By John Donovan
Were you a Shell employee in 2002? If so, were you aware that Colin Joseph (right), a London lawyer retained by the Royal Dutch Shell Group, claimed that he also represented you and indeed every Shell employee within the Group. Over 100,000 people.
Printed below is self-explanatory email correspondence with Joseph which concluded on 2 December 2009. I now know from the documents just supplied to me by Shell that “invisible” investigations involving outside specialist agencies have once again been directed at us by Shell. Shell refuses to comment even after repeated attempts by Reuters to find out what is going on. We will publish, within the next 24 hours, relevant Shell emails concerning the latest skulduggery.
Shell related correspondence with Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge UK LLP
Dear Mr Joseph
Please supply the information about me I am entitled to under the Data Protection Act 1998 relating to the “Smart” litigation involving your client Shell from around 1997 up to the latter part of 1999 and all associated matters, including your firms correspondence/notes/emails with:
Royds Treadwell solicitors
Enquiry or other agents
Legal Aid Board
Please also supply all subsequent relevant correspondence between your firm and Shell Group companies and its former/current employees, particularly during 2004 when you confirmed that your firm was representing the entire Royal Dutch Shell Group and all of its employees.
If you need any more information from me, or a fee, please let me know as soon as possible.
If you do not normally deal with these requests, please pass this letter to your Data Protection Officer or another appropriate officer.
REPLY FROM COLIN JOSEPH
Dear Mr Donovan,
I have received your email but there is no material to which you are entitled under the Data Protection Act 1998. All communications between ourselves and our clients, and between ourselves and third parties for the purpose of pursuing the litigation to which you refer, is the subject of legal professional privilege, and therefore protected from disclosure.
Any correspondence between ourselves and Royds Treadwell, the solicitors acting for you in the proceedings, can no doubt be obtained from that firm, assuming of course that you have discharged in full any costs due to that firm.
REPLY BY JOHN DONOVAN
Dear Mr Joseph
Thank you for your response to the SAR request.
I note your touching concern over whether my solicitors were paid. You seem to be unaware of the basis of settlement.
In fact, Shell discharged ALL Royds Treadwell legal costs at the time the Smart claim was settled (at the second attempt made by Shell). I insisted upon and received a substantial, though inadequate payment, as part of the settlement. I understand that the settlement was personally approved by Sir Mark Moody-Stuart.
The so-called “joint press statement” – actually released solely by Shell – covered up the real terms of settlement which, as Mr Wiseman has confirmed in writing, were not revealed in their entirety even to the trial Judge, the late Mr Justice Laddie. Hence he was ignorant of the facts when he made his “Judges Comments”. I have an account of the lively discussion which followed in the Judges chambers between the Judge and my lead barrister Geoffrey Cox (now MP QC) who had already made his hostile reaction to the Judges Comments abundantly plain in open court. On being advised of the true terms of settlement, the Judge volunteered that the Court Clerk, Peter Smith, said that in his opinion, your clients main witness, Shell manager AJL, had “lied through his teeth” when being cross-examined. We only discovered after the trial handwritten notes by AJL in his diary to set up his own business inside Shell and leave the company at the age of 35 (presumably having by then accumulated enough illicit funds to retire).
The Judge later declined our written invitation to deny an undisclosed connection with the Moody-Stuart family. He had also failed to disclose his close life long friendship with Tony Willoughby, the founder of an IP consultancy which had Shell as a client. The Judge joined the firm after his controversial resignation as a judge. He later worked on a commercial project with Richard Wiseman.
His surprise resignation, which was widely reported in the national press, happened by coincidence or otherwise after our letter to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, complaining about various matters including:
1. The undercover activity admitted in writing by you and your client, Shell.
2. The blatant bias against me displayed by the Judge.
3. The outright deception by your firm at the climax of my cross examination.
(You will recall the motorbike messenger supposedly on route to the court with incriminating documents. In reality, there was no motorbike, no messenger and no documents. All a complete fabrication.)
We put all of the above information into the public domain before the tragic death of the Judge.
FURTHER RESPONSE FROM JOHN DONOVAN
Dear Mr Joseph
I have now spoken to The Information Commissioner’s Office concerning your refusal to comply with my SAR application on the claimed grounds that:
“All communications between ourselves and our clients, and between ourselves and third parties for the purpose of pursuing the litigation to which you refer, is the subject of legal professional privilege, and therefore protected from disclosure.”
