Downlands College student Isaac Emmanuel Roberts is seen in this copy of The Chronicle from 1997. The Toowoomba man was arrested in Bali for allegedly attempting to smuggle drugs.
Downlands College student Isaac Emmanuel Roberts is seen in this copy of The Chronicle from 1997. The Toowoomba man was arrested in Bali for allegedly attempting to smuggle drugs. The Chronicle

Downlands classmate of Bali drug accused: 'I was shocked'

EXCLUSIVE: A SCHOOL friend of Isaac Emmanuel Roberts has revealed more details about the Bali drug-accused's past growing up in Toowoomba.

Nick Schuster flicked on the television last night to news of Mr Roberts' arrest on charges of bringing methamphetamine and ecstacy into Bali, and immediately got the shock of his life.

Mr Schuster was in the same year group as Mr Roberts at Downlands College, where the pair was part of the winning 1997 Darling Downs Mathematics Challenge team.

Nick Schuster (far left) was a classmate of Isaac Emmanuel Roberts (third from left).
Nick Schuster (far left) was a classmate of Isaac Emmanuel Roberts (third from left).

"As soon as they said his name I thought 'I went to school with that guy'," Mr Schuster said.

"I was shocked because I said to my friend 'if there was anyone we thought (he was not that sort of person) and it would be very unlikely to be him."

Mr Roberts did not have an easy childhood, according to Mr Schuster, who detailed how the drug accused experienced some troubled years as a teen in Toowoomba.

"He was the subject of a fair bit of bullying. A lot of it was directed towards him and he did it quite tough," Mr Schuster said.

"He came out as an addict (at the Bali media conference) and I feel sorry for him. Maybe some of the experiences he went through... might have affected him and resulted in him trying drugs and becoming addicted.

Isaac Roberts was brought into a media conference today in Bali wearing a black balaclava over his head and bright orange prison shorts and shirt. Picture: Lukman Bintoro
Isaac Roberts was brought into a media conference today in Bali wearing a black balaclava over his head and bright orange prison shorts and shirt. Picture: Lukman Bintoro

Archives from The Chronicle reveal Mr Roberts was an intelligent young man, winning awards for his prowess in mathematics and geography. 

Mr Roberts left Downlands in 1999 with a plethora of academic awards and an OP1.

"He was quite a friendly guy, quite quiet and kept to himself," Mr Schuster said.

"He was an intelligent fellow and he seemed pretty switched on. He was a quirky kind of guy and not the aggressive type."

News of his downfall shocked the community, with many who knew Mr Roberts from his time in Toowoomba now coming to grips with how such a high-achiever could now be accused of an offence that carries the death penalty.



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