that my email would have caused Seema Misra and her family substantial distress to read and I would like to apologise for that… Even if this had been a correct conviction, I would never think that it was ‘brilliant news’ for a pregnant woman to go to prison and I am hugely apologetic that my email can be read as such,” he said.

“However, seeing this email in the light of what I know now, I understand the anger and the upset that it will have caused and sincerely apologise for that,” he added.

But, speaking to reporters later, Ms Misra rejected the apology which comes many years after her ordeal.

“I was eight weeks pregnant – they need to apologise to my youngest son. It was terrible. I haven’t accepted the apologies,” Ms Misra told the BBC.

“We had my conviction overturned, nobody came at that time to apologise. And now they just suddenly realised that when they have to appear in a public inquiry, they have to apologise,” she said.

Ms Misra was sent to Bronzefield prison in south-east England and served four-and-a-half months, later giving birth to her second son wearing an electronic tag.

Mr Smith told the inquiry that Ms Misra had been used as a “test case” and the success of the case led to more confidence in the faulty Horizon IT accounting system.

“How can they do a test on a human being? I’m a living creature. I heard that my case had been used as a test case before. But hearing it again and again, it’s just annoying. It makes me more and more angry, to be honest,” Ms Misra told ‘Sky News’ concerning his evidence.

The UK government, which formally owns Post Office Ltd, has paid out millions in compensation to hundreds of sub-postmasters – many of them of Indian heritage – impacted by the faulty Horizon software.

Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged action in the historic scandal which wrongly accused sub-postmasters of fraud.

Last month, a new law tabled in Parliament introduced the Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill, a blanket exoneration to quash convictions brought about by erroneous Horizon evidence. A public inquiry in the case, underway in a phased manner, is expected to conclude in July.

The controversial Horizon system, developed by the Japanese company Fujitsu, was first rolled out in 1999 to some post offices for variable tasks, including accounting and stocktaking. However, it appeared to have significant bugs, which could cause the system to misreport, sometimes involving large sums as in the case of these sub-postmasters. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here