When commenting on his decision to spare caning for Canadian robber David Roach, Law Minister K Shanmugam made a false statement claiming that the Canadian will “get away scot-free” if he is deported back to Canada. A check with the criminal code of Canada found that David Roach will go on trial in a Canada court, go through the due judicial process, and similarly be jailed in Canada:
“Offence outside Canada
481.2 Subject to this or any other Act of Parliament, where an act or omission is committed outside Canada and the act or omission is an offence when committed outside Canada under this or any other Act of Parliament, proceedings in respect of the offence may, whether or not the accused is in Canada, be commenced, and an accused may be charged, tried and punished within any territorial division in Canada in the same manner as if the offence had been committed in that territorial division.
1996, c. 31, s. 72; 2008, c. 18, s. 10.”
Speaking to state media CNA yesterday (Feb 22), Singapore’s Law Minister K Shanmugam however claimed that the Canadians will protect the robber and let him walk free:
“The decision to commit to not caning suspected bank robber David Roach was a “fairly obvious” choice between letting him go off scot-free or getting him back to face a trial.”
The fake news by the Law Minister also cast aspersion on the Canadian judiciary, otherwise known as “contempt of court” under Singapore Law.
Law Minister K Shanmugam sits as a member of the Select Committee on Online Falsehoods, a government’s front to censor the internet. Just last week, his fellow member PAP MP Charles Chong, was found to have used fake news to win his by-election at Punggol East SMC.
In July 2016, Canadian David Roach entered a Standard Chartered Bank in Holland Village, and handed the bank teller a piece of paper written “This is a robbery, I have a weapon, give me money, don’t call the police.” David Roach then walked out of the bank with S$30,000 cash and left for Thailand.
As the Singapore government is in a poor diplomatic relationship with Thailand, the latter chose to hand over David Roach to Canada after jailing him 14 months for failing to declare the S$30,450 he brought into Thailand. During his extradition to Canada, David Roach was intercepted by the UK’s police when he was en route to Canada at the London airport.
The UK government told Singapore that they will not hand over David Roach unless the latter promise no corporeal punishments i.e. caning. Singapore readily bent backwards and promised to give special preference for the Canadian robber, where caning is mandatory for robberies. The Singapore government’s decision however was criticised by the locals as having legal concessions for foreigners.