I would respectfully ask you to reconsider my application bearing in mind that you have not denied that you are indeed in possession of relevant information/communications/documents. This means that you have held information relating to me for over a decade AFTER the litigation ended. Is there not a legal limit on holding personal information about an individual?
You implied in a letter that other so-called “enquiry agents” in addition to your undercover agent, “Christopher Phillips” were working on our case. You refused to say what they were doing. “Enquiry agents” would undoubtedly have gathered personal information about me. Otherwise what were they doing? That was personal information which I have never seen and never had the opportunity to check. You still apparently hold that personal information about me all these years later.
Part of the correspondence I am seeking happens to cover criminal acts committed against us in the run up to the trial in June 1999. You may recall the police investigation into threats made against us and our witnesses and a series of burglaries; namely at my home, my solicitors home and the home of my key witness. A document was examined that you had vowed to obtain even though your application to the courts for sight of the document had been turned down.
You may recall that Shell conducted an internal investigation. No information was given to us about who conducted the investigation or its scope. I assume your firm was supplied with the results.
Neither you nor your client Shell revealed to the investigating police, Shell’s close association with a private intelligence firm retained by Shell which at that time was engaged on behalf of Shell in the same kind of cloak and dagger activities which had been directed at us. Perhaps you were kept in the dark about the non-DJ Freeman sponsored covert operations conducted on an international basis against perceived enemies of Shell, including Greenpeace and The Body Shop. Titled Shell directors Sir Peter Holmes and Sir William Purves were the ultimate spymasters and major shareholders in Shell and the spy firm.
In the more recent contact in 2002 you confirmed your firm was acting on behalf of the entire Shell Dutch Shell Group and all of its employees in dealing with correspondence relating to a manuscript in which I was a named party. There was NO litigation in progress at that time. I would like sight of any related relevant correspondence with Shell or other parties also named in the manuscript, including Mr Justice Laddie.
I know for certain from Richard Wiseman (right) that contact was made with the former Shell Group Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart and his son, Tom Moody-Stuart. I wonder if all of Shell’s employees – over 100,000 people – were aware that you were representing them? I believe they had no knowledge whatsoever of this bold assertion supposedly made on their behalf.
You may recall that early in the SMART trial, when you made the first compromise settlement offer on behalf of Shell, my father handed in to Mr Justice Laddie an extraordinary handwritten letter he had received from Judy Moody-Stuart, the wife of Sir Mark. The Judge still did not disclose his connection with the family, despite the distinctive rare surname.
Mr Joseph you are still trying to keep documents from being released, just as you were over 10 years ago when you were desperate to stop information from reaching the Directors of Shell Transport & Trading Co Plc.
I trust under the circumstances that you will not act rashly and dispose of any relevant information having received and rejected a SAR application from me under the Data Protection Act.
If you are still unwilling to comply with my request, I will file a formal complaint with The Information Commissioner’s Office and they or the Information Commissioner will decide whether it is appropriate/lawful for you to keep, for over a decade, personal information relating to me and whether I am entitled to see that information. Some of it stretches back to 1997.
REPLY FROM COLIN JOSEPH
On 1 Dec 2009, at 15:37, Joseph, Colin wrote:
Dear Mr Donovan,
My previous email did not comment in any way on what documentation, if any, we may still be holding in relation to the litigation between my clients and yourself. It merely pointed out that all the categories of documentation that you are seeking are protected from disclosure for the reason I have given.
Any complaint you might make to the Information Commissioner would therefore be entirely without foundation. If you do nevertheless seek to pursue the matter in that way, please ensure that both this and my previous email are supplied to the Commissioner.
REPLY BY JOHN DONOVAN
Dear Mr Joseph
I see that you are still incapable of giving a straightforward response. A classic example of being slippery and evasive. I guess these were part of the unfortunate qualities which led Shell to appoint you in the first place.
When faced with such tactics, I can only reply on a logical assessment. If you were not in possession of any relevant documents you would simply say so – Mr Donovan we do not have any such documents, they were all destroyed years ago in 2??? – and that would be the end of the story. Plainly you are not able to say that.
Under the circumstances, I will indeed file a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office and provide all the correspondence.