Stan Chart robbery

Court papers reveal suspect's health woes

David James Roach, seen here in a screengrab image at Thai immigration, allegedly robbed a Standard Chartered Bank branch in Holland Village on July 7, 2016, then fled to Bangkok hours later.
David James Roach, seen here in a screengrab image at Thai immigration, allegedly robbed a Standard Chartered Bank branch in Holland Village on July 7, 2016, then fled to Bangkok hours later. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM NATION TV

His concerns over jail conditions, caning also brought up at extradition hearing in London

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

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

These details emerged in a written judgment by London's Westminster Magistrates' Court that had decided on Wednesday 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, and was arrested there.

On June 6 last year, the Canadian 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 the British authorities arrested him at Singapore's request.

In judgment papers made available on Thursday, District Judge N. Tempia said 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 alleged actions 'made cashier fear for her life'

  • When he approached the bank cashier at the Holland Village branch of Standard Chartered Bank, robbery suspect David James Roach, 28, allegedly placed his right hand in a bag which he put on the counter.

    The action, coupled with the handwritten note with the words, "This is a robbery, I have a gun in my bag", gave the impression he was holding on to something in the bag, said London court papers. This caused the cashier, 26, to fear for her life and she complied with his instructions on the note.

    This was the scenario painted by judgment papers, which revealed new details of the July 7, 2016, bank heist that Roach is accused of committing.

    Roach allegedly said in the note that he did not want any cash in $2 or $5 denominations.

    The court papers also said Roach was tracked via security footage and DNA from the room where he was staying. A bank ticket stub revealed his identity.

    Roach took a flight out of Changi Airport at 1.46pm, a little over two hours after the robbery, which took place at 11.20am.

    Tan Tam Mei

Roach's extradition to Singapore was sought on one count of robbery, which carries up to 10 years' 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 health issues, including acne and stomach problems. However, he has not been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, which was brought up during the hearing.

A report by forensic consultant Alan Reid said there is no evidence to suggest Roach suffers from any mental disorder, "at most, perhaps symptoms of low mood".

There were also issues with Singapore prison conditions, highlighted by Dr Alan Mitchell, 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.

He said Roach's extradition would risk exposing him to degrading treatment in a Singapore prison.

 
 

However, Judge Tempia disagreed. She also said there was no evidence to suggest Singapore would not abide by its assurance that Roach will not be caned if he is convicted of robbery, a point his lawyer raised.

She added that there was strong public interest in honouring the extradition arrangements between Singapore and Britain.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2018, with the headline 'Court papers reveal suspect's health woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe