By Tan Wah-Piow
I am shocked, and saddened to hear that my Singapore's friend-in-law M Ravi is barred from practising as a lawyer.
Ravi is an exceptionally fine lawyer. I met him in Oslo in June this year at the World Congress for the Abolition of the Death Penalty where he was a panel speaker. I was most impressed by his grasp of the law and his advocacy.
Ravi impressed me as the type of lawyer who takes rights seriously, and has the intellectual capacity, inventiveness and courage to defend causes which are against the grain.
Yes, he suffers from a particular disability, but the High Court decision is definitely disproportionate. How strange. His doctor and the Law Society both confirm that he is fit to practise.
This is an extract from Ravi's statement:
The Court of Appeal handed out a judgement today prohibiting me from practising law for a period of two years. I have already been out of practice for more than 18 months.
My doctor had certified me fit to practice since December last year.The Law Society had in fact approved my application for Practising Certificate in August 2016. However, the Attorney General objected to application for a Practising Certificate. During the hearing before the Court of Appeal the Law Society had agreed that a fine is an appropriate penalty in line with the recommendation made by the Disciplinary Tribunal below.
I accept that I did not behave appropriately when I was unwell. However, the Court of Appeal's Judgment is acutely disproportionate in view of the Disciplinary Tribunal's recommendation of a fine. The effect of the Court of Appeal's judgment means I am put of of Practice of Law for close to 4 years.
However,inasmuch I am devastated, this will not deter me from continuing my work in the field of international human rights and constitutional law and contribute to society where I can. To this extent, I will continue my work by assisting the firm of Eugene Thuraisingam LLP in my current role as a Head of Knowledge Management and Strategic Alliance Division."
I am sure no regime can put a good man down.
Let's shame the regime by expressing our solidarity with M Ravi.