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HIGH COURT TRIAL JUNE/JULY 1999: John Alfred Donovan v. Shell UK Ltd

HIGH COURT TRIAL JUNE/JULY 1999 Case No: DD04199 Court 58, 7th Floor of the Thomas More Building at the Royal Courts of Justice.

John Alfred Donovan v. Shell UK Ltd

A complete transcript of the trial is accessible below.

The trial took place before Mr Justice Laddie who failed to declare two potential conflicts of interest. A connection with the barrister son of the Royal Dutch Shell Group Managing Director, Mark Moody-Stuart and a long friendship with Mr Tony Willoughby  who founded an IP firm which had Shell as a client. This information was unknown to the Plaintiff and his father Alfred Donovan, against whom Shell had filed a Counterclaim also being heard by Mr Justice Laddie as part of the same trial.

Dramatic events took place in the trial, which led the Donovan’s to eventually conclude that the judge was hopelessly biased in favour of Shell. Accusations of forgery led to the trial being halted for a week. A link to a related expert report by Dr Aubrey Giles who conducted a forensics investigation is also provided. Shell’s lawyers engaged in outright deception as part of an attempted entrapment conspiracy. This happened in front of the judge who heard and was intrigued by news of evidence being on its way to the court by a motorbike messenger. This was all completely false. There was no evidence and no messenger. The ambush was sprung at the climax of the cross-examination of John Donovan. The judge passed no comment in open court about the blatant deception played out before him.

The “Judges Comments” – made after a compromise settlement had brought to trial to an early than anticipated end, are printed in full.

The obvious bias by the Judge during the trial was taken into account by the Donovan’s when they accepted the second compromise settlement proposal made by Shell. The first had been rejected. The blatant bias was also evident in the “Judges Comments.”

As will be seen, Shell withheld the terms of settlement from the judge. The then Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman, confirmed this in an email received in 2008.

After the trial, Alfred Donovan wrote to Mr Justice Laddie on the subject of potential conflict of interest, citing the judges commercial connection with Tom Moody-Stuart. The judge refused to enter into correspondence on the matter. Likewise, Mr Tom Moody-Stuart.

Alfred Donovan subsequently sent a letter of complaint to the Lord Chancellor.

By coincidence or otherwise, Mr Justice Laddie resigned in mysterious controversial circumstances as a High Court Judge in July 2005 and joined the IP firm founded by his old friend Mr Tony Willoughby. His sudden resignation as a High Court judge, the first in in 35 years, led to considerable speculation in national newspapers about the real reason for his unexpected departure.

He was later involved in a commercial event with Shell official Richard Wiseman (now retired).

Regretfully in 2008, Professor Sir Hugh Laddie QC passed away in tragic circumstances.

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Letter from Richard Wiseman: 14 May 1997 (confirms he was keeping Royal Dutch Shell executive directors informed about the case)

Don Marketing/D J Freeman Correspondence 2/3 July 1998

High Court Writ Issued Against Shell UK Limited 9 April 1998

Shell Defence & CounterClaim


Witness Statement of John Alfred Donovan

Witness Statement of Shell Executive Andrew John Lazenby


Paragraph 2

I was involved in what subsequently became the SMART scheme between February 1992 and my departure from the promotions department in May 1994. Project Onyx, the forerunner to Project Hercules (which eventually became the SMART scheme), was already under way when I joined the department. At that stage, before I had ever met John Donovan, Project Onyx already bore many of the features that Mr. Donovan now claims as his own.

Paragraph 133

The Shell Nintendo promotion ran from 18 June 1993 for four weeks. On the day of the launch, John Donovan telephoned me to complain about what he perceived to be our use of his idea and additionally to complain that our scheme was open to fraud on account of customers being able to see through the latex covering the prize panels. Having read the transcripts of the tapes supplied by Mr Donovan (but not having heard the original tapes which have not yet been produced), I am now aware that Mr Donovan was recording this and all subsequent telephone conversations between us onto audio tape. I was not aware of this at the time.

From paragraph 139

Tequila’s proposed MGM promotion proved very popular in this research due to the cinema ticket prizes on offer. On that basis Frank Leggatt and Ian Sutcliffe agreed that Shell would run the Tequila promotion. The agreement between Tequila and Shell was signed on 16 May 1994. In the end Blockbuster were also brought into the promotion, so Option One were also credited and paid accordingly.

Witness Statement of Alfred Ernest Donovan

Witness Statement of John Chambers

Witness Statement of Richard Max Wiseman (Shell Legal Director)

Witness Statement of Mike McMahon

Witness Statement of John Armstrong-Holmes

Witness Statement of Frank Leggatt (Shell General Manager Retail)


If, as John Donovan appears to suggest, the entire scheme had been dreamt up solely by Andrew Lazenby on the basis of Don Marketing’s proposals, it would perhaps have been a lot simpler. In fact, the SMART project had all the advantages and disadvantages of being created in the course of consultation between a large number of individuals: David Pirret, David Watson, Tim Hannagan, Ian Sutcliffe and Gary Anderton all made significant contributions to the eventual form of the scheme, quite apart from the influence of Option One and others outside Shell UK.

Witness Statement of Jeremy Charles Taylor (Option One)


I am also aware that Don Marketing brought proceedings in 1994 over the Now Showing promotion. This promotion ran from July 1994. Shell asked five different agencies to tender for a promotion. Tequila UK were successful, their promotion included cinema tickets. Option One had also tendered for this promotion with a proposed link up with Blockbusters, this idea was incorporated into the Now Showing promotion and Option One were paid a fee for brokering the connection between Shell and Blockbusters.

Witness Statement of Ian Sutcliffe (Shell Fuels Marketing Manager)


I have had a great deal to do with the development of the Shell SMART scheme. Many of its key features were suggested by me without reference to any proposals put forward directly or indirectly by Mr. John Donovan or his company Don Marketing.

Report of Professor Stephen Worthington

Report of Steve King of Senior King (Shell’s former retained promotions agency)

My company has had first hand experience of working with Shell and Andrew Lazenby and can confirm that Andrew appeared to adopt a very different approach to his predecessors, who in my experience more readily acknowledge the rights of agencies concepts and the copyright.
The reader of this opinion should be aware that we are considering our position with regard to any breach of confidential information or copyright in regard to the recent presentation to Shell regarding Shell Smart.

Email correspondence with Mr Justice Laddie (via Court Clerk Mr Peter Smith)

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HIGH COURT TRIAL JUNE/JULY 1999 Case No: DD04199 Court 58 John Alfred Donovan v. Shell UK Ltd

Transcript from Smith Bernal Reporting Ltd, 180 Fleet Street London

Some of these PDF files are up to 50 pages so takes some time to load

Day 1: Tuesday June 15, 1999

Day 1: Tuesday June 15, 1999 Word Index 15 pages

Day 2: Wednesday June 16, 1999

Day 2: Wednesday June 16, 1999 Word Index 16 Pages

Day 3: Thursday June 17, 1999 47 Pages

Day 3: Thursday June 17, 1999 Word Index

Day 4: Friday June 18, 1999

Day 4: Friday June 18, 1999 One further page

Day 4, Friday June 18, 1999 Word Index

Day 5: Monday June 21, 1999 Transcript incl Word Index

Day 5: Monday June 21, 1999 Last page of Word Index

Day 6: Tuesday June 22, 1999 Includes Word Index

Day 7: Tuesday June 29, 1999

Day 7: Tuesday June 29, 1999 Word Index

Day 8: Wednesday June 30, 1999

Day 8: Wednesday June 30, 1999 Word Index

Day 9: Thursday July 1, 1999

Day 9: Thursday July 1, 1999 Word Index

Day 10: Friday July 2, 1999

Day 10: Friday July 2, 1999 Word Index

Report of Dr Audrey Giles 28 June 1999 The forensic examination of documents

Andrew Lazenby cross examination under oath by lead barrister Geoffrey Cox: Extract from trial

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Taped Telephone Conversations

First taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan: 18 June 1993 *

Taped call David Patton (Nintento) and John Donovan: 18 June 1993 *

Second taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan 18 June 1993 *

Third taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan: 24 June 1993 *

Fourth taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan: 5 July 1993 *

Fifth taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan: (Make Money conversation) 21 February 1994

First taped call David Watson (Shell) John Donovan: 28 October 1993

Second taped call David Watson and John Donovan: 1 November 1993

Third taped call David Watson and John Donovan: 2 November 1993

Taped Conversation Mike Fairhurst (Senior KIng) and John Donovan: June 1993

Taped call Senior King and John Donovan: undated

Extracts from taped telephone conversation Donovan/Lazenby



A copy of a transcript of the “Judges Comments” (with typing errors, miss-spellings, etc) is printed below.



