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Retired Shell HSE Group Auditor challenges Scottish Prosecutor

I do not speak for Mr Campbell, but the impression I have is that he believes that Shell has influence in high places within the Scottish establishment. It was extraordinary that after an investigation lasting over two years, the notification of your decision not to prosecute was first conveyed to the whistleblower who sparked the investigation, Mr Campbell, by a General Counsel representing the accused company, Shell. That was an unfortunate development.

By John Donovan

I received the email below from Bill Campbell, the retired HSE Group Auditor of Shell International in response to my recent article:

Mystery of how Shell escaped Brent Bravo criminal prosecution: 7 Feb 2012

In 2005, Shell was fined a record £900,000 at Stonehaven Sheriff Court, for a series of safety failings on the Brent Bravo platform, which led to a gas leak inside the giant platform’s utility leg and the tragic deaths of two workers, Keith Moncrieff and Sean McCue. Prior to the explosion Mr Campbell had informed Shell senior management that a safety audit he led had revealed a “Touch F*** All” safety culture on the Brent Bravo platform and that safety records had been routinely falsified. Shell management’s failure to take appropriate remedial action led to the subsequent explosion.

Mr Campbell has been campaigning against a long drawn out cover-up by Shell and even more importantly, is seeking to ensure that such blatant disregard of safety issues does not result in more unnecessary deaths of offshore workers.

This explains the obvious frustration expressed in his email, which he also sent to a Scottish government official, Grampian Police, the Grampian Area Procurator Fiscal, Mrs Anne Currie, and her colleague, Mr. Andrew Grant.

Because of the forthright comments in relation to Anne Currie, I took up Mr Campbell’s suggestion to invite her to reply and accordingly sent an email to Mrs Currie on 9 February.

Extract:

I do not speak for Mr Campbell, but the impression I have is that he believes that Shell has influence in high places within the Scottish establishment. It was extraordinary that after an investigation lasting over two years, the notification of your decision not to prosecute was first conveyed to the whistleblower who sparked the investigation, Mr Campbell, by a General Counsel representing the accused company, Shell. That was an unfortunate development.

It is my intention to publish his latest email unless you are able to point out any factual inaccuracies, or intend taking legal action of any kind, in which case that issue will also be taken into account.  Any comments you do supply for publication alongside his email, will be published unedited.

There has been no response from Anne Currie. If any response is subsequently received, it will be added to this article.

I have in the meantime printed a related response I received from Mrs Currie on 17 March 2011:

Mr Donovan

Please note that there was a full meeting with Mr Campbell on 18 February 2011 , when it was explained to him that there had been a full investigation following upon his allegations of bribery and corruption on the part of HSE and SHELL. Further he was advised that Crown Counsel had considered all the facts of this matter and decided there was insufficient evidence to justify a criminal prosecution or any further investigation.

Anne Currie
Area Procurator Fiscal
Grampian

Note the claim that a “full investigation” had been carried out. I do not understand how this assertion can be made given the glaring omissions in the investigation.

Hence my article that triggered this outspoken email from Mr Campbell.

EMAIL FROM MR BILL CAMPBELL

From: [email protected]
Subject: Mystery of how Shell escaped Brent Bravo Criminal Prosecution
Date: 9 February 2012 12:23:52 GMT
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected], [email protected], An[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

I refer to your published article posted on your web-site in recent days

http://royaldutchshellplc.com/

As you are aware this investigation conducted between 2009 and 2011 was never made public, Anne Currie was asked by interested MSP’s as to why but did not answer.  She also made claims in writing that this was a full investigation and prosecution of Shell or HSE officials was not considered because there was insufficient evidence.  In reality there was an abundance of evidence provided to her and during the two year period of the so-called investigation she was offered additional evidence but did not seem interested in accepting this evidence.  You may be aware that a Crown Counsel – the person or persons who would conduct any prosecution in Court – cannot and will not proceed with any prosecution in Scotland without independent evidence corroborating the allegations from other sources.  To highlight what I consider to be the fraudulent claims of Anne Currie none of the persons accused of wrongdoing were ever subject to interview either on a voluntary or compulsory basis, and no attempts were ever made to interview any of the witnesses who could corroborate the allegations either – and on the same basis.

So in relation to the gist of your article and the related Times article that prosecutors in Scotland only take on prosecutions that are ‘easy’ or words to that effect the above does not fall into that category for in Scotland the absence of statements from the accused and any form of corroboration no investigation can be said to have taken place and to claim otherwise is false and misleading.

The Justice Secretary (I have copied the Cabinet secretary) is aware of all this and so are Grampian Police and I believe both parties can have no confidence that the claims by Anne Curries that a full investigation took place are correct without the serious allegations being put to the accused and without any attempt to corroborate the allegations by the Procurator Fiscal.  I have copied them and if you feel so inclined you can ask them directly.

If Anne Currie or Andrew Grant have any legal or other objections to what is stated here then they can raise them either directly with me or with you – if you are inclined to publish this Note.  The position with the Lord Advocate officials is that because I have a  personal interest in this affair this does not constitute in their opinion a public interest and my attempts to be shown in camera the evidence said to have been passed to Crown Counsel have been persistently refused.  You can test the public interest and feel free to do so by posting this to the millions of souls who read your site once you have given the Procurator Fiscal the right of reply.

Bill Campbell

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