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Investigation arising from Shell Brent Bravo Explosion

By John Donovan

Criminal Investigation arising from Shell Brent Bravo Explosion

On 17 March 2011, I sent an email to Mrs Anne Currie (right), the Area Procurator Fiscal for Grampion in Scotland.

Its purpose was to find out why the accused company Shell, not the Procurator Fiscal, notified former Shell International Group HSE Auditor, Mr Bill Campbell, of the outcome of the investigation.

This seemed odd to say the least, bearing in mind that it was his complaint to Grampion Police, which sparked the corruption investigation allegedly involving Shell and HSE officials.

The efficiency of Shell in routinely destroying records, which were potential evidence, may have helped them escape possible criminal prosecution for the alleged corruption arising from the reckless “Touch F*** All” safety culture on the Shell Brent Bravo North Sea Rig.  An explosion on the Rig cost the lives of two Shell offshore workers.


From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 17 March 2011 12:04
To: Currie, Anne (Grampian Area PF); Grant, Andrew (Stirling PF); [email protected]

Dear Ms Currie

Printed below for your information is the note being added to the letter from Mr Campbell. I intend to recommence circulation to SMP’s and MP’s from tomorrow. The revised letter will also be published.

Please let me know today if you wish to correct any misstatement of fact, in which case I will further delay publication pending your considered response.

Yours sincerely
John Donovan


There has been some recent correspondence on this matter involving Royal Dutch Shell and the Procurator Fiscal.

In an extraordinary development, after an investigation lasting over two years, a Royal Dutch Shell General Counsel, not the Procurator Fiscal, has informed Mr Campbell of a decision by the Procurator Fiscal “that, having conducted a full investigation into the allegations of bribery and corruption on the part of the HSE and Shell made by Mr Campbell, and having considered all the facts, Crown Counsel has decided that no prosecution or further investigation is justified.”

Does this direct notification by the accused company to the whistleblower, Mr Campbell, whose complaint to Grampion Police sparked the corruption investigation, not strike you as odd? Surely the Procurator Fiscal should have notified Mr Campbell at the same time as notifying Shell?

The Procurator Fiscal had assured Mr Campbell in writing that its investigation would be “meticulous”. In fact, the key officials and employees at the heart of the allegations were not even interviewed. How much did the investigation cost? Who, other than Mr Campbell, was interviewed? If, as appears to be the case, this investigation was a shambles, or even worse, a charade designed to neutralise or placate Mr Campbell, then the costs incurred by Grampion Police in their investigation, before handing the file over to the Procurator Fiscal, was public money thrown down the drain. The same applies to the costs incurred during the subsequent two year long investigation by the Procurator Fiscal.

Surely it was important that after the accusations of unsatisfactory procedures surrounding the Fatal Accident Inquiry arising from the Brent Bravo explosion, that a genuinely meticulous investigation was carried out and that proper procedure was followed? As matters stand, the credibility of the investigation and its outcome is completely undermined.

The recent correspondence, which does not change the comments made by Mr Campbell, can be viewed here.

The Procurator Fiscal has had advance sight of the Campbell letter above and this note added by John Donovan.


(Link will be inserted)


Ms Currie replied and said that during a full meeting with Mr Campbell on 18 February 2011, it was explained to him that Crown Counsel having considered all the facts, decided there was insufficient evidence to justify a criminal prosecution or any further investigation.

This was my self-explanatory response.

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 17 March 2011 18:30:07 GMT
To: “Currie, Anne (Grampian Area PF)” <[email protected]>
Cc:, [email protected], [email protected]

Dear Ms Currie

Thank you for your reply.

Printed below is a copy of an email sent to you by Mr Campbell on 9 March. He stated his assumption that “your investigation is still ongoing.”

I have not seen a copy of your response, which I would have assumed, if it were not for the current confusion, would have cleared up any misconception on the part of Mr Campbell about this fundamentally important point. When he wrote to me on 15 March, it was plain that he remained uncertain about the status of the investigation and was still awaiting clarification from you.

Has he received any written notification in the unambiguous form stated in your reply today, other than from Shell?

Yours sincerely
John Donovan

Dear Procurator Fiscal

See attached.

The attachment is self explanatory.  I still await your reply to my concerns re our discussions on 18th February but suffice to say unless otherwise stated I assume your investigation is still ongoing.

As you are aware the Chairman of Shell, and his legal counsel is aware of the allegations against them and so are the HSE.  They have been given many opportunities to respond, right of reply etc but have never done so.

Coincidentally most of the comments re Shell and HSE were covered in a House of Commons report on the role of the HSC and the HSE in workplace health and safety in their third report covering 2007-08 (HC 246 -11 refers) published on 2nd April 2008 and are thus in the public domain.

Unless any specific objections are raised arrangements are in place to distribute it to MP’s and MSP’s in the next few days.


Bill Campbell
Wednesday 9th March

This article will be updated in the event of any further reply from Anne Currie. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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