Scotland’s Justice Secretary has said it is “extremely disappointing” that a law quashing wrongful convictions of subpostmasters caught up in the Horizon IT scandal will not apply in Scotland.

The legislation, being introduced by the UK Government on Wednesday, will exonerate those convicted in England and Wales on the basis of the faulty Horizon accounting software.

Angela Constance said it is not too late for the UK Government to change its position but that if it does not do so, Holyrood will introduce Scottish legislation that “delivers justice for all those affected”.

More than 700 subpostmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office and handed criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015 as Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon IT system made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

Around 100 Post Office subpostmasters in Scotland were among those convicted after being wrongly accused of embezzling money.

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Ms Constance said: “We, along with the Northern Ireland Executive, urged the UK Government to introduce UK-wide legislation as the best way to ensure there is a quick, fair and equal solution for all affected subpostmasters, particularly as the Post Office is reserved to Westminster, so this announcement is extremely disappointing.

“It is not too late for the UK Government to change their position but if this continues to be refused, we will introduce Scottish legislation that delivers justice for all those affected.

“It is likely that this would need to be passed after a UK Bill is passed to ensure full compatibility with UK legislation and the UK compensation scheme, in which the Scottish Government has no locus, but we will do everything in our power to work as quickly as possible.”

Ms Constance last week warned victims of the Horizon scandal in Scotland that “some delay may be inevitable” if Holyrood has to introduce its own legislation to exonerate them.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the proposed Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill “marks an important step forward in finally clearing” the names of hundreds of wronged branch managers who have had their lives “callously torn apart”.

Downing Street said that under the law, convictions in England and Wales will be automatically quashed if they meet the following criteria:

– Were prosecuted by the Post Office or Crown Prosecution Service;

– Were for offences carried out in connection with Post Office business between 1996 and 2018;

– Were for relevant offences such as theft, fraud and false accounting;

– Were against subpostmasters, their employees, officers, family members or direct employees of the Post Office working in a Post Office that used the Horizon system software.

Those with overturned convictions will receive an interim payment with the option of immediately taking a fixed and final offer of £600,000, according to No 10.

READ MORE: Ministers face Scots court action over 'new Post Office scandal'

The Government will also bring forward “enhanced” financial redress for postmasters who, while not convicted or part of legal action against the Post Office, made good the apparent losses caused by the Horizon system from their own pockets.

The Herald: Post Office scandal

They will be entitled to a fixed sum award of £75,000 through the Horizon shortfall scheme, Downing Street said.

Those who have already settled for less money will have their compensation topped up to this level while people can instead choose to have their claims assessed as part of the usual scheme process, in which there is no limit to compensation.

The Government hopes the Bill will receive royal assent and become law ahead of MPs’ summer holiday.