MR COX: My Lord, your Lordship has, I believe, understood that there have been some discussions between the parties.


MR COX: And I hope your Lordship has been handed some papers, the first being a deed of compromise and the second a draft order.


MR COX: My Lord, we would invite your Lordship to make the order in the terms set out in those documents.

Geoffrey Cox, the lead counsel for John Donovan, identified the two documents handed to the Judge for his consent – the first being a deed of compromise and the second a draft order which also contained a “DRAFT PRESS RELEASE”. The content and tone of the documents, including the draft press release, gave the overall impression of a “stalemate” result in which my son had dropped his Smart claim and related libel action against Shell without receiving ANY benefit from Shell. The true situation was rather different. There was a THIRD even more important document withheld from the Judge. Since neither my son nor I gave any instructions that any terms should be withheld from him, I can only speculate that the instructions came from Shell.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: Before I do that, Mr Cox, I assume that the procedure is now the same as it was, that you cannot withdraw an action without leave of the Court.

MR COX: My Lord, that is my understanding.

The Judge made the point that John could not drop the action “without leave of the court”. Mr Justice Laddie was therefore entitled to believe that in requesting his consent, the parties involved had put before him the true terms of settlement. This was not the case.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: One of the results of this case having gone on for three weeks is that, of course, I have heard evidence from most of the main witnesses, and of course I believe I am in a position now to say something about or to resolve certain issues of fact which have arisen between the parties. During the cross-examination of Mr Lazenby you said, and I think it was Mr Lazenby, and also in re-examination of Mr (inaudible) you said, accurately in my view, that the allegations made against Mr Donovan and Mr Southerton amounted to allegations of perjury, forgery and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. I think that was a perfectly accurate way to put it.

I have now seem the evidence and I must tell you, Mr Cox, that I think the allegations made by Mr Hobbs in this regard have more than passing strength to them. The question is what I should do about it. If this had reached the stage of a judgement I think I would have, as you once again said, it was not possible to resolve the differences between that parties on the basis of both sides telling the truth: you said that this was an impossibility. I must say that if the case had stopped and a judgement had been sought from me as of yesterday I think it quite likely that I would have held that there was indeed forgery.

The Judge failed to say that the trial was far from reaching a conclusion. Lazenby was still being cross-examined. The vast majority of Shell’s witnesses had yet to give evidence and therefore had not been cross-examined. No evidence had been heard or documents considered in respect of Shell’s Counterclaim against John and separately against me. The trail was only halfway through.

MR COX: Well, My Lord, may I say at once to your Lordship, first – –

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: You would have wanted to have an opportunity to make submissions.

MR COX: I would have wanted to have made submissions, and in my respectful submission, unless your Lordship has, and I know your Lordship scarcely makes an utterance in court without a purpose or point, these observations fill me with a form of consternation that I can scarcely express to you. Not only do I submit that your Lordship would have been wrong so to hold and gravely wrong with a wholly inadequate basis for such a judgement I am sure that your Lordship would have been led to reflect after some detailed submissions from me as to the wisdom of such a judgement, but I am, my Lord I know – –

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: The position is quite simple, Mr Cox. I do not see why we should beat around the bush. The question is whether I should send the papers off to the DPP.

MR COX: My Lord, I feel such complete confidence in the case that has been advance by Mr Donovan that I feel I should leave it entirely to your Lordship. I, as your Lordship knows, practice in this field. I have to say to your Lordship that having advised now for nearly 20 years on serious prosecutions if I were met with those papers I know exactly the response that I would give them.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: You would say there would be no prospect of securing a prosecution.

MR COX: It is inconceivable and indeed I am quite convinced that your Lordship, on a more detailed and maturer reflection when the case – – because all trials must of course go through several stages to reach a conclusion – – might have been led to reflect that that was a judgement without perhaps sufficient foundation.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: Sufficient, yes, I see.

Dictionary definition of “inconceivable: impossible, out of the question, unimaginable

MR COX: In our respectful, your Lordship of course is free to do precisely what your Lordship feels is your public duty, but I am taken by surprise by those observations. This case has now, as your Lordship, see reached, I hope, an amicable conclusion with certain statements being made in public in relation to it. Your Lordship’s comments now in my submission, given the way in which this mater is being left.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: Will not help.

MR COX: Will not help, and I would urge your Lordship to consider once again whether they will be (inaudible).

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: Thank you very much Mr Cox. Is there anything you wish to add, Mr Hobbs?

MR HOBBS: My Lord, I was just – –

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: I am not going to invite your views in relation to the matter I raised with Mr Cox. Mr Cox has persuaded me that whatever my suspicions may be it would not be an appropriate course for me to adopt in this case.

In the light of the expert advice from criminal law specialist, Mr Cox, the Judge downgraded his finding that “the allegations made by Mr Hobbs in this regard have more than passing strength” to “my suspicions”.

MR HOBBS: I understand that. The only thing I was going to say, I was just thumbing through the CPR. The rules on discontinuance are in fact different now that what they were before. Leave is not required in circumstances such as this but in any event we are inviting your Lordship by consent to dismiss the action as a judicial act rather than discontinue it. Other than that, your Lordship has seen the paperwork. The paperwork is agreed subject to the infilling of the dates on annex 1 and really I am bound in accordance with the deed my clients have entered into to ask for an order in those terms, my Lord.

The “deed” mentioned by Geoffrey Hobbs QC was a THIRD legal document which recorded secret terms of settlement which were WITHHELD from Mr Justice Laddie including provision for Shell to pay John’s legal fees (total legal fees amounted to over £1 million pounds). At the time of the trial Richard Wiseman was Legal Director of Shell UK Limited. He confirmed in an email dated 17 June 2008 that the information did not go to the judge

In addition, further secret arrangements covered a substantial payment made to John to drop the SMART claim. Consequently the Judge was unaware of the true basis of settlement before making his comments and no doubt thought that my son had accepted the compromise settlement on the basis implied by the draft press release. Shell circulated a press release within days of these heated exchanges taking place in which Shell withdrew the false allegations against my son by Mr Hobbs which had first prompted the Judge to make his comments.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: Yes. Before making an order I wish to say something about this.

This action has settled, and for that the parties must be congratulated. In nearly all cases, settlement is a more sensible option than a fight to the finish with its inevitable unpredictability and increased costs. But a settlement which is acceptable to the parties and allows them to put their dispute behind them can result in unintended injustice to others. A settlement frequently means that issues of fact are not resolved by an impartial tribunal; they are left in the air. In particular, where serious allegations of impropriety are made against a party or an individual either in the pleadings or during cross-examination a settlement results in the accusations being left hanging. Even if the parties agree a form of wording designed to put a public end to their dispute and the allegations of wrongdoing, there can remain within those who have seen or heard the allegations a private belief of suspicion that the soothing words are themselves a part of the compromise and have been used to hide the accuracy of the allegations of wrongdoing. This is particularly so where one party is larger and has greater financial resources than the other. Some may wonder that the soothing words have been coerced out of the other side. It is tempting to assume that there is no smoke without fire. So the settlement of a dispute which meets the needs of the parties may leave those who have been accused of wrongdoing with wounds which are untended.

The one thing the “Judges Comments” did not do is allow the the parties to “put their dispute behind them”. Two years after the “Judges Comments” were made, Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman used them maliciously to denigrate John to a third party company. In do doing he invalidated the settlement and undermined the press release circulated by Shell at the time of settlement withdrawing all allegations made against my son. In fact the “soothing words” had been paid for by Shell.

Those wounds can go on to produce long term and painful scars which are virtually impossible to erase. The stronger the allegations of dishonesty an impropriety against an individual the more likely it is that a settlement will result in lingering doubts about that individual.

what about the “long term and painful scars” inflicted on John by the “Judges Comments” later used by Richard Wiseman on more than one occasion to denigrate John. Most recently on 12 January 2011.

In many cases, this is an unavoidable consequence of the settlement. Although it may affect a great injustice, the Court is powerless to do anything about it. That is not always so.

If the Court has been provided with all the material necessary to determine that allegations of dishonesty are unfounded I can see no reason why it should not express its conclusions.

but the Judge did not hear all of the evidence in the trial nor were our previous successful High Court Claims against Shell dealt with in his court

In this case, the most serious allegations of dishonesty have been made by each against the other. Certain individuals on each side have been accused of perjury and worse. I wish to say something about the allegations levelled at one witness.

