British court papers reveal StanChart robbery suspect's health woes such as acne and stomach problems

Psychological assessment also found that David James Roach showed symptoms of depressive illness, and might have suffered a "mild depressive episode" prior to the alleged robbery. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM NATION TV

SINGAPORE- Standard Chartered robbery suspect, David James Roach, has suffered longstanding health issues such as acne and stomach problems.

Psychological assessment also found that he showed symptoms of depressive illness, and might have suffered a "mild depressive episode" prior to the alleged robbery on July 7, 2016.

These details emerged in a written judgment by the Westminster Magistrates' Court that had decided on Wednesday (Aug 29) that Roach, 28, could be extradited as requirements for Singapore's request have been met.

He is accused of robbing StanChart's Holland Village branch of $30,000. He then fled to Bangkok with the money on the same day, where he was arrested three days later.

On June 6 last year (2017), the Canadian national was sentenced to 14 months' jail in Thailand for violating money laundering and Customs laws by bringing loot into the country. He was in transit in London while being deported from Thailand to Canada when he was arrested by British authorities on Singapore's request.

In judgment papers made available on Thursday, District Judge N. Tempia said that all the challenges against the extradition have "failed".

The case has been sent to Britain's Secretary of State to decide if Roach, whom the judge labelled a "fugitive", will be extradited.

Roach's extradition to Singapore was sought on one count of robbery which can carry a maximum of 10 years in jail and at least six strokes of the cane. Another count of money laundering is also being sought, with a maximum sentence of a $500,000 fine or 10 years' imprisonment.

The judgment papers also revealed that factors cited by Roach against his extradition included claims that Singapore's prison conditions would violate his human rights, and concerns that Singapore would not keep its promise not to cane him.

In her findings Judge Tempia acknowledged that Roach suffered from longstanding health issues including acne and stomach problems. However, he has not been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease -an inflammatory bowel disease- which were claims brought up in the course of the case.

A report by forensic consultant Dr Alan Reid said there is no evidence to suggest Roach suffers from "any mental disorder beyond, at most perhaps symptoms of low mood that might have met the criteria for a mild depressive episode prior to the alleged offence".

There were also issues with Singapore prison conditions, highlighted by Dr Alan Mitchell, who is engaged as an expert by the Council of Europe to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

Referring to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights - that prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment - Dr Mitchell said Roach's extradition would risk exposing him to degrading treatment due to prison conditions in Singapore.

Roach will be housed in Changi Prison Complex if he is extradited to Singapore.

In particular, Dr Mitchell highlighted the "modesty wall" in Singapore prison cells which divides the living space from the sanitary facilities, and a mirrored dome on the ceiling of the toilet that allows prison officers to check on inmates through its reflection.

He had said eating in a cell with a modesty wall, which does not fully partition the living and sanitation spaces, is effectively eating in the toilet, and the CPT would be "very concerned" about this. He also said there was a lack of privacy when inmates used the toilet because of the reflective dome.

However, Judge Tempia found that while conditions were "not ideal", the defence had failed to show that Roach is at "real risk" of a breach of his Article 3 rights. Singapore Prison Service's Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ong Pee Eng had also testified via video-link during the course of the case.

Roach's lawyer also said the court could not place any reliability on Singapore's promise to not cane him if convicted of robbery. The assurance was given by Singapore's Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam in a written undertaking dated Feb 8 (2018) to Britain's Secretary of State.

However, the judge said there was no evidence to suggest Singapore would not abide by the assurance.

She added there was strong public interest in honouring the extradition arrangements between Singapore and Britain and it was important to prevent Britain from becoming a haven for a fugitive.

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