BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Two former judicial officials accused of corruption, money laundering and criminal breach of trust have hired UK-based Queen’s Counsel to represent them during trial, which is scheduled to begin March 4.

Simon Henry Farrell, QC, appeared before Chief Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong on Monday, and was granted admission to practice as an advocate and solicitor in the Supreme Court of Brunei Darussalam.

Neither the Law Society or Attorney General’s Chambers raised any objections.

The defendants — Ramzidah Pehin Datu Kesuma Diraja Col (rtd) Hj Abdul Rahman and her husband Hj Nabil Daraina Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Badaruddin — are facing 157 charges relating to the misappropriation of more than $7 million from the High Court’s Bankruptcy Office, where Ramzidah was deputy official receiver until December 2017.

They have pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Defence counsel Sheikh Noordin said the defendants had instructed him to secure the services of a QC who “possesses the specialist skills, qualifications and experience in handling white collar crime”, particularly in cases involving money laundering and confiscation of assets and properties.

Farrell is a barrister at Three Raymond Buildings in London, where he has worked on a number of cases involving conspiracy, corporate crime, commercial and tax fraud, bribery, corruption, and money laundering.

The defendants are scheduled to appear in court again on Thursday for a pre-trial conference.