Mr Andrew Lazenby, who was in the early 1990s an employee of Shell holding a position of responsibility in that company’s Promotions Department, was involved in discussions and dealings with the claimant, Mr John Arthur Donovan about the a number of the latter’s proposals for promotions. Over a number of years Mr Donovan and his company and various of his friends and relatives have accused Shell of having illicitly taken some of his ideas and proposals and used them without his permission. Much, if not all the blame, for these alleged activities has been placed upon Mr Lazenby personally.

Simply because Mr Lazenby was the key Shell executive responsible as the evidence in the previous cases proved – why did the Judge think Shell had settled for hundreds of thousands of pounds if Lazenby was innocent of wrong-doing?

Mr Donovan, his friends and relatives have engaged in a high profile campaign in which Mr Lazenby has been picked out for particular criticism and vilification. Serious allegations of dishonesty have been made against him and publicised as widely as possible. Mr Donovan and his supporters have criticised Shell both in private and in public for its continued employment of Mr Lazenby.

Well-founded allegations as proven by Shell’s own internal documents.

Websites containing criticism of Mr Lazenby in the strongest terms have been set up by Mr Donovan. Strongly worded letters have been sent to the Chairman and senior directors of Shell, the Prime Minister and other Members of Parliament, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Queen of the Netherlands, amongst others.

Mr Donovan or his family and friends have picketed Shell (inaudible) House, Shell offices in the Hague and even the offices of Shell’s solicitors. Advertisements have been taken out in and correspondence sent to the Press.

That Shell has failed to surrender to pressure and has continued to employ Mr Lazenby must have been a relief to him, but nevertheless for a number of years he has been an identified target of this campaign of denigration. The strain on him must have been enormous.

The allegations of impropriety reached their peak in the current proceedings. Mr Lazenby has been subjected to two an a half days of determined, unrelenting unsparing cross-examination; his commercial morals have been examined and attacked; he has been accused of determined perjury before me; he has been asked searching and detailed questions about the minutiae of what did or did not take place during brief telephone conversations held, in some cases nine years ago. He was asked similar questions about correspondence of like antiquity.

The Judge neglected to mention that John had been under fire in an even more dramatic cross-examination also spread over three days which had culminated in an entrapment plot fronted by Geoffrey Hobbs QC – a court room ambush which involved an outright deception, apparently carried out with the consent of the Judge (see below). Under the circumstances the Judges comments were blatantly biased.

When he said he was unable to recall conversations and correspondence at this remove it was frequently suggested that this was untruthful and designed to hide his dishonest behaviour. When he recalled events and gave evidence about them it was said that he was lying. There was no criticism which was too small to be directed at him. For example, when he admitted that he had had dinner with a senior member of another agency which supplied some services to Shell it was used as the foundation for an assertion unsupported by any other material of commercial cronyism and bias.

It was not just a case of a once off dinner with directors of Option One. Apart from the dinners at Mr Lazenby’s home and at restaurants there were trips to the theatre. There was also the issue of Lazenby’s off shore bank account, details of which were found in Mr Lazenby’s diaries. Option One was the agency to whom Lazenby seemed to funnel all contracts, miraculously even the multi-million pounds Shell SMART contract for which Option One did not even tender. Documents provided incontrovertible proof that Lazenby deliberately cheated and deceived companies which DID participate in the tendering process. This was the “sensational” evidence referred to in my sons letter published in Marketing Week magazine – see below

In saying this, I do not criticise the cross-examiner, Mr Cox. I accept that he was putting the case of dishonesty to Mr Lazenby on instructions from his client. Mr Donovan did not intend this to be a dispute which would be lost in the darker recesses of the Chancery Division; nor did he intend the grilling of Mr Lazenby to be conducted away from the glare of publicity; far from it. I can do no better than quote a passage from a letter sent by Mr Donovan to and published by Marketing Week magazine in February of this year:

My claim against Shell UK in respect of the smart loyalty scheme is set down for a three week High Court trial in June. You will then be able to make an informed assessment of Shell’s ethical conduct after sensational evidence is put into the public domain.”

Not content with that, Mr Donovan or persons acting on his behalf have handed out leaflets re-printing that letter and stating that it has been published in Marketing Week magazine. The central part of Mr Donovans campaign against Shell has been the threat to humiliate Mr Lazenby in public.

It is evident from his own words above that the Judge read the Marketing Week article published in February 1999.

I have watched Mr Lazenby during his prolonged cross-examination. I have read and re-read with care the contemporaneous and allegedly contemporaneous documents which have been put to him. I have concluded the evidence given by other witnesses including in particular the evidence given by Mr Donovan and Mr Roger Southwark. In my view, it would be a grave injustice if the parties were to leave this Court having composed their difficulties but with lingering doubts remaining as to Mr Lazenbys standing.

During his cross-examination, Mr Lazenby conducted himself with composure and without apparent rancour and the abiding impression I gained was that he was the employee who worked hard for his employer and put its commercial interests before the interests of outside firms. I have seen nothing to support the suggestion that in doing that he acted other than with propriety. I have no doubt that the evidence he gave before me was not only truthful but as complete and frank as his memory would permit. Indeed, I think it is a great pity that the allegations of widespread and systematic dishonesty should be maintained against him. Once the contemporaneous documents which were disclosed on discovery had been seen, if not before, the allegations should have been dropped. The attacks on Mr Lazenby were, at the very least, recklessly made. They are completely without foundation. I hope tapped he leaves this Court not just with his reputation intact but enhanced. I will make the order the parties have requested me to make.

One paragraph in the Marketing Week article was devoted to the THREE PREVIOUS HIGH COURT ACTIONS my son and I SUCCESSFULLY brought against Shell which Shell settled out of court in each case. All three claims involved Mr Lazenby. We even received an unsolicited letter of apology from Shell Chairman Dr Chris Fay. Shell lawyers also made on the record admissions of wrongdoing. There are transcripts of recorded telephone conversations proving how Mr Lazenby purposely deceived us. Why was none of this information about his prior convictions brought up in court? How on earth could the Judge give this serial poacher of ideas absolution in respect of claims which the Judge did not hear and which had already been settled at a cost of several hundred thousand pounds to Shell?

Another paragraph in the Marketing Week article read by Mr Justice Laddie stated that Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman had admitted in writing the activities of undercover investigators who had engaged in outright deception on behalf of Shell. When the cloak and dagger activities were investigated by the Police, Shell failed to disclose that it had an associated company with common directors/ shareholders which engaged in espionage activities, including using undercover agents. Shell later admitted that its agents had engaged in sabotage, infiltration, deception, intelligence gathering etc on Shell’s behalf. If the Police had known about Shell’s close association with a shadowy private spy firm linked to MI6 their line of enquiry might have taken a different path. For some reason the Judge asked not a single question about the sinister activity he had read about in the Marketing Week article nor a series of highly suspicious burglaries brought up in evidence given under oath in the witness box by our key witness, Roger Sotherton.

The burglaries took place in the run up to the trail at the home of Mr Sotherton, the residence of my solicitor, and at my own home. Shell related documents were tampered with including a document Shell lawyers had vowed to obtain after a legal application to the courts for sight of the document had been refused.

MR COX: Will your Lordship permit a statement from me because your Lordship is excluding me from impropriety from the point of view of the Bar I feel there remains some residue. I am de )inaudible).

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: (inaudible) about you at all.

MR COX: My Lord, I am sorry but your Lordship’s statement leaves little room. Your Lordship has made me out to be the mouthpiece of reckless assertions and allegations of dishonesty. Where I come from at the Bar, it is not proper to put forward reckless assertions of dishonesty. May I may it clear to you – –


MR COX: May I make it clear to your Lordship that utterly refute that there can have been any recklessness in the allegations made to Mr Lazenby. They were made on instruction; they were made with what I considered to be proper foundation; they were made in a way that was exploratory of the issues relevant to this case.

Therefore, in my respectful submission to your Lordship, though I am grateful for the words that your Lordship pronounces exculpating me from impropriety the fundamentals of your Lordship’s judgement are that were reckless. They were not. The were with foundation, they were proper and in my submission the remarks your Lordship has made are, if I may say so, they are ones which I would wish your Lordship had not made.

Mr Cox made it clear that his questions to Lazenby were with “proper foundation”. He also courageously – with as much respect as he could muster – openly chastised the Judge for his comments

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: I understand your position, Mr Cox. Let me make it clear. You cross-examined Mr Lazenby hard and that was your job. I do not criticise you for doing that. On the contrary, it would have been probably improper for you not to have done it in view of the allegations put that were being made on behalf of your client.

MR COX: It is the word “reckless, my Lord.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: Reckless based upon what was known to the clients. Mr Cox, you can shake your head as much as you like. Not one word of what I said was meant to be a criticism of you. I am sorry that you do not understand it that way, but I have no doubt at all – – I will make it further clear – – I have no doubt at all that Mr Donovan in pursuing this case was acting when he commenced this case he believed that wrongdoing had been committed to him by the defendants.

MR COX: And sustained two and a half days of relentless and intense cross-examination.


MR COX: Probing and unpleasant allegations against him.

Mr Cox makes the point that John’s cross-examination also took two and a half days and was just as intense – so why had the Judge praised Mr Lazenby in this regard, but not my son?

Including the court room ambush by Geoffrey Hobbs involving a motorbike messenger on his way to the court with implied incriminating documents. In fact it all all a total fabrication. There was no motorbike, no messenger and no documents in transit. Yet the Judge allowed this outright deception and attempt at entrapment to be carried out in his court room. Why? John’s ordeal was in fact much more severe than the cross-examination of Mr Lazenby yet, Mr Lazenby was praised by the Judge for his performance under fire. In addition to the ambush charade the trial was suspended while my sons house was searched directly as a result of the false allegations. It is notable that not one word of acknowledgement of my son’s ordeal was made by the Judge until Mr Cox made the above comments, which the Judge could not argue with because they were true. The following is an extract from an email John received on 18 June 1999 from his solicitor after his cross examination had finished:

“I tried to ring but the answerphone was on so I left a message. I hope you arrived back home safely and are having a well-earned rest. You performed magnificently in the witness box. You have done credit to yourself and have earned the admiration and respect of all concerned.”

He obviously was not speaking for Mr Justice Laddie!

If the Judge was so obviously biased when commenting on matters of indisputable fact – the amount of time spent under arduous cross-examination by each of the two main protagonists, how could any reliance be placed on his impartiality in relation to issues which were less certain? The Judge failed to mention that Lazenby was still being cross-examined when Shell decided it was an opportune moment to settle? This was before Mr Cox had got onto further questions about Lazenby’s close association with directors of Option One.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: Absolutely. He did not know prior to discovery what the state of the documentation was inside Shell. I think it would be unwise to go any further than that, Mr Cox.

MR COX: I agree.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: What I do make clear now in case it was not clear to those in court before. As I have said, none of this was a criticism of you, your junior or your solicitors. Maintenance of the attacks on the basis of the known facts was something which I attribute to the client, not to you. I have no doubt at all, Mr Cox, none whatsoever, that you would not have advanced allegations against Mr Lazenby or anybody else recklessly; if any suggestion to the contrary was made it was not the intention.

I hope that is clear, Mr Cox.

MR COX: I am grateful for that. Thank you.

MR JUSTICE LADDIE: I will make the order requested by the parties.


My closing comments: The Judge had been given misleading information because Shell was intent on keeping the true terms of settlement from the media and Shell shareholders. This is popularly known as a cover-up. The Judges consent was rendered invalid because the compromise settlement Mr Justice Laddie sanctioned by a juridical order was not the settlement which actually took place. This is confirmed by the transcript of the “Judges Comments” and in the 2008 email from Wiseman.

The payment my son received was considerably less than he had anticipated and overall he was out of pocket. Thus the settlement did not constitute the settlement he was entitled to, but neither was it a stalemate. The terms were negotiated while he was under immense pressure as a result of the false accusations in court, the undercover activity during the run up to the trial, the sustained campaign of threats including threats of violence against his family and witnesses and the series of suspicious series of burglaries at the homes of his solicitor in Croydon, a key witness in Norfolk and at his own residence.

No mention was made by the Judge of the three previous settlements made by Shell in our favour. We received hundreds of thousands of pounds from Shell in settlement of the claims. Mr Lazenby was the key Shell manager involved in all three of the previous claims. The Judge also failed to mention the unsolicited letter of apology we received from Shell Chairman Dr Chris Fay. Admissions of wrongdoing was made on the record by Shell and in writing by its lawyers. It is therefore inexplicable and nonsensical for the Judge to clear Mr Lazenby of ANY wrong doing. A senior independent lawyer who had interviewed Mr Lazenby at length when acting as a mediator in respect of two earlier claims stated in the presence of witnesses that it was the view of him and his co-mediator, another independent lawyer, that Mr Lazenby had “pissed on Don Marketing from a very great height”.

It was only because of the blatantly biased nature of the “Judges Comments” – one-sided in favour of Shell/Mr Lazenby, that Geoffrey Cox was provoked into revealing the true settlement terms in the Judges chambers immediately after the heated exchanges in open court.

Mr Justice Laddie Judge failed to deal impartially with matters of incontrovertible fact – the respective amount of recorded time spent under cross-examination by Shell’s key witness compared with my son. He also displayed bias in other comments. Consequently, I can surely be forgiven for doubting his impartially when dealing with matters of subjective opinion? Let me make it plain: I have never read such patently one-sided comments as those made by Mr Justice Laddie. Why did he make any comments at all and why were they so completely one-sided? It is bizarre and inexplicable why the Judge went so far out of his way to please Shell/Mr Lazenby.

The same Shell senior management figures who gave their full support to Mr Lazenby in the SMART trial were responsible for the reserves scandal which has destroyed Shell’s reputation and has brought about the end of a once great British company, The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company plc. Incriminating emails proved how Shell directors had lied and deceived investors. Shell has paid $150 million in fines to the regulatory authorities for misleading the markets and relevant directors are still under criminal investigation as well as being defendants in multi-billion dollar US class action lawsuits. The scandal was described in the BBC Money Programme as the biggest investor fraud in history.

It is possible that Mr Justice Laddie resigned after we approached him after the trial and later complained about his conduct to the Lord Chancellor, because he felt too that his conduct had been inappropriate.

Taped Telephone Conversations

First taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan: 18 June 1993 *

Taped call David Patton (Nintento) and John Donovan: 18 June 1993 *

Second taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan 18 June 1993 *

Third taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan: 24 June 1993 *

Fourth taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan: 5 July 1993 *

Fifth taped call Andrew Lazenby and John Donovan: (Make Money conversation) 21 February 1994

First taped call David Watson (Shell) John Donovan: 28 October 1993

Second taped call David Watson and John Donovan: 1 November 1993

Third taped call David Watson and John Donovan: 2 November 1993

Taped Conversation Mike Fairhurst (Senior KIng) and John Donovan: June 1993

Taped call Senior King and John Donovan: undated *

The mind set of Lazenby is evident from an incriminating email relating to the same project which he circulated to Shell managerial colleagues.

Extract: ““NB: To answer your last point: My note of 25/10 is the official position, my note of 9/9 expressed a personal and pragmatic view of how to handle the problem – it is in fact illegal and is certainly unofficial, and if we were discovered then we will enforce the official legal position – which is that all volume must currently be rewarded with promotional points”.

Companies in a tender process for a SMART loyalty card contract were deliberately drawn into confidentiality agreements supplied by Pamela Marsh who worked for Mr Wiseman in the legal department. Proprietary information was extracted from the companies under false pretences and they were held back from approaching other oil companies in the belief they were still in the running for the SMART contract, when in fact, the decision had already been made to reject them from the tender.

The Smart contract was miraculously awarded to an agency – Option One – which had not even run in the contract race. Lazenby had a close private relationship with senior directors of Option One. His diaries show that he also had an offshore bank account in the Channel Islands (Jersey). As far as we could tell, all confidential ideas disclosed to Lazenby and subsequently adopted by Shell were channelled to Option One. This included a series of proposals we put to Lazenby including a rerun of the Shell Make Money game we had devised for Shell and held joint rights with Shell.

Never guessing that his hand-written diary entries would be exposed to scrutiny in a High Court case, Lazenby made entries which revealed that he was a disgruntled employee and was intent to “Set up personal business while @ Shell 35 yrs = exit date.” It was his apparent objective to exploit his position to create enough personal wealth to exit Shell at the age of 35.

Detailed information about the SMART contract scam is contained in the article ALARM BELLS RING OVER TENDERING FOR ROYAL DUTCH SHELL CONTRACTS


Breathtaking hypocrisy of Shell bosses Malcolm Brinded and Richard Wiseman

Andrew Lazenby cross examination under oath by lead barrister Geoffrey Cox: Extract from above trial and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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