Australian man Isaac Emmanuel Roberts was arrested at Ngurah Rai International Airport Bali after he arrived on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.
Australian man Isaac Emmanuel Roberts was arrested at Ngurah Rai International Airport Bali after he arrived on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.

'A very silly thing to do:' Toowoomba man's family speaks

ISAAC Emmanuel Roberts, 35, from Toowoomba, is facing drugs charges that carry the maximum death penalty.

He was among three people paraded before the media in Bali yesterday, ordered to wear black balaclavas and guarded by officials with rifles, as Customs officials and police announced details of their arrests.

Roberts fell ill after the press conference and is now being treated in the Trijata police hospital in Denpasar.

Lawyer Deni Sedana, one of a team of four representing Roberts, said his client had fallen ill late yesterday and that he often suffered from depression and was a suicide risk.

Looking pale, Roberts lay in a hospital bed covered by a blue and white striped blanket.

Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, from Toowoomba, has been arrested in Bail on drug smuggling charges.
Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, from Toowoomba, has been arrested in Bail on drug smuggling charges. Contributed

A family member last night told The Courier-Mail that Mr Robert's mother had travelled to Bali. The family member said that Mr Roberts was an OP1 student who topped his class at university.

"He went on to become an accountant and won all these awards," they said. "He's a very intelligent bloke. It's just a very silly thing to do."

Roberts had been living in Sydney and Melbourne for the past 18 years, but grew up in Crows Nest, near Toowoomba.

A former business partner said he was called by Roberts' mother last week.

 

"She asked me to give a ¬supporting letter to reference him," they said. "She was concerned about it. She is trying to get bail."

The former business partner said he was a "pretty good worker", but he believed he had a mental illness.

"Isaac was totally fine. He was normal. There was a point, I don't understand what happened to him. I think he had a mental illness. I think he had high depression."

Roberts stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the blue ribbon seat of Higgins in Melbourne, vacated by former treasurer Peter Costello when he retired in late-2009.

He and two other suspects sat on chairs behind officials at the conference, guarded by two officers also wearing balaclavas and carrying rifles. Picture: Lukman Bintaro
He and two other suspects sat on chairs behind officials at the conference, guarded by two officers also wearing balaclavas and carrying rifles. Picture: Lukman Bintaro

Mr Sedana said Roberts' original plan had been to fly directly from Bangkok to Australia, but was convinced by an Indonesian friend to go to Bali. He had only planned to stay two or three days in Bali, but was arrested when he landed at the airport.

Angered at being paraded for the media yesterday, Roberts told reporters that it was ridiculous, suggesting that someone he knew had been working with Customs.

"Parading small-time users in front of media for tiny amounts when there are kilos coming through this airport. It's ridiculous," Roberts told the media, suggesting he had been set up. I was invited to this country by someone who was working with a Customs officer and they knew I was going to bring something.

"They want to waste their resources on addicts; they want to punish addicts."

Paraded with him yesterday were an American and Malaysian man, arrested on unrelated matters.

Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, from Toowoomba, has been arrested in Bail on drug smuggling charges.
Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, from Toowoomba, has been arrested in Bail on drug smuggling charges. Contributed


Police said Roberts had allegedly admitted to being a user of drugs, but not a dealer.

Husni Syaiful, a senior official at the Customs and Excise office for Bali, said Roberts would likely face charges of drug possession and importing and possessing a psychotropic drug. These charges carried the death penalty, life sentence or 20 years in jail.

However, if he is dealt with under legislation aimed at drug users, the death penalty would likely be off the table.

It is alleged that secreted inside Roberts' luggage was 14.32 grams of methamphetamine, 6.22 grams of ecstasy and 22ml of alprazolam, better known as the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Bali drug squad officer Joni Lay said Roberts had told police that he bought the drugs for himself and had purchased them from a man named P in Thailand, paying 2500 Baht per gram for the methamphetamine and 600 Baht per gram for the ecstasy.

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