Tuesday, 26 September 2023

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Human rights lawyer M Ravi faces charges of assault and disorderly conduct

SINGAPORE — Human Rights Lawyer M Ravi, who was suspended for five years in March of this year, has recently been accused of slapping a man near an MRT station and engaging in disorderly behavior by shouting loudly in public.

Mr Ravi, 54 years old, was charged in court on Friday (14 Jul) with one count of voluntarily causing hurt and one count of behaving in a disorderly manner.

These charges stem from the same alleged incident, which took place on Wednesday (12 Jul) near Yio Chu Kang MRT at approximately 5.30 pm.

According to the charge, Mr Ravi slapped a man named Sellvaraja T Muniyandi once on the left cheek, causing hurt, and also shouted loudly.

Mr Ravi, who has previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has been ordered to be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for medical examination.

TOC understands that Mr Ravi had recently experienced a psychotic episode while attending a forum overseas, which led to the deferment of a hearing he was supposed to attend.

He is scheduled to appear in rescheduled court hearing later this month.

If convicted of voluntarily causing hurt, he could face a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.

The penalties for behaving in a disorderly manner in a public place for a first-time offender are a jail term of up to six months, a fine of up to S$2,000, or both.

Repeat offenders face a doubled jail term and a fine of up to S$5,000, or both. Ravi’s charge sheet states that he was previously convicted of a similar offense in 2004.

Mr Ravi has been an international human rights lawyer in Singapore for over 20 years, representing numerous landmark human rights and constitutional law cases, including death penalty cases.

In March, the Court of Three Judges handed lawyer M Ravi the maximum sanction for lawyers, a five-year suspension, due to misconduct.

Mr Ravi was accused of “grave and baseless accusations of improper conduct” against the Attorney-General, officers from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and the Law Society (LawSoc).

The decision followed Mr Ravi’s public criticism of the prosecution and the Law Society of Singapore in the context of representing a client facing a death sentence for drug-related offences.

On 14 December 2021, Justice Audrey Lim referred the conduct of Mr Ravi during and after a hearing on 22 November 2021 to the Law Society of Singapore.

The conduct was summarized as potentially contravening certain provisions in the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct) Rules 2015 and constituting improper conduct or misconduct under the Legal Profession Act.

Following this, the Law Society of Singapore initiated proceedings before a Disciplinary Tribunal, accusing Mr Ravi of four charges. These charges included being disrespectful and discourteous to the Judge, engaging in misconduct unbefitting an advocate and solicitor, and making groundless allegations of bias against the Judge.

In the report issued by the Disciplinary Tribunal on 28 May, Mr Ravi was found guilty of all four charges.

The Tribunal determined that there were sufficiently grave reasons to take disciplinary action against him under section 83 of the Legal Profession Act, which could result in being struck off from legal practice.

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