District Judge Brenda Tan has issued an order that non-practising lawyer M Ravi has been ordered to go through an 18-month mandatory treatment for his bipolar disorder in lieu of a jail term, as well as undergo a blood test to determine his medication level as and, when required, attend psychological sessions at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).
Ravi will also have to agree to have his private psychiatrist, Mr Munidasa Winslow, share information with the IMH team.
He was charged for assaulting ex-colleague and opposition politician Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss due to his bipolar disorder, along with four other charges, including two of committing public nuisance at the Sri Mariamman Temple on 31 July and 11 August last year.
Judge Tan also imposed two additional conditions. They include him not creating a nuisance or causing harassment at religious institutions, or posting video casts of himself on social media except for professional or commercial purposes.
He has already pleaded guilty for assaulting Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, causing hurt to a second lawyer, Mr Nakoorsha Abdul Kadir, and breaking into the office of his former colleague Eugene Thuraisingam at People’s Park Centre on the fifth storey.
For assault, Ravi could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to S$5,000.
The mandatory treatment order Judge Tan gave is a community-based sentencing option where offenders undergo mental health treatment, which can be revoked if Ravi fails to comply with the conditions of his treatment.
Speaking to reporters outside the court room, Ravi said that it is a “fair resolution”, which he hopes will help him get back on his feet.
“I just hope that I can move forward with my career as well as my good relationships that I’ve always enjoyed with others,” he said.
He also said that what happened that day “must have been very distressful for them”, adding, “It is also quite hurtful for me to know that I’ve hurt them – people who were quite close to me, and cared for me.”
Speaking about what he would do in the future, he then said that he has just started work at Carson Law Chambers, which is led by former National Solidarity Party Secretary General Lim Tean, as its head of knowledge management and strategic alliance and continue with his human rights work.
Ravi has offered a public apology, when he was convicted last November, to Mrs Chong-Aruldoss and Mr Nakoorsha Abdul Kadir for lashing out at them on 8 August, which took place about two months after he was fired from law firm Eugene Thuraisingam LLP as its head of knowledge management and strategic alliance in June.
Eugene Thuraisingam at People’s Park Centre on the fifth storey was the law firm which employed Ravi late in 2016 and he worked in its People’s Park Centre office. However, he was terminated and was told in a hand-delivered letter that he had to vacate the premises by 16 June. Court papers did not reveal the reason for his termination.
According to the court document, he committed this offence with his friend Lai Yew Thiam, 56, whose case is still pending.
The two of them broke into the office on 17 and 23 June even though he had been told to vacate it premises.
The police were notified on both occasions and representatives from the firm told the pair that they were not welcome there, as well as changing the locks and hiring a contractor to secure its shutter with screws.
They later insisted to get inside the premises on 27 June armed with a screwdriver. Mr Lai used the tool to remove the screws and they entered the premises.
On 8 August, Mr Ravi went to the Eugene Thuraisingam law firm’s other office at The Adelphi and demanded to be allowed inside.
He was accompanied by three other men working for an organisation which he had earlier founded, known as the Lawyers Alliance for Human Rights Asia.
However, the four of them were not allowed to enter and as they were walking away, they met Mrs Chong-Aruldoss who works at the firm.
According to DPP Ong, “Ravi stopped Jeannette abruptly and began questioning her aggressively. When Jeannette tried to walk away, Ravi forcefully pushed her, charged towards her and pushed her again. As a result, Jeannette stumbled backwards and fell onto the ground on the right side of her body.”
“While Jeannette was on the ground, Ravi kicked and flung Jeannette’s belongings, which were scattered on the ground, and also threw a shoe in Jeannette’s direction while mocking her for being ‘drama’,” he added.
When her colleague, Mr Nakoorsha, stepped in, Ravi picked up her handbag and threw it at his face.