Top QC David Perry approved to prosecute Kwok bribery trial

Judge says prosecution should be entitled to 'best available talent' in such a high-profile case

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 4:21am

Prominent British barrister David Perry, who is leading the prosecution of self-styled fung shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen, will also be the lead prosecutor in the bribery trial involving the billionaire Kwok brothers and former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan.

The High Court yesterday allowed an application by the Department of Justice to engage Perry after Mr Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung said the prosecution should be entitled to the "best available talent" in such a high-profile case.

The chief judge of the High Court also allowed applications by the Kwok brothers to engage fraud specialist Clare Montgomery QC to act for Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, 61, and John Kelsey-Fry to represent Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, 59. The pair are co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Perry's engagement is a surprise. It had been widely rumoured Lord MacDonald QC, the former director of public prosecutions of England and Wales, who has been advising the prosecution on the case, would be appointed.

Perry was the lead prosecutor in the conviction of "milkshake murderess" Nancy Kissel at her retrial.

Montgomery, a former British deputy high court judge and a fraud specialist, recently acted for the Swedish government in its bid to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Kelsey-Fry, with 34 years experience, is an acclaimed "star-rated" Queen's Consul specialising in fraud and conspiracy law.

Graft-busters have charged the Kwok brothers and Hui, 64, with bribery and misconduct in public office. The Kwoks allegedly paid Hui more than HK$34 million in bribes.

Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, 66, Sun Hung Kai's executive director, and Francis Kwan Hung-sang, 62, a former Hong Kong stock exchange official, have been charged with conspiring with the Kwoks to offer some of the bribes.

The Bar Association had opposed giving the London silks permission to appear.

Cheung said the case was a high-profile one because an "ex-chief secretary for administration, who also during his tenure acted as the acting chief executive from time to time", was charged with corruption. And the Kwoks were the "owner and controller of one of Hong Kong's biggest property empires".

The judge said it would be in the public interest to allow the prosecution to engage the "best available talent" to ensure no stone was left unturned.

Director of Public Prosecutions Kevin Zervos said the application to admit Perry as the lead prosecutor should be allowed because it was a "high profile and complicated case" where the charges spanned nine years between 2000 and 2009. "We should be entitled to prosecute a case in the best way we can," Zervos said. "It's important to ensure that our criminal justice system is successful and has the confidence and trust of the public."