Mr M Ravi

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said yesterday (6 September) that the courts ought to punish lawyers who have not behaved themselves properly to protect the standing and dignity of the (legal) profession.

The court was deliberating on the penalty for human rights lawyer, Mr M Ravi for the four charges of misdeed that he had pleaded guilty before a disciplinary tribunal last year

Mr Ravi pleaded guilty on 10 Febrary last year on the charge of creating a disturbance at the Law Society office, shown by a video clip which was later circulated online.

Another charge was making unfitting statements against the Law Society president and his family members in a Facebook post.

Two other charges comprise Mr Ravi making false accusations against two lawyers in February last year.

The tribunal had recommended Mr Ravi’s case to the Court of Three Judges, pointing out that it had no power to fine or censure Mr Ravi as he was being dealt with as a non-practising lawyer.

In the court yesterday, Eugene Thuraisingam, Mr Ravi’s lawyer sought an overall fine of S$10,000 (S$2,500 per offence) and pleaded for the court to take his client’s mental illness into account.

Mr Sean La’Brooy, solicitor for the Law Society, did not object to a fine, but asked a higher amount of at least S$5,000 for each offence, stating that his condition should not absolve him.

The three judges that heard the case, CJ Menon and Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and Tay Yong Kwang, still reserved judgment.

Mr La’Brooy argued that psychiatrist Dr Munidasa Winslow had issued warning signs that Mr Ravi was displaying symptoms of ‘hypomania’ before the sequence of events in February. Dr Winslow had also advised Mr Ravi to be hospitalised for observation.

However, Mr Ravi did not follow the advice and had only checked himself into Mount Elizabeth Hospital on 10 February last year, after he turned up at the Law Society’s premises, harassing the staff.

“Even before the charges came up, there was an opportunity (for rehabilitation) … But Mr Ravi turned it down,” said Mr La’Brooy.

While acknowledging that Mr Ravi’s mental condition was an alleviating factor,  the Solicitor stressed ‘it should not exonerate him’.

Mr Thuraisingam argued that Mr Ravi’s condition significantly reduced his moral responsibility for his misconduct, and because of it his ability to consciously choose how to act had been ‘greatly impaired’.

He cited Dr Tommy Tan, an expert called upon by the Law Society, who had equalised patients like Mr Ravi to ‘a driver in a car that is without brakes’.

“He knows that the car is without brakes, but he simply has no control over the car,” Dr Tan had written in a medical report.

“It was probable that Mr Ravi did not check himself into the hospital as he was unaware of the state and severity of the relapse,” said Mr Thuraisingam.

During the hearing, CJ Menon questioned the weight that should be placed on Mr Ravi’s mental condition in deciding on his penalty.

CJ Menon described Mr Ravi’s conduct as ‘reprehensible’ and ‘disturbing’, then asked: “(Are we) not going to hold a solicitor to the standards expected of him? … The whole thing may have been avoided if (Mr Ravi) had taken the doctor’s advice … Should we say because he has a medical condition, we punish him differently?”

And Justice Phang asked if Mr Ravi’s condition was being used as a ‘justification’.

“(There is a) wider public interest that cannot be ignored,” he added.

Mr Ravi was suspended from his practice on February last year due to his medical condition and his practising certificate expired on April last year. Since then he has not renewed his practise certificate and is now being hampered by this review to have his license reinstated.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

JTC acknowledges it has overall responsibility of Kranji woodland as developer; releases timeline of site clearance

Speaking at a press conference on Monday (22 Feb), JTC Corporation chief…

新加坡红十字会捐10万善款 助澳野火与雅加达洪灾救援工作

新加坡红十字会昨日宣布,将捐出10万元,支持近日澳洲野火以及印尼雅加达洪灾的救援与重建工作。 澳洲野火肆虐,自去年9月起,由于持续高温及干旱加剧,野火季开始以来,遭遇数十年来最严重野火,国内大片土地被烧毁,逾十几人因野火身亡,且仅新南韦尔斯省就有900多间房屋被摧毁。 即使有包括美国在内其他国家协助,地方和联邦当局仍难以遏制住火势。 而雅加達则在每年 11 月底開始的雨季期間,经常发生水患,但今年却比以往更严重,造成近60人死亡,更堪称是自2013年以来死伤最惨重的一次。 日前,红十字会已承诺向澳洲野火捐助5万元,并会发起公众募款活动,为支持野火救援行动,最终所有的款项将会用于支持澳洲红十字会的救援和协助幸存者。 “我们对于澳洲野火的局势深感关切,尽管当局已尽力在控制野火的蔓延,但仍无法制止野火肆虐,而且野火在目前强风与干旱的助力下,相信还会愈发严重”,新加坡红十字会秘书长班杰明表示。 班杰明也表示,澳洲红十字会也将在澳洲各地,共35个中心为受害者提供心理支持、分发食品、水托盘、卫生用品等。 至于雅加达水患,红十字会表示将会透过印尼红十字会捐助5万元,支持接下来的救援行动。 红十字会表示,这些资金将用于为雅加达受害者购买家庭用品、卫生用品、尿布、睡袋、毯子以及干净水让他们使用。 “自2020年刚开始,我们的邻国一直生活在困难中,他们遭受了暴风雨、泥石流和大停电等灾害。”…

Ministerial Salary – It’s not (just) about the Money

~by: Tan Yin Hoe~ The Ministerial salary issue, says Prime Minister Lee…


新加坡金融管理局,在上月13日向27位经济学家和分析师发出问卷,咨询他们对新加坡经济前景的看法。 其中23位经济师给予当局反馈,在该局今日公布的经济师调查报告(Survey of Professional Forecasters),他们预测我国今年全年经济仅增长0.6巴仙,低于三个月前预测的2.1巴仙。 而在三月份,他们提供的预测为2.5巴仙。报告中指今年第二季国内生产总值增长不如预期。至于经济师预测,今年第三度年比增长达到0.3巴仙。 这也和上月贸工部下调对今年国内生产总值(GDP)经济成长预测,至“0.0至1.0巴仙”之间,不谋而合。 中美紧张局势仍是参与民调的经济师首要关注的议题,也有超过一半的经济师,关注中国因外部不确定因素和国内金融市场不稳定的风险。 不过,他们看好我国GDP在2020年将回升至1.6巴仙。对来年新加坡经济成长的预估平均在1至1.9巴仙。但是,比起前一次民调的2至2.4巴仙来得低。 对于盈利的不确定性产生的上行风险,有70.6巴仙经济师认为贸易紧张减缓居首,不过有鉴于当前局势似乎不太可能,经济师的预测已下调至61.1巴仙。 但对于新加坡和其他地区可能落实经济刺激政策的上行风险,则调高至44.4巴仙;以及舒缓经济情况的措施也达到33.3巴仙。