In court

Published: Friday 30 June 2006

penalised: A US-based water company, United Utilities Plc, has been prosecuted for the fourth time this year. A UK court asked it to pay about US $18,600 as penalty for discharging 56,000 cubic metres of untreated sewage into the river Mersey in May 2006. The Wirral Magistrate's Court fined the company for allowing sewage to run freely into the Mersey for over a week.

land claims: Mining company Platinex Inc, the Ontario government and indigenous people are involved in a lawsuit over a platinum mine. The community, the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, was against any mining in its territory and has sued the provincial government for failing to follow a Supreme Court ruling. The court had ruled that the community be consulted before granting a mining contract. It asked the company to leave the area but Platinex in turn sued the community for more than US $9 million claiming it had received a permit from the province to do exploratory work.

shelled: A Nigerian court has ordered the Royal Dutch Shell Plc to pay US $1.5 billion as damages to members of the Ijaw community for polluting the Bayelsa region of the Niger delta. The court had earlier ordered Shell to pay by February, upholding a resolution by parliament that the firm pay the money to the Ijaw's. A Shell spokesperson said the company had appealed against the ruling and if penalised, the company would pay a proportionate penalty with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) contributing the most. Shell holds 30 per cent stake in a joint venture with NNPC, which holds a majority shareholding of 55 per cent. Local communities say Shell was responsible for polluting the river and the Niger delta and depriving them of their livelihoods. The company refutes the charges saying spills were caused due to oil filching.

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