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THE TIMES: David Kelley, US attorney for the southern district of New York, has decided not to prosecute Shell

THE TIMES: David Kelley, US attorney for the southern district of New York, has decided not to prosecute Shell

Friday 1 July 2005

By Robert Cole

Commentary

IS THIS an odd abrogation of judicial duty or an uncharacteristic outbreak of common sense? David Kelley, US attorney for the southern district of New York, has decided not to prosecute Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, for the way it overstated its hydrocarbon reserves.

It would, he says, cause excessive disruption to the company. Culprits do need to be held to account.

But Mr Kelley should be applauded for resisting the temptation to set spurious legal duty over common sense. Shareholders, victims already, would be further damaged by litigation.

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