'Tested positive': Australian drug suspect in Bali is 'sorry'

The mother of drug suspect Australian Isaac Roberts is guided into a car wearing a maroon shawl over her head after visiting her son in the police cell.
Picture: Amilia Rosa
The mother of drug suspect Australian Isaac Roberts is guided into a car wearing a maroon shawl over her head after visiting her son in the police cell. Picture: Amilia Rosa

Bali: Australian accountant Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, detained in Bali on drug allegations, is "feeling guilty and sorry to the Indonesian government" according to one of his lawyers.

Roberts, 35, received several visits at the police station where he is being detained on Wednesday, including one from his mother, who was helped into a car with a maroon shawl over her head in an attempt to avoid the media pack.

"He is feeling guilty, he is feeling sorry to the Indonesian government," lawyer Yoga Cahyadi said. "Careful, she's elderly," he remonstrated to the shoving media pack as he guided Roberts' mother into the car.

Roberts was arrested on December 4 after he was allegedly caught with 19.97 grams of crystal meth, which Indonesians call shabu, and 14 ecstasy tablets at Bali's international airport.

Under article 113 of Indonesia's strict drug laws the maximum punishment for importing more than five grams of illegal narcotics into the country is the death penalty.

However the punishment is considerably lighter if the person only intended the drugs for personal use.

Roberts' legal team has already emphasised that he is a drug user who has a history of depression, past trauma and suicidal tendencies.

Asked about the legal strategy for Roberts given he had said the drugs were for personal use but he was being detained under an importation article, another of his lawyers, Edward Pangkahila, said: "We can't talk about it now. It's too early."

Cahyadi said Roberts, who was hospitalised for a couple of days after his arrest to allow him to detox, was "feeling better". "He's cooperative with the process and nothing is problem."

Roberts is an award-winning accountant who stood for former Treasurer Peter Costello's blue-ribbon seat of Higgins, in Melbourne, in the 2009 by-election.

His candidate profile said he worked as a Chartered Accountant with a large Melbourne accounting firm and regularly provided advice on tax policy and legislation to large private companies.

"His specific areas of interest include civil liberties and freedom, energy policy and climate change, immigration, LGBT rights, welfare policy and taxation," his profile at the time said.

But a friend, who met Roberts on the gay party scene in Sydney about four and a half years ago, told Fairfax Media he had grown increasingly concerned as the accountant became increasingly fragile.

"He had a real meth habit, he would have been taking a gram per day," he said. "He was hyper vulnerable, a real shadow of his former self.

"He's super sweet, ultra sensitive and very challenged with the life he's found himself in."

Roberts' told the media after a dramatic press conference, in which he and two other alleged drug felons wore balaclavas and were guarded by armed customs officers, that he was "just a f???.g addict".

He claimed he was invited to Indonesia by someone who was working with the customs officer and "they knew I was going to bring something".

Customs officer Husni Syaiful denied this.

The deputy director of narcotics at Bali police, Sudjarwoko, said Roberts had not mentioned anything about a set-up during the police investigation.

"A suspect can say anything they want or nothing all together. It's their right," he said.

Sudjarwoko said any drugs that passed through an X-ray machine would be detected. "That's how he was caught."

Asked if Roberts had separated the drugs into several containers, including a condom box, to avoid detection, Sudjarwoko said it was his intention to hide the drugs to pass through inspection.

The narcotics deputy director said Roberts had used drugs just before he left for Bali and they were still in his system when he arrived.

"His urine tested positive for drugs," Sudjarwoko said.

He said authorities had initially had to wait for drugs to be out of Roberts' system before they could proceed with the investigation.

"He was still being observed [on Tuesday], he was scheduled for a check up, he wasn't sick," Sudjarwoko said.

"The investigation is done for now, there might be additional interrogations later. He has officially been named a suspect."

This story 'Tested positive': Australian drug suspect in Bali is 'sorry' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.