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Allegation Texas federal judge biased in favor of BP

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Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.02.41Mr. Justice Laddie was well aware of our views and was placed in a very difficult position, with his credibility and reputation being publicly called into question and at the highest levels of the state. The various correspondence on the subject ended on 21 April 2005. By coincidence or otherwise, just eight weeks later, Mr. Justice Laddie resigned as a Judge in mysterious controversial circumstances…

 

By John Donovan

The following is an extract from a news report published on 4 May 2016:

Whistleblowers asked the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday to revive a $266 billion False Claims Act suit involving BP PLC’s Gulf of Mexico-based Atlantis facility, saying a Texas federal judge erred by favoring the company and demonstrated “remarkable and unacceptable hostility” toward them while doing so.

Although it is fair to say that oil companies have far-reaching influence, it remains to be seen if the bias allegations are true in the relevant litigation. 

I ran into a similar problem with a UK High Court judge, the late Mr. Justice Laddie, when he presided over a case I brought against Shell.

Unfortunately, it became plain that he was heavily biased in favor of Shell. 

I later discovered his undeclared connection with Tom Moody-Stuart, the barrister son of the then Royal Dutch Shell Chairman, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart.

And there was another even more disturbing undeclared connection, as revealed in my recently published ebook “John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare.”

Extracts

On 20 May 2004, we wrote a letter to Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor outlining events and requesting an investigation. We were informed in a reply that his department could not comment on individual judicial cases and suggested we should seek legal advice. We published the correspondence and a related sworn affidavit on the Internet.

On 26/27 June we sent emails to every UK MP on the subject of “HAKLUYT – THE COMMERCIAL ARM OF MI6.”

We provided a link to our letter to Lord Falconer complaining about the conduct of Mr. Justice Laddie.

On 13 January 2005, we circulated a further email to MP’s, once again raising the subject of Mr. Justice Laddie and his conduct.

During this same period, we were also in extensive correspondence about Mr. Justice Laddie, Shell and related matters with the then Prime Minister Tony Blair via 10 Downing Street (and various government departments).

Our emails to MP’s, correspondence with the Intelligence & Security Committee, Church of England, Buckingham Palace, Canterbury Palace, and 10 Downing Street, were all published on the Internet.

Thus, Mr. Justice Laddie was well aware of our views and was placed in a very difficult position, with his credibility and reputation being publicly called into question and at the highest levels of the state. The various correspondence on the subject ended on 21 April 2005.

By coincidence or otherwise, just eight weeks later, Mr. Justice Laddie resigned as a Judge in mysterious controversial circumstances (June 2005).

As a result of the press coverage about his abrupt resignation, we became aware that that Laddie had an even stronger connection with Shell that he had not disclosed.

To our astonishment, he joined the IP consultancy firm of his long-time friend Tony Willoughby, which had Shell as a long-term client.

Shortly thereafter Professor Sir Hugh Laddie was a speaker at a seminar organised by Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman.

Doubts were raised about the reason the judge gave for his resignation (boredom), which caused a sensation in legal circles. See the obituary published 3 December 2008 by the Telegraph.

John Walsh, a writer for The Independent newspaper asked, What is one to make of the behaviour of Sir Hugh Laddie, better known as Mr Justice Laddie…”

Mr. Justice Laddie was the first High Court Judge to resign for 35 years. He certainly seemed to have something on his mind.

Tragically he passed away in 2008 as a result of cancer. It was clear from tributes made at the time that he was a much liked and widely respected Judge.

I have no doubt that he was a decent man of high integrity with immense knowledge and expertise, fully deserving of the tributes made to him by family, friends and colleagues.

Having acknowledged all of that, I have to say that I would never have agreed to Mr. Justice Laddie hearing the case if I had known of his undisclosed Shell connections. There is not just the consideration of outright bias, but unconscious bias.

As for Tony Blair, his apparent intervention came to naught. Unbeknown to me, at the time we were in contact with his office, Blair was lobbying Libyan dictator Gaddafi on behalf of Shell.

The oil giant even drafted a letter for Blair to send to Gaddafi.

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