The Crown Prosecution Service is refusing to reveal Sir Keir Starmer’s role in the wrongful prosecution of subpostmasters after admitting it took at least 27 victims to court.
The CPS said it was combing through historic files and had found at least 27 prosecutions it had brought over issues linked to the Horizon IT computer system.
The defective IT system is blamed for hundreds of sub-postmasters being wrongly convicted in the greatest miscarriage of justice in British legal history.
The CPS said that once its trawl had been completed it expected to find about 50 cases in which it had launched prosecutions. More than 700 cases – the vast majority – were brought by the Post Office in private prosecutions.
But the CPS declined to say precisely when cases were taken to court, insisting it was looking at a time frame of 20 years between 2001 and 2020.
Sir Keir, the Labour Party leader, was head of the CPS between 2008 and 2013 as Director of Public Prosecutions.
The CPS refused to reveal if the cases took place between the dates Sir Keir was in charge of the organisation. Sir Keir and his party are favourite to win this year’s general election.
A CPS spokesman said: “The vast majority of these cases were private prosecutions brought by the Post Office. We’ve worked extensively and identified a small number of CPS cases which involved evidence connected to Horizon. In these cases, we have written to those defendants to disclose information so they could pursue an appeal.”
The CPS said the cases were taken on in “good faith”. The scandal first came to light in 2009 when Computer Weekly first raised questions about unsafe convictions and queried the Horizon IT system.
The Telegraph has been told the CPS has identified 27 cases it brought although the final number is likely to be 50.
Brendan Clarke-Smith, a Tory MP and former minister, said: “After the latest set of revelations, there are clearly some serious questions to be answered surrounding prosecutions. Sir Keir Starmer and the CPS need to urgently clarify whether any of these happened under his watch and if so, why”
A Conservative Party added: “The CPS have somehow avoided scrutiny over this scandal because the bulk of the prosecutions were private, but the failures of successive DPPs to use their powers to put a stop to this must be looked into by the inquiry.
“The revelation that the CPS itself prosecuted postmasters raises a whole host of new questions for the leadership past and present of that organisation and victims deserve answers.”
Richard Tice, the Reform UK leader, said: “The CPS needs to be fully transparent about how many cases it pursued and when. Given the political sensitivity, they also need to confirm what Keir Starmer knew when. So does the Labour leader.”