The Singapore Government has agreed to the UK’s request that 28-year-old Canadian David Roach be spared from corporal punishment if he is found guilty. Roach may be extradited to Singapore to face the law after he allegedly stole S$30,000 from a Standard Chartered bank branch in Holland Village in July 2016.
Singapore is seeking Roach’s extradition so he could be charged with one count of robbery and one count of money laundering in court. He could be charged a maximum jail term of 10 years for each of these offences.
In addition to imprisonment, anyone found guilty of robbery in Singapore “shall also be punished with caning with not less than six strokes” if the crime was committed between 7am and 7pm, according to the Penal Code.
Roach, however, will escape this punishment if he is extradited to Singapore.
The Ministry of Home Affairs revealed in a press statement yesterday:
“The Singapore Government is working with UK authorities on the extradition of David James Roach to Singapore. As part of the extradition proceedings, the UK Government has requested an assurance that if Roach were to be found guilty by a Singapore Court of robbery, the sentence of corporal punishment will not be carried out.
“The Singapore Government has agreed to the UK authorities’ request. UK extradition laws prohibit UK from extraditing Roach to Singapore in the absence of such an assurance. Roach’s extradition is being sought on one count of robbery under s 392 of the Penal Code and one count of money laundering under s 47(1)(b) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. Both offences carry maximum imprisonment terms of 10 years.
“The provision of the assurance is being done to try and ensure that Roach does not escape justice, and does not affect the general position taken by Singapore on corporal punishment. The UK Courts will decide whether to extradite Roach.”
Roach had fled to Thailand, following the infamous robbery, where he was jailed for one year and two months for failing to declare the large amount of money. Singapore asked Thai authorities to extradite Roach to Singapore but the Thai government declined and decided to deport Roach to his home country of Canada.
Roach was detained by officers from the Metropolitan Police Extradition Unit on Jan 11 at London’s Heathrow Airport while he was en route to Canada.
Netizens were incensed that Singapore has agreed to the UK’s request, once news of the extradition request acceptance broke. Several netizens added that such a request from another country would not have been entertained if the nation’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew was still at the helm of the country: