Australian accountant arrested in Bali has history of depression: lawyers

Australian accountant Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, who has been arrested in Bali on drug charges. December 2017.?? Picture: Amilia RosaJakarta: Australian accountant Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, who is being detained in Bali on drug importing allegations, has a history of depression and past trauma according to his legal team.
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Bali police claim Roberts, 35, from Queensland, admitted he bought the drugs in Bangkok paying 2500 bhat (about $100) per gram of methamphetamine and 600 bhat ($24) per ecstasy pill.

Roberts was arrested on December 4 after he was allegedly nabbed with five packets of clear crystal meth weighing 19.97 grams, which Indonesians refer to using the slang term shabu, and 14 ecstasy tablets at Bali’s international airport on December 4.

He faces charges of importing more than five grams of drugs under article 113, which carries a maximum punishment of death and a minimum of five years’ jail.

“He bought it for his personal use. (He admits) ???that he’s a user,” Joni Lay, third division narcotics chief with Bali police told Fairfax Media.

He said police did not know why Roberts had bought the drugs in Thailand and not Bali.

One of Roberts’ lawyers, Deni Sedana, told Fairfax Media that Roberts’ medical records from Australia indicated he was depressed, had suffered past trauma and had suicidal tendencies.

He said he had complained of shock after being dramatically paraded before the media wearing a balaclava and orange jumpsuit with two other alleged foreign drug felons, guarded by customs officers holding guns.

Sedana said Roberts attended a scheduled health check at a Bali hospital on Tuesday.

“He wasn’t rushed to the hospital, he didn’t faint,” Sedana said. “He was stressed. He complained??? of shortness of breath and said he can’t sleep. But it was just a check up.”

Sedana said Roberts did not need to be hospitalised after his check-up and was taken back to Denpasar police station.

He is being detained at the police station while his case is processed before being handed over to prosecutors. He is expected to soon to be transferred to Kerobokan prison.

Lay, the third division narcotics police chief, confirmed that Roberts had been returned to his police cell.

“During interrogation, he was cooperative, ???he didn’t complained of any illness, maybe just shock,” he told Fairfax Media. “There were no problems.”

Lay said he had been scheduled to have a hospital check-up yesterday and another was scheduled for next week.

In a heated outburst after he was escorted out of a media conference yesterday, Roberts said he had been set up and he was “just a f???.g addict”.

“They want to waste their resources on addicts. They want to punish addicts, this is ridiculous. What about the f???..g importers? I wasn’t going to sell it to anyone here, no one was going to use it here.”

Roberts said: “This is an embarrassment for the Indonesian police. They are parading small-time users in front of media for tiny amounts when there are kilos going through this airport. This is ridiculous.”

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”.

In 2012, Roberts, who was then working for Pitcher Partners in Queensland, won the National Advanced Tax Dux Award.

A press release at the time said he had completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Queensland before completing the chartered accountant (CA) program and a Master of Applied Tax at Atax, University of New South Wales.

Asked at the time how his professional life ended up in tax, Roberts said: “After ‘fluking’ a top-in-class award in income tax law at UQ while studying a finance major, and then a merit in the tax module of the CA program it seems I have a talent for it.”

Roberts also stood as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the Melbourne seat of Higgins in the 2009 by-election triggered by the resignation of former Treasurer Peter Costello.

“I recall Isaac Roberts name but not much else, other than that he was our candidate in a by-election,” Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm told Fairfax Media.

“As a general comment, the Liberal Democrats are strongly in favour of decriminalising drugs (along the same lines as Portugal). However, we obviously don’t condone breaking the law.”

With Toby Crockford

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Christmas behind bars for alleged North Korean agent

A 59-year-old man who allegedly provided services to a “weapons of mass destruction program” on behalf of the rogue North Korean regime has appeared in court.
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Chan Han Choi was arrested at his Eastwood apartment at the weekend, and faces six charges related to brokering the sale of missiles, missile parts and expertise from North Korea to “other international entities” and attempting to transfer coal from North Korea to non-government buyers in Indonesia and Vietnam.

All offences allegedly relate to the period between August and December this year.

Mr Choi, from Eastwood, appeared in prison greens at Central Local Court on Wednesday via audio-visual link from Silverwater Correctional Centre.

The 59-year-old has been charged with two counts of contravening a sanction law, two counts of contravening a United Nations enforcement law and two counts of providing service for a weapons of mass destruction program.

It is the first time anyone has been charged under Australia’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act 1995.

Federal police allege Mr Choi was acting to raise funds for the North Korean regime, which could have raised tens of millions of dollars for Pyongyang, if successful.

The attempted transactions related to the sale of coal, to third parties in Indonesia and Vietnam, and the sale of missile guidance systems and other missile componentry.

Outside court on Wednesday Mr Choi’s barrister Alex Radojev said he was on his way to meet Mr Choi for the first time.

“I don’t know how he’s going because I haven’t met him,” he said, adding that the charges “appear to be very serious”.

Mr Choi first came to the attention of the Australian Federal Police several months ago, following a tip-off by an overseas agency.

In response the AFP formed Operation Byahaut and began conducting surveillance.

Following Mr Choi’s arrest AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan stressed that there had been no risk to the Australian public.

“This is black market 101,” he said. “We are alleging that all the activity occurred offshore, and was purely another attempt for this man to trade goods and services as a way to raise revenue for the government of North Korea.

“This was his goal.”

Mr Gaughan said the South Korean-born man had been acting “to serve some higher patriotic purpose” to the rogue state.

On Wednesday the AFP announced it would be investigating itself after a social media bungle, which saw a minute-long discussion about managing media surrounding Mr Choi’s arrest accidentally aired on the live-streaming app Periscope.

“The incident occurred when testing a piece of social media broadcasting equipment,” an AFP spokesman said.

“The matter has been referred to the AFP’s Security area for review. As such, no further comment will be made at this time.”

Mr Choi will remain behind bars over Christmas, to reappear in court via audio-visual link on February 28.

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Hunter suburb the hottest in Australia

Camels from Oakfield Ranch were in the Christmas spirit earlier this week on the Birubi Beach sand dunes. Pictures: Ellie-Marie WattsTemperatures soared past the 40 degree mark across the Hunter on Wednesday as a heatwave engulfed the northern part of the state.
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By midday,Maitland, Cessnock and Singleton had all hit 40degrees, while readings at Williamtown crept to 42.5.

Nobby’s Beach pushed to 39 degrees as Newcastle cityand the region sweltered in the dry heat.

At 3.26pm, Tocal was the hottest place in Australia with a 43.8 degree temperaturereading.

TheBureau of Meteorology (BOM) said aslow-moving high in the Tasman meant hot air was being drawn south towards the coastfrom central and northern parts of Australia.

A cold front that was expected to move through on Wednesday afternoon wasenabling the hottertemperatures to continue to move the whole way down the coast.

Read more: The Hunter’s best swimming spots

“We will have some showers in the wake of that cooler change and then that shouldstart to clear off later on this week,” BOM’s Gabrielle Woodhouse said.

“We are looking at the chance of showers or thunderstorms[on Saturday and Sunday] and it does look be an afternoon feature again.”

Overnight respite is expected with the cooler change and temperatures are only predicted to be in the mid-20s on Thursday.

Weekend peaks will return to the 30-degree range, but nightly temperatures should sit at around 19-20 degrees.

Total fire ban’s are in place across the Hunter, Greater Sydney and North Western regions as fire danger ratings increased throughout the week.

The Greater Hunter and North Western regions moved from ‘Very High’ danger warnings to ‘Severe’ on Wednesday morning.

Fires in Lovedale and Patersonwere deemed to be under control as of Wednesday afternoon.

Update:

As of mid-afternoon on Wednesday, NSW Ambulance paramedics had attended 23 cases ofdizziness, fainting and entrapment acrossNorthern NSW, which was the highest call out region in the state.

Severe thunderstorms have also been predicted to role through Illawarra, Sydney and Newcastle on Wednesday evening. They are likely to produce large hailstones, damaging winds and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding.

NSW Severe T’Storm: Large Hail, Heavy Rain, Damaging Winds. Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, Gosford, Sydney, Wollongong. #storm#NSW#hailhttps://t.co/ljheuiv6T5pic.twitter南京夜网/JvpWJnKLXE

— Lake Macquarie (@lakemac) December 20, 2017

Electricity market in intensive care, but improvement coming

The National Electricity Market is in bad health and wholesale change is needed, but recovery is on the horizon.
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A new Energy Security Board report has found electricity prices have increased by around 80 to 90 per cent in real terms over the last decade, and ???bill shock’ is hitting both residential and business customers.

It called for widespread change in the energy market, supported by strong policy, to ensure the NEM can transition to a new energy future driven in part by increased renewables.

“The pattern of the transmission grid in the NEM must change,” the report said.

“The grid was designed in the last century to run from large coal-fired generators to the load in the cities. It must now be reconfigured so that it runs from renewable energy zones to the cities.”

The ESB outlined the National Energy Guarantee as one of the important developments in the sector but noted that it is not a panacea for all of the electricity sector’s woes.

“The National Energy Guarantee is not designed to solve all the reliability and system security issues in the NEM,” the ESB said.

“Modifications to existing tools may be needed, and new mechanisms may have to be introduced.”

Federal Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said the NEM is facing the most challenging period in its history.

“The report finds the NEM faces numerous challenges as it goes through its greatest change since its development in the 1990s, including a tight supply-demand balance, a marked changed in the generation mix towards intermittent sources and rapid technological change,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“The ESB finds while there is much work to be done, the situation is improving as a result of measures put in place by the Turnbull Government, the COAG Energy Council and the energy market bodies.”

The ESB also broached the subject of ongoing carbon policy uncertainty, an issue raised earlier this week in the federal government’s climate change policy review.

The ESB put part of the blame squarely on successive federal governments’ inability to put decisive emissions policies in place.

“One reason for this unwelcome situation is a decade of uncertain policy about emissions reduction and what this means for the NEM in particular,” the report said.

“Despite international commitments to emissions reductions, no settled policy has been possible at the federal level.”

The NSW energy taskforce also released a report this week, urging the states to build their own clean energy targets.

“While further development of the National Energy Guarantee is proceeding for the COAG Energy Council, for the purposes of this report the Taskforce assumes that some form of market mechanism that addresses both dispatchability and emissions reduction will be agreed by the National Electricity Market jurisdictions,” the NSW report said.

“In any case, a mechanism will be needed and NSW should continue to advocate this nationally.”

The Grattan Institute’s Energy Director Tony Wood told Fairfax Media there was little surprising in the ESB’s report, but by setting out the major issues it puts them on the front foot to solve the ongoing energy crisis.

“Given that the ESB was a primary recommendation of the Finkel Review and one of its first tasks was to produce a Health of the NEM report, it’s hardly surprising it had this view as if it were healthy it wouldn’t need the ESB in the first place,” Mr Wood said.

“It sets out the challenges around the NEM; if the role of the NEM is to deliver affordable and reliable energy it, and now we’re imposing an emissions objective as well, it’s clearly not doing it,” he said.

“They’ve admitted the NEG need more work, although I think they’re a bit light in relation to the role of network regulations in impacting on all these issues.”

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Cemetery plan causes grave fears

Backlash: Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery has criticised a plan to introduce optional 25-year renewable interments for the state’s cemeteries. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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The families of people who die in NSW will soon be able to lease a grave site for 25 years, before the remains are dug up so the site can be used for another burial.

The state government says the optional 25-year term, which can be renewed for up to 99 years,will help free-up space at over-crowded cemeteries.

But critics of the plan argue that it could place more pressure on families during the already emotionally-testing periodof losing a loved one.

Opponents also say introducing a 25-year option could drive up the cost for families who want gravesites that remain in place forever.

Amendments to the Cemetery and Crematoria Act 2013 are open for public feedback on the Crown Lands website until Friday.

According to the new regulation, cemetery operators must disclose the relevant fees to the family of the deceased person, but it “must include a statement that the disclosed fees and charges are subject to change”.

Leesa Warren, who has about 40 family members buried at Sandgate Cemetery,fears the offer of 25-year plots would drive prices up and make perpetual graves unaffordable for many people. She was also concerned that the new regulation would create a situationlong into the futurewhere people could beblindsided byfees to keep a relative’s remains in the ground.

“It’s also going to put pressure on families as to who is going to be the person that the decision is put to,” Ms Warren said.

“It’s always emotional, because it’s your loved one.”

A Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW fact sheet about the change noted that the regulation “will not operate retrospectively – all existing graves and rights continue exactly as they were prior to the new legislation”.

“Perpetual interment rights will continue to be available and there will be no impact on existing perpetual graves or rights,” it noted.

Aspokesperson told Fairfax Media that a cemetery capacity report for the Hunter and Central Coast would be released in the first half of 2018.

The spokesperson said the renewable interment rights would be “entirely voluntary and will not impact on perpetual interment rights currently in place”.

“The introduction of a consistent regulatory framework for renewable interment is just one initiative proposed to address projected cemetery capacity shortages,” the spokesperson said.

Cemetery operators will have to contact the holder of the renewable interment right 12 months before it’s due to expire–every three months until the expiry date if they receive no reply.

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery heavily criticised the new regulation.

“Your loved ones could only get 25 years in their grave before being dug up and stashed in a bone room under this new plan,” she said.

“We are potentially looking at a situation where families will be contacted years down the track by cemetery operators demanding additional payment or face having their loved ones dug up.

“This plan creates a situation where long-term burial would depend on someone’s capacity to pay.”