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London judge rejects Canadian's bid to stop extradition to S'pore

London judge rejects Canadian's bid to stop extradition to S'pore

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 12 Feb 2020
Author: K.C. Vijayan

David James Roach, held in London, is accused of a 2016 bank robbery in Holland Village.

Canadian David James Roach, held in London for an alleged 2016 bank robbery in Holland Village, has failed in his appeal to stop his extradition to Singapore.

A London judge, who dismissed his appeal, was not convinced by his claim that there was abuse of process when his conviction in Thailand was weighed against one of the charges he is wanted for in Singapore.

Justice Edward James Holman rejected his claim that the offence of taking the bank loot out of Singapore - one of two charges for which he is wanted here - had already been dealt with in a court of law in Thailand, where he served a 14-month jail term before being flown to London en route to Canada.

"It seems to me that those offences under Thai law are completely separate and discrete in point of time from the second of the two offences alleged in the request, which (Roach) had already committed when he left Singapore," said Justice Holman in decision grounds last week.

Roach was arrested in January 2018 while on transit in London.

Singapore has sought his extradition to face one count of robbery and one of money laundering. He is accused of robbing Standard Chartered Bank's Holland Village branch of $30,450 on July 7, 2016.

He fled to Bangkok the same day and was later nabbed in a backpacker's hotel. In June 2017, a Thai court sentenced him to 14 months' jail for failing to declare the money he brought into the country and two related charges.

During his fight to avoid extradition to Singapore, his lawyer Simon Gledhill told a London district judge that there was "abuse of process" over the three charges he was convicted with in Thailand.

But the district judge rejected it in August 2018, ruling there was nothing to bar his extradition.

Roach applied for permission to appeal and in December last year, a High Court judge rejected two of his grounds.

They involve prison conditions in Singapore and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The third ground, alleging abuse of process, was allowed to proceed and it went before Justice Holman.

Mr Gledhill, argued that the offence of taking criminal proceeds out of Singapore was already "immersed" in the Thai charges and urged the court to give a wider interpretation to the Thai judgment as a whole, rather than literally of the three Thai statutes involved in the case.

He added that Roach's conduct in relation to the offence of taking criminal proceeds out of Singapore "essentially amounts to the same conduct as that for which he was prosecuted in Thailand".

Justice Holman found that Roach's conviction in Thailand was a conviction "predicated on the offences of smuggling currency into Thailand contrary to the Thai Exchange Control Act and the Thai Customs Act".

He added: "It was not, of itself, predicated on an offence previously committed in Singapore."

Justice Holman also said that even if Roach had obtained the money lawfully in Singapore, like from selling a car, he would still have committed the three offences in Thailand.

"He would have committed the exchange control and customs offences at the point when he failed to declare the money on arrival in Bangkok, and he would have committed the offence under Section 5 of the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Act at the point when he converted the money into Thai baht and then expended it on hotel accommodation and a computer."

"It seems to me, the fact that he had obtained the money by robbery made no difference," said Justice Holman in dismissing the appeal.

It is understood that Roach can apply for permission to appeal further to the Supreme Court in England